It’s the mid-1960s, and Colin Crampton, crime reporter for the Brighton Evening Chronicle, is facing one of his toughest professional crises yet. He discovers a body that at first looks like suicide but turns out to be murder; a strange poker hand is set up near the deceased. He and his girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith get chased and nearly caught by thugs. And his beloved newspaper, with all of its eccentric editors, reporters, and librarians, is experiencing an existential crisis – the owner has died, and the owner’s son has lost the paper in a poker game with an Australian businessman who likes putting titillating photographs on page 3. And that’s just for starters.
What’s a reporter to do?
Take it all on, and then some.
The Poker Game Mystery by Peter Bartram is the latest of the “Crampton of the Chronicle” mysteries, and if you’re a junkie for old-style journalism stories, this is a book for you. It has all of the memorable characters of the previous books in the series – chain-smoking editor Frank Figgis, the ladies of the newspaper library (morgue) who could out-Google Google, girlfriend Shirley who not only puts up with Crampton’s shenanigans but often instigates them; the bumbling police superintendent who’s bested by Crampton at every turn, and more.
The story includes one of the funniest, not to mention wildest, chase scenes ever – Crampton and Shirley on a bicycle, being chased through London’s Piccadilly by thugs in a car and on a motorbike, and careening their way through the lobby of the Ritz Hotel.
Bartram has published several Colin Crampton mystery novels and story collections. He 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.
The Poker Game Mystery takes Crampton back to World War II and secret plans to thwart the expected German invasion, along with having to learn (quickly) how to cheat at poker. It’s funny and wild, with a good mystery story thrown in for good measure.