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Award-winning editor traces family history for latest book

An award-winning journalist and published author has retraced his family history for his latest book.

Don Hale, who last week launched a new magazine, researched his great grandfather’s life and career for his book Manchester thieftakers.

Don’s relative was James Wood who became the youngest superintendent in the history of Manchester City Police.

He served the force from 1890 and 1914 during which time he worked with Jerome Caminada whom many people believe Arthur Conan Doyle based his fictional characters on.

Mr Wood later became the first royal detective.

Don told holdthefrontpage: “It contains a wealth of information about his life at that time. I started it about four years ago.

“I wrote it originally as a very short book for my family members.

“Then one of my relatives died just over two years ago and left me his (Wood’s) diaries and police note books with cuttings from cases he had worked on.

“When I got the chance I went to the police museum in Manchester.

“He was the very first royal bodyguard to the Prince of Wales.

“Queen Victoria died in 1901 and there were a lot of threats against the monarchy. He carried a silver pistol and was respected by members of the royal family.”

During Don’s career he has been editor of the Matlock Mercury and, until December, North Wales Living magazine before it was closed down.

He has also been received various industry awards and was given the OBE for his services to campaigning journalism.

  • Don’s previous book, The Final Dive, is about Buster Crabb on whom Ian Flemming is said to have based some James Bond stories. Next week it is being launched in America after its publishers were bought out by American company The History Press. Don said: “It’s quite a plus for me. It’s quite hard for authors to get published over there or for American authors to get published here.”
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