A grisly murder on Ilkley Moor half a century ago has inspired a former journalist to write his first book.

Nick Garnett, who used to be a northern and industrial corres-pondent for the Financial Times, has published 1954 – a crime novel set against the backdrop of the world of textiles in Ilkley and Bradford.

The plot follows the investigations of Detective Inspector Ray Stafford after the gruesome discovery of Moira Nelson’s body on Ilkley Moor.

The main protagonists are the Shaws, a powerful industrial family who are seeking fortune and status in the post-war period.

The history has been heavily researched, with the appearance of evocative names such as Wolseley police cars and the fashion of Jacques Fath couture. Nick even took time to research food and decor of the time with staff from Bettys in Harrogate.

He said: “There were certain things that happened in 1954 that are alluded to in the book.

“In Ilkley, there was a very nasty murder on the moor in the early 1950s. I chose not to refer to that but I had it in my mind.

“But really the book is about how people lived their lives with the investigation going on in the background. I’ve tried to keep the feel of the 1950s so people can feel they’re in a different period.”

Born in Bradford, Nick was a regular visitor to Ilkley in his youth. A student and head boy at Hanson Boys’ Grammar School in 1968, he went on to study history at Cambridge University before completing newspaper training in Cardiff and Reading.

The book is principally set in Ilkley and Bradford, but has references to places across Yorkshire such as Otley Chevin and Harrogate, and characters travel as far as Karachi.

Nick, who now lives in London, said: “One of the things I wanted to do is write about both very rich people and people who were less well off and the contrast between them.

“If you are going to do that and talk about a textile baron, there is a good chance he might be from Bradford and that that person would be living in Ilkley.”

A copy of 1954 has been donated to Ilkley Library and is available to order from various bookshops.