Welcome to the Crampton of the Chronicle Readers’ Group Newsdesk

The newsdesk is open for business! Click on any of the headlines below to catch up on my activities as I venture around the south coast of England searching for inspiration. Don’t forget to pop back for more!


THE MYSTERY OF THE TWO SUITCASES"We’ve got the evening all to ourselves." My girlfriend Shirley raised her glass of white wine. I hoisted my G&T. We clinked glasses and wished each other a happy Valentine’s Day. "It’s great to have a night off from the Chronicle,"...

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Why I’ve launched the Deadline Murder series

WHY I’VE LAUNCHED THE DEADLINE MURDER SERIES There are two main reasons – creative and practical – for launching a new series of Crampton of the Chronicle adventures.   The Tango School Mystery was the ninth Crampton book I’ve written. The book has received...

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The Tango School Mystery

The Tango School Mystery Chapter 1 My Australian girlfriend Shirley looked at her porterhouse steak and said: "That's a real beaut, Colin."    The lump of meat which overlapped Shirl's huge dinner plate was the same shape as South America - broad at the top, narrowing...

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The Dying Days Of Hanging

The dying days of hanging The trouble with hanging as a punishment is always that it's irreversible when a miscarriage of justice is discovered. In Britain, there is a sad list of real people who paid the ultimate penalty even though they were subsequently found...

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Front Page Murder – Prologue

Front page murder It always started with the same ritual.   Percy Despart opened the drawer in the small desk by the side of his artist's easel and took out his Swiss penknife. He held it for a moment and enjoyed the solid weight as it rested in his hand.   Then he...

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Colin Crampton’s guide to funny money

So let's talk about "funny money" Confused about pounds, shillings and pence? Help is at hand… I was sitting in a café with my girlfriend Shirley when she pointed at a bloke wearing some fancy gloves and said: "I bet they cost a few saucepan lids." Shirley's from...

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It started on a dark night in Worthing

How I found Colin Crampton on a dark night The scene is an ill-lit street in Worthing, a coastal town in West Sussex. The time: February 1966. A young reporter is walking back to his newspaper's office after covering the proceedings in the local magistrates' court....

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Murder In The Morning Edition

The Morning, Noon & Night trilogy Three books, three murders... ONE MOTIVE! And you can read chapter 1 of the forst book here My Australian girlfriend Shirley took a luscious lick of her ice-cream and said: "Why is that man wearing gloves on the hottest day of the...

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Never lost for a word

SPEAK UP! Journalist and crime author Peter Bartram wants a word about writing dialogue… "Damn! Blast! Hell!"   A frown wrinkled my brow. "Is this an inconvenient time to call?" I asked.   I was visiting an author to ask him for a few tips on handling dialogue.  The...

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Ten Top Women Sleuths In Crime Fiction

TOP TEN WOMEN SLEUTHS IN CRIME FICTION And here they are in random order   1. Jane Marple. The grandmother of all female sleuths has to be Jane Marple of St Mary Mead, who first appeared in Agatha Christie's The Murder at the Vicarage as long ago as 1930. On the...

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The makings of a cozy crime hero

COLIN CRAMPTON AND ME The makings of a cozy crime hero How does an author create the main character in what, in my case, I hope will be a long-running series of cozy crime mysteries?   When I first decided to write a series of crime books, my first thought was to...

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The Mystery at the Ice-Cream Parlour

THE MYSTERY AT THE ICE-CREAM PARLOUR A Crampton of the Chronicle mystery story When you’re the new reporter in town, it's a lonely place to be.   I remember it well. I'd just joined the Brighton Evening Chronicle from a weekly newspaper as crime correspondent. My news...

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The Mystery Of The Biro With No Ink

The mystery of the biro with no ink My girlfriend Shirley was already into her second glass of white wine by the time I arrived late at the Sussex Grill.   I hustled into the restaurant, hurried over to the table and sat down. I leaned over and kissed Shirley....

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The scandalous story of what the butler saw

The scandalous story of what the butler saw One of the more dubious attractions on Brighton's Palace Pier back in the 1960s - the Swinging Sixties - was the row of What the Butler Saw machines in the amusement arcade. It's the theft of a film from a What the Butler...

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Top 10 Movies Featuring Journalists

10 top movies featuring journalists I've always loved movies which feature journalists as prominent characters. So here is my top 10 pick. But let me know what you think - especially if you feel I've left out a movie that ought to be in the top 10 of this category....

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10 Swinging Sixties Crime Novels You May Enjoy

10 swinging sixties crime novels you may enjoy Here is my personal top ten selection of 1960s crime and thriller novels, listed - as judges sometimes say - in no particular order.   1. Victor Canning: Doubled in Diamonds. Canning was a star crime writer in the '60s...

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When Colin Met Shirley

When Colin met Shirley (or was it the other way around?) Shirley's Story: How I Met Colin Crampton   An Australian girl walked into a bar.   I know. It sounds like the start of a joke. Perhaps it is. But it didn’t feel like it at the time.   The Australian girl...

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A Walk In The Country

A walk in the country Visiting scenes from Colin's latest adventure Stop Press Murder Welcome to Piddinghoe… How a perfect village became the site for a (not so perfect) murder I was walking down an idyllic country lane. And thinking of murder.   I was in Piddinghoe,...

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A Trip To Brighton

A trip to Brighton In the footsteps of Colin Crampton I started my trip around Brighton in the footsteps of Colin Crampton in the amusement arcade on Brighton Pier. In 1963, when Stop Press Murder is set, it was called Palace Pier. The book starts when a short film is...

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About Peter

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime series – which features crime reporter Colin Crampton in 1960s Brighton. Peter has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s interviewed cabinet ministers and crooks – at least the crooks usually answer the questions, he says.


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Audio books read by Matt Jamie.
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