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Investigative journalist launches book to solve spy death mystery

A magazine editor is launching a new book to investigate the true story of a spy who vanished in the 1950s.

Don Hale, who edits North Wales Living Magazine, has written about the mystery of Buster Crabb – the man that Ian Fleming based James Bond on.

Don spent four years researching Crabb’s disappearance and the events surrounding the discovery of his body over a year later for his book The Final Dive – The Life and Death of ‘Buster’ Crabb.

He said: “He was the inspiration for James Bond and he worked with Ian Fleming.

“A lot of Bond stories were based on what happened to Buster Crabb during and after the war.

“He disappeared in 1956 and there was a lot of controversy about what happened.

“His body was found 14 months later but his head and hands were missing.

“Various claims have been made over the years, all sorts all of things, that he defected or that he was shot.

“I have had to use Freedom of Information requests to get information and have been working with his family, friends and ex-naval colleagues.

“The secret services were not too good but the FBI in America has been very helpful.”

Don’s previous work includes Town without Pity, which chronicled the story of Stephen Downing, who spent 27 years in prison for a murder he claims he never committed.

After eight years of work, the former Matlock Mercury editor’s research helped the Downing family launch a successful appeal to have Stephen released.

Don’s book about Buster Crabb will be in the shops from Wednesday.

  • Don was celebrating last week after a judge upheld Barry George’s appeal against his conviction for murdering Jill Dando.

    He helped interview witnesses and various other people for the appeal which has resulted in a retrial, due to take place next year.

    To cap off a busy week, Don has also been shortlisted for four awards in the Midlands Media Awards, run by the Birmingham Press Club.