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Procter, Maurice

Page history last edited by J F Norris 10 years, 3 months ago
Source: Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion


Maurice Procter (1906-1973) was born in Nelson, Lancashire, on 4th February 1906. He was the son of Rose Hannah and William Procter. He had 2 brothers: Emmott & Ned. He grew up in Charles Street, Nelson, and went to Nelson Grammar School until he was 15 when he ran away to join the army. His parents lobbied their MP to obtain his release and he was told to try again when he was older. He then worked in a variety of jobs, including a time as a weaver in a cotton mill.


He left Nelson in 1927 to become a police constable in Halifax. At that time, a policeman could not serve in his home town. He was based at King Cross, and stayed at the Police Station when he first arrived. Later, he lodged with Isabella and Arthur Edwin Blakey at 24 Cromwell Street, Halifax. Isabella had been a cook at Heathfield House, Rishworth, and Arthur Edwin was an electrician. They had 3 daughters: Phyllis, Eve, and Winifred. In 1933, Maurice married Winifred – the youngest sister – at Saint Mary's Church, Lister Lane, and they went to live at 20 Willowfield Road, Halifax.


He was transferred from Halifax to Mixenden. During World War II, the family lived at the Police House, Mixenden Village. He served in Mixenden for 5 years, often walking 16 miles every day. They had one child: Noel. Procter served in Halifax for 19 years, and was a Police Constable and part of his time was on motor-cycle patrol. He was involved in the investigation of the Halifax Slasher in 1938.


He was attracted by the idea earning his living as a writer. He began writing and his first book – No Proud Chivalry – was published in 1946. He left the police in 1947. When writing, he worked in a small study at his home in Halifax, and – during the summer months – in Spain and Gibraltar. In later life, he enjoyed reading, gardening, playing cards, motor cycling, and generally socialising.


In 1959, he suffered a heart attack, but recovered and continued writing. Ill health dogged his latter years. He preferred to remain close to his family and friends in Yorkshire than to retire to the warmth and sunshine. He died in Halifax Infirmary in 1973.


His son, Noel remembers him as a man with no malice, fair and a great raconteur.


His writing


Proctor turned to writing around 1946, and produced several novels, most of them novels with much detail about police methodology. He was an intelligent and knowledgeable writer. He was attentive to details – such as blowing a safe, or performing a post mortem. The authenticity of the policemen and the criminals arises from his own experiences. The novels are mostly set in the North of England. His first book was No Proud Chivalry (1946). His last book was Dog Man (1969). Six of his books – including Hell is a City and Rich is the Treasure – were filmed.


His regular characters include: Chief Inspector Philip Hunter of New Scotland Yard, London - at 32, he was probably the youngest Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard; Detective Chief Inspector Henry Martineau of Granchester, Yorkshire ; Detective Bill Knight of Airechester, Yorkshire


Procter's work is commemorated at the Howard B. Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, Massachusetts. His original drafts and manuscripts are available for inspection there.




Chief Inspector Philip Hunter

The Chief Inspector's Statement (1951) aka The Pennycross Murders

I Will Speak Daggers (1956) aka The Ripper, The Ripper Murders


Detective Chief Inspector Henry Martineau

Hell is a City (1954) aka Somewhere in This City, Murder Somewhere in This City

The Midnight Plumber (1957)

Man in Ambush (1958)

Killer at Large (1959)

Devil's Due (1960)

The Devil Was Handsome (1961)

A Body To Spare (1962)

Moonlight Flitting (1963) aka The Graveyard Rolls

Two Men in Twenty (1964)

Death Has a Shadow (1965) aka Homicide Blonde

His Weight in Gold (1966)

Rogue Running (1967)

Exercise Hoodwink (1967)

Hideaway (1968)


Non Series

No Proud Chivalry (1946)

Each Man's Destiny (1947)

The End of the Street (1949)

Hurry the Darkness (1951)

Rich is the Treasure (1952)

The Pub Crawler (1957)

Three at the Angel (1958)

The Spearhead Death (1960)

Devil in Moonlight (1962)

The Top Dog (1969)


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