Classic police procedural by a 'born storyteller' (Sunday Times), who combined natural flair with his experience in the police to truly authentic effect.
Hell is a City is the first of Maurice Procter's Inspector Martineau series and was made into taut, fast-paced film in 1959 by Hammer Studios, set against the grimy back streets and rain-streaked bright lights of Manchester.
When hardened criminal Don Starling escapes from jail, killing a prison guard in the process, Inspector Philip Martineau knows he will stop at nothing to make good his escape. The two men have known each other since childhood, and Starling blames Martineau for his incarceration a decade earlier. As the story hurtles to its conclusion, the two men meet in a final, violent confrontation.
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.