A STATUE of Inspector Morse author Colin Dexter is likely to be situated in North Oxford and will feature a crossword at the base.

Dr Antony Richards, chairman of the Inspector Morse Society, which celebrates the work of the author who died in March, is proposing the permanent tribute.

Mr Dexter, who died aged 86, wrote 13 Morse novels and millions of viewers tuned into TV episodes of Inspector Morse, its sequel Lewis and prequel Endeavour.

Kennington-based sculptor Alex Wenham has volunteered to create the statue and now Dr Richards has discussed plans for the tribute with city council leader Bob Price.

The statue is expected to cost £25,000 and Dr Richards is hoping Mr Dexter's publishers Macmillan and ITV will make significant financial contributions.

He said: "Colin and I were friends for many years and I feel I owe it to him to make sure he is remembered in this way - he did so much for Oxford.

"It's a lot of money but we hope Macmillan and ITV will contribute and the society will come up with some cash - we will crowdfund among our 400 members.

"Colin loved setting crosswords so we thought it would be a good idea to have a Morse-themed crossword at the base of the statue."

The proposed location for the statue is Diamond Place in Summertown, which is due to be redeveloped.

A masterplan drawn up by the city council includes shops, homes, additional parking places and an enlarged Ferry Leisure Centre.

Dr Richards, 54, is also hoping to raise funds from the sale of his novel Dead Man's Walk, an Inspector Morse story set in the 1970s, which he was encouraged to write by Mr Dexter.

The society chairman is planning to publish the novel through his own publishing company The Irregular Special Press.

Dr Richards said he hoped the statue could be in place by 2019 or 2020 and would feature a new Morse-themed crossword.

Oxford City Council has welcomed the proposal.

Mr Price said the statue would need planning permission.

He added: "With these developments there is usually a requirement for public art so the statue could be situated in the square designed to be a place of leisure - that would be the obvious place for it."

Mr Wenham, a big fan of Mr Dexter's novels, has won several international industry prizes and is title holder of the European Stone Festival, an annual event which pits the skills of around 150 stone carvers from across Europe.

He has been working on a project to restore a series of Tudor-era statues in Magdalen College’s Cloister Quad.

In 2000, 13 million viewers tuned in to watch John Thaw as Morse die in the last of 33 episodes of the ITV series, which inspired the sequel Lewis and ongoing prequel Endeavour.

The Remorseful Day, the last Inspector Morse novel, in which the detective dies, was published in 1999.

ITV was contacted but has not yet commented, and a MacMillan spokesman told the Oxford Mail the publisher would seek approval from Mr Dexter's family before making any commitments.