Frank Malley worked for the former Evening Post and Chronicle at Brock Mill before joining the Daily Express as a sports journalist in the 1980s in a career that saw him cover four Olympics and five World Cups.

Five years ago, he traded his sports cover to drive an ambulance as a volunteer, transporting cancer patients for life-saving radiation treatment.

In his spare time he writes books and his latest novel, The 13th Assassin, combines a murder mystery with a tense spy thriller, the action sweeping from the English seaside to the university spiers of Cambridge and the heart of Moscow. .

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Frank Malley

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Frank, who is originally from Wallgate but lived for many years in Whitley Crescent, said:

“I got the idea for the book while vacationing on the south coast near Portland, where spies operated in the 1950s and 1960s.

“The main character is a Cambridge history professor, who finds himself thrown into a grim world of ethical dilemmas with the lives of the royal family at stake. There’s codebreaking involved and it’s a cross between Midsomer Murders and John le Carre.

Frank Malley’s latest book, The 13th Assassin

This is Frank’s fourth book, the royalties from which have all been donated to charity.

They include Amazon’s five-star rugby top seller Simply the Best, the inside story of Wigan’s eight consecutive Challenge Cup victories at Wembley in the 1980s and 1990s.

All royalties from this publication are donated to the charity Joining Jack.

“Simply the Best has worked like a charm and is still selling well five years after it was released,” Frank said.

“He got great reviews. It’s a testament to Wigan’s glory days and the fondness with which fans remember players such as Martin Offiah, Jason Robinson, Ellery Hanley, Shaun Edwards and Andy Gregory.

Malley hopes The 13th Assassin will generate funds for the Primrose Cancer Charity.

“Fiction is a completely different ball game,” he said. “But I was determined that the royalties would be used to help cancer patients.

“My mum was cared for by Wigan and Leigh Hospice on several occasions in her later years and I often took her to Christie’s in Manchester.

“We all know someone who has been touched by cancer.”

The 13th Assassin is published by Sharpe Books and available on Amazon as an ebook (£2.99). The paperback (£7.99) is due out later this month.