Classic police procedural by a 'born storyteller' (Sunday Times), who combined natural flair with his experience in the police to truly authentic effect.
There was an extra body in the morgue - a body stripped of all identification and with its face badly battered. But when Inspector Martineau was called to the scene he had a pretty good idea whose it was.
That was, however, just the beginning. A big payroll robbery, a group of out-of-town mobsters and some odd behaviour in a local night spot all attract Inspector Martineau's attention. While, at a funeral parlour, the quick are considerably more active and dangerous a problem than the dead.
Born in Nelson, Lancashire, Maurice Procter (1906-1973) attended the local grammar school and ran away to join the army at the age of fifteen. In 1927 he joined the police in Yorkshire and served in the force for nineteen years before his writing was published and he was able to write full time. He was credited with an ability to write exciting stories while using his experience to create authentic detail. His procedural novels are set in Granchester, a fictional 1950s Manchester, and he is best known for his series characters, Detective Superintendent Philip Hunter and DCI Harry Martineau. Throughout his career, Procter's novels increased in popularity in both the UK and the US, and in 1960 Hell is a City was made into a film starring Stanley Baker and Billie Whitelaw. Procter was married to Winifred, and they had one child, Noel.