Colin Crampton

Crime correspondent on the Brighton Evening Chronicle. Twenty-eight when the book series starts. Tall, slim, tousle-haired. Personable but not quite handsome. He believes the world is at his feet. Usually it is. And when it's not, his confidence and quick wits steer him clear of trouble. On the side of the angels when a wrong needs righting. On the side of the Devil when beating reporter rivals to a scoop.

Shirley Goldsmith

An Australian working her way around the world - currently as a waitress. Colin's on-off girlfriend. On when they're smoochy. Off when one of Colin's newspaper scams goes wrong - and Shirley catches the backlash. Has the looks of a super-model but, when she's roused, the language of a trucker. Like fellow Aussie Germaine Greer, a girl who knows her mind and is not afraid to speak it.

Frank Figgis

The Evening Chronicle's chain-smoking news editor. He's a wizened relic of the paper - half man, half nicotine. But he has as sharp a news sense as the day he joined the Chronicle, seemingly just after Gutenberg invented moveable type. Gives Colin enough rope - on the assumption he'll either hang himself or tie rival papers up in knots.

Ted Wilson

Detective inspector in Brighton Police Force. Looks older than his 42 years, the result of worry and canteen food. Tries to appear suave but looks like he dressed from rummage sale cast-offs. A rare honest cop in Brighton Police Force - but he's the type that put the plod in plodder. Colin's only trusted contact among the cops.