Thursday, 7 December 2017
Series: A Crampton of the Chronicle Mystery #3
Release Date: 24th November 2017Genres: Murder / Mystery
Publisher: Roundfire Books
Publisher: Roundfire Books
Condemned man Archie Flowerdew is to hang for the murder of rival artist Percy Despart. Convinced of his innocence, Archie's niece, Tammy, persuades Evening Chronicle reporter Colin Crampton to take up the case, but the more Colin investigates, the more it looks like Archie is guilty. But as Colin continues to probe he realises that he is putting his job, and his life, in peril... Join Colin in this Swinging Sixties fun adventure, where the thrills and the laughs continue right to the last page. The third book in the popular Crampton of the Chronicle mystery series.
It's Christmas 1963 and Colin Crampton, crime correspondent of the Brighton Evening Chronicle, is hard at work on a big story - the danger an innocent man may hang for a murder he didn't commit. Colin has had a difficult day and arrives back at his lodgings only to come face-to-face with his landlady, Mrs Beatrice "the Widow" Gribble - and more trouble…
It was close to midnight when I stepped through the door of my lodgings in Regency Square.
I'd barely shut the front door before the Widow shot out of her parlour and cornered me by the hatstand. Mrs Gribble, my landlady - the Widow to her tenants - and I nurtured a healthy dislike for one another but found a way to rub along. Me because my rooms on the top floor of her house were convenient. She because she had a habit of getting herself into awkward scrapes and usually called on my help to extricate herself from them.
The Widow was dressed in a long flannelette dressing gown in shocking pink. She'd put her hair in curlers and fixed a net over it all.
She said: "I'd offer you a glass of cream sherry but I've locked up the bottle for the night."
"Best place for it," I said. "Good night, Mrs Gribble."
A bony hand held me by the shoulder. "There was one other little matter."
I knew it. Otherwise the Widow wouldn't have been lurking behind her parlour door waiting to pounce on me. It was usually quicker to hear her out.
So I said: "What's the problem?"
"It's to do with my Christmas cards. You see, my late husband's sister, Eunice, is coming to stay over Christmas, but she's let me know she won't be arriving until the late train on Christmas Eve. Anyway, I always get up early on Christmas morning on account of I have to get the turkey in the oven. So I'll have gone to bed by the time Eunice gets here. So I thought I'd leave her supper warming in the oven."
"What's all this got to do with Christmas cards?"
"Well, I was writing the cards today and I wrote them for Eunice and Mr Evans, the butcher."
"I thought you'd fallen out with Evans."
"We sorted out that business about the faggots." The Widow shuffled uncomfortably in her fluffy slippers. "Anyway, the thing is this. I got the cards for Eunice and Mr Evans mixed up."
"You mean you sent Eunice's card to Mr Evans and his card to Eunice."
The Widow nodded. She seemed close to tears.
"Does it matter?" I said.
"It's what I wrote inside them that's worrying me."
"In Mr Evans…"
"Which has gone to Eunice."
"…I wrote, 'Seasons greetings. I won't be needing any of your tripe over Christmas.' And in Eunice's…"
"…Which has gone to Mr Evans."
"…I wrote, 'When you come on Christmas Eve, I'll be in bed but keeping something hot for you.' I'm worried that both of them may misinterpret the messages. What do you think I should do?"
I said: "It's late and I'm tired, Mrs Gribble. I'll see if I can think of an answer by the morning."
The Widow nodded as though it was only a matter of time before her world fell apart. She crept back into her parlour.
I raced upstairs to my room and buried my face in a pillow before I started laughing.
Front Page Murder e-book is on special offer until the end of December for 99p/99c
For readers who want to start the series at the beginning, there's a deal which includes Headline Murder, Stop Press Murder and Front Page Murder in e-book formats for £4.97/$4.97. This offer also closes on 31 December.
ABOUT PETER BARTRAM
Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series, which features Colin Crampton, crime correspondent of the 1960s fictional newspaper the Brighton Evening Chronicle. Peter began his career as a reporter on a real-life local newspaper not far from Brighton. Then he worked as a journalist and newspaper editor in London before becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and Buckingham Palace. Peter's "Swinging Sixties" murder mysteries combine clue-solving with comedy - the laughs are never far from the action. Other books in the series, which has already logged more than 100 5-star reviews on Amazon, include Headline Murder and Stop Press Murder.