If there’s one thing we know for certain about Colin Crampton. Crime reporter for the Brighton Evening Chronicle, is that no matter where he shows up, a dead body is sure to follow.
Crampton is in the classic English village of Steyning, substituting as a speaker for his editor, Frank Figgis. He’s brought his girlfriend, Shirley Goldsmith, along. After the speech, they’re headed out of the village and on the way to a country pub for supper, when Shirley spots a mangled bicycle on the roadside. It doesn’t take long for Shirley to find a body, some distance away. It’s an 18-year-old student at a local school, and by the looks of things, he’s the victim of a hit-and-run accident that may not have been an accident.
Crampton, desperate for a good crime story, gets the reluctant approval from his editor to investigate (payback for the speech). And he learns that no one really liked the dead student, including his teachers, fellow students, and the school staff. It appears that the victim may have been a blackmailer, and someone got tired of it. Or he picked the wrong person to blackmail. Or both.
And then Shirley’s mother disappears just as she arrives in England from Australia for Mother’s Day. And Shirley expects Crampton to do something about it. As it turns out, everything is connected to everything else.
The Mother’s Day Mystery is another in the Colin Crampton of the Chronicle (note the alliteration) mystery series by Peter Bartram, and the second in Crampton’s Deadline Murder Series (the first was The Tango School Mystery). And it continues in the vein set by its predecessors – a good story, an irreverent journalist (sorry for the redundancy), crime abounding, and the hero having to find a killer in spite of the police.
Bartram has had a long career in journalism, including being a reporter on a weekly newspaper, an editor for newspapers and magazines in London, and freelance journalism – all of which have been utilized in creating the character of Colin Crampton. Bartram is also a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.
Fast-paced, breezy, funny, and action-packed, The Mother’s Day Mystery is another solid entry in the Crampton of the Chronicle series.
Top photograph of the Brighton Palace Pier by Joseph Pearson via. Used with permission.