Colin Crampton, reporter (and usually crime reporter) for the Brighton Evening Chronicle accompanies his girlfriend, Shirley Goldsmith, on a visit to a nearby town. Shirley has discovered she has a relative living in England, with connections back to Shirley’s Australia. The man has told her he wants to give her something and needs her help. When they arrive at the man’s home, they discover his body. He’s been murdered.
Colin Crampton is on the case. Not only does he get to scoop the rival newspapers, of which there were many in the 1960s, he may also be able to help solve two murders in Australia. A number of people have died, and they all seem to be connected – they’re part of the same extended family. Just like Colin’s girlfriend, Shirley.
And Colin had a second mystery with which to contend, this one inside the newspaper. Someone has purloined his editor’s draft memoirs, right from the filing cabinet in the editor’s office. The memoirs may not seem particularly valuable, but they are potentially embarrassing – and career-threatening, not only to the editor but to Colin himself.
The Family Tree Mystery is the latest installment in the Colin Crampton mystery series by British author Peter Bartram. They read like what you imagine reporters and newspapers used to be like (and, I can testify, not terribly unlike the newspaper I worked for a long time ago). The stories are intriguing, doused with a healthy measure of fun (and bad jokes). Crampton is nothing if not irreverent, and I suspect Bartram has pulled considerably from his own journalism experience.
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.