Born in Nelson, Lancashire, Maurice Procter served as a policeman in Halifax for 19 years, experiencing police procedure at first hand. It was the realism in Procter's work that many reviewers praised.
Maurice Procter was born in Nelson, Lancashire, on the 4th February 1906. His parents were Rose Hannah and William Procter who also had two other sons named Emmot and Ned. The family lived in Charles Street, Nelson and Maurice attended Nelson Grammar School before running away to join the army at age 15. He had lied about his age so his parents tried to secure his release from the army, but even with the support of their local MP they were unsuccessful. After the army Maurice worked briefly as a weaver in a Lancashire cotton mill.
In 1927 Maurice joined the police as a constable in Halifax, Yorkshire. At that time a policeman was not allowed to serve in his home town, so this meant he had to leave his home town of Nelson. He was based at King Cross police station in Halifax, and initially lodged at the station. Later he lodged at 24 Cromwell Street, Halifax with local electrician Arthur Edwin Blakey and his wife Isabella who was in service, working as a cook at Heathfield House, Rishworth, near Halifax. The couple had three daughters, Phyllis, Eve and Winifred. Maurice married the youngest daughter, Winifred, in 1933 at Saint Mary's Church, Lister Lane, Halifax.
During the war Maurice was transferred from King Cross to Mixenden police station. In those days Mixenden was just a small village, so Maurice was the village bobby and he and his wife lived in the police house for 5 years. Maurice and Winifred and had one child, a son who they named Noel. In total Maurice served in the Halifax police force for 19 years, remaining a constable throughout the time. At that time Halifax had its own police force, including its own chief constable and its own headquarters on Harrison Road near to the town centre, so there were fewer opportunites for postings to different parts of the police force than there are today. Maurice did, however, spend some as a motor cycle patrol officer and he was involved in one notorious local criminal case, that of the Halifax Slasher in the 1930s.
For most of his life in Halifax Maurice and his family lived at 20 Willowfield Road, in the Pye Nest area of Halifax and only a short distance from the King Cross police station.
He began writing fiction whilst a serving police offer, his first book No Proud Chivalry was published in 1947 and as soon as he was earning an income from writing he resigned from the police force. Much of his work was written in the study of his home in Willowfield Road, though in later years he and his wife spent part of the year in Spain and Gibraltar.
When not writing Maurice enjoyed his hobbies which were reading, gardening, playing cards, motor cycling and socialising with friends.
Procter is best known for his series of police procedural novels featuring Detective Chief Inspector Harry Martineau of the Granchester City Police. In his novels Granchester was an industrial city in the north of England. Procter based the city on Manchester. When his novel Hell Is a City (which was published in the USA with the title Somewhere in This City) was filmed in 1960 with Stanley Baker as Martineau, it was shot on-location in Manchester.
Maurice Procter died in The Royal Halifax Infirmary in 1973.