ANTHONY Price, who has died aged 90, was a formidable editor of The Oxford Times and an author respected by the great John Le Carré.

Mr Price worked for the Oxford Mail and Times for well over 30 years and edited the latter newspaper from 1972 to 1988.

The Oxford University graduate was a gifted book reviewer for the Mail and published several spy novels himself, winning the prestigious Gold Dagger prize for the best crime text of 1974.

Anthony Price was born on August 16, 1928 in Hertfordshire, shortly after his mother, Kathleen, returned from India.

His father, Walter, was based in the country after the First World War.

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He had one older brother, called John, but tragedy struck when Anthony's mother died when he was eight.

The youngster went to live with his aunt and uncle and attended The King's School in Canterbury.

After leaving school in the late 1940s, Mr Price completed his national service and captained the Royal Army Educational Corps. At the time, he was the army's youngest captain.

In 1949, he began a history degree at Merton College, Oxford, and was later awarded an MA.

While at Merton, Mr Price met his future wife, Ann Stone, a trainee nurse at the Radcliffe Infirmary.

Mr Price elected to stay in Oxford after finishing his degree to be near Ann and they married in 1953.

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The couple initially lived in the city centre, but moved to an idyllic cottage in the village of Horton-cum-Studley, north east of Oxford.

They lived there for the next 50 years and their children, James, Simon and Kate grew up in the cottage. The trio were born in 1956, 1959 and 1963 respectively.

Mr Price started his journalism career straight after university and worked his way up the Oxford Times hierarchy.

In his early days at the paper, he subbed the copy and worked as a court reporter, while he also reviewed books for the Oxford Mail.

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One day, he was asked to review a text that had been derided for being 'too boring’ by one children's reviewer.

Mr Price went to interview the book's author, a man called J.R.R. Tolkien, to talk about the novel: The Fellowship of the Ring.

As a historian, he was an expert on the Roman Empire and the First World War, while he also reviewed crime fiction.

During his journalism career, Mr Price saw the Mail and Times move from their old base on New Inn Hall Street to the current offices in Osney Mead.

As editor, he oversaw huge technological change, while his 'outstanding' contacts list and unmatched knowledge of Oxford made him a respected figure.

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Former Oxford Mail editor, Terry Page, said: "At the time, The Oxford Times was the voice of Oxford and the voice of Oxford was Tony Price."

The history graduate loved his job and would often say 'news is my business', but he was also hugely sociable and notorious for his mischievous sense of humour.

Despite the demands of the day job, Mr Price began writing on evenings and weekends and published his first novel, The Labyrinth Makers, in 1970.

His texts centred on the character Dr David Audley and focused on a group of counter-intelligence agents.

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Mr Price's novel, Other Paths to Glory, won the Gold Dagger in 1974 and was shortlisted for the Dagger of Daggers, a special award marking the Crime Writers’ Association's 50th anniversary in 2005.

He was highly thought-of in the genre and was praised by renowned author John Le Carré.

Mr Price was also part of the mysterious crime writers' Detection Club, which included famous authors such as Agatha Christie.

After penning his final text in 1990, the ex-editor retired to spend time with his family.

In 2000, Ann became ill and Mr Price cared for his wife until her death in 2012, at which point he moved to London to be nearer his daughter.

Mr Price died suddenly on May 30 and is survived by all three children and five grandchildren.

His funeral is at 11am on Tuesday July 2 at Kemnal Park Cemetery in London.