Classic police procedural by a 'born storyteller' (Sunday Times), who combined natural flair with his experience in the police to truly authentic effect.
Bill Knight is disappointed when he receives his first assignment as a newly inducted policeman, fresh from college. He is asked to go undercover in a festering slum and is ordered not to set foot in police headquarters again until a thoroughly distasteful mission has been accomplished.
So Bill becomes a plainclothes spy, and things take an even more complicated turn than anyone could have expected when he becomes involved with two girls while investigating the murder of a pub landlord and the theft of a valuable coin collection.
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.