Today we welcome author Peter Bartram to share how his long-running character Colin Crampton and his ‘Crampton of the Chronicle’ Mysteries came about.
PLUS, to celebrate the release of his latest novel The Mother’s Day Mystery (the 10th featuring Colin Crampton), Peter Bartram has very generously offered 2 paperback copies for worldwide giveaway.
Disclosure: If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.
THE TOUGH GUY, THE THREAT, AND THE BIRTH OF A CRIME MYSTERY
How I got the idea for the Crampton of the Chronicle books
When I first walked into a newspaper’s newsroom as a junior reporter, aged 18, I never imagined I’d end up as a crime writer with, at the last count, more than 100,000 readers around the world.
As it turned out, my time in various newsrooms hasn’t been wasted in writing the Crampton of the Chronicle comic crime mysteries. We had plenty of laughs in the newsroom – not all of them intentional.
In fact, the first happened a couple of days after I joined the Worthing Herald, a local paper in England. One of the sports reporters had covered a football match. He’d started his report: “This was a scrappy game of football.” Except that the compositors – the mischievous guys who set the paper in hot metal type in those days – had dropped the “s” of the word “scrappy”.
That morning, you could see people all over town sniggering at the piece. Later, you could hear the editor yelling at the proof readers.
But that didn’t bother me. The chief reporter had started me off covering batches, matches and despatches – better known as births, marriages and deaths. As it happened, there weren’t many batches to write about. The trick with writing the matches was to avoid double-entendres. Never write, “the bride carried a sheath of flowers,” the chief reporter warned me.
But the despatches carried different perils. I turned up at one house to discover the deceased had been laid out on the dining room table. I’m not sure what the rest of the household were doing for dinner that night.
Anyway, years later, after a career in journalism, which had taken me to places as diverse as 700-feet down a coal mine and Buckingham Palace, I was sitting in my office trying to think of a new angle on crime mysteries.
It seemed to me that other writers had exploited about every variation there was with cops and private eyes. I simply couldn’t think of an original idea.
Then I remembered an incident that happened during my early days as a reporter. I’d graduated to court reporting and one day there was a tough guy in the dock who’d been fined for brawling in the street. It wasn’t much of a story and would only make a nib – news in brief – at best.
But when I sloped off for lunch the tough guy was waiting for me outside the court. He threatened me with a beating if his name appeared in the paper. I wished him good afternoon and didn’t let it spoil my lunch.
Later I mentioned the incident to the chief reporter. He passed it on to the editor. And the editor decided we’d splash the story on the front page on the basis that nobody threatens one of Her Majesty’s journalists and walks off scot-free.
We ran the story and I watched my back for a couple of days, but the tough guy was never seen again. I remembered the incident while I was sitting in my office in despair that I’d ever find an original idea. Eureka! It seemed to me that a journalist would make a great protagonist in a crime mystery.
And so Colin Crampton, wise-cracking crime reporter on the Brighton Evening Chronicle, was born. When, in one of the books, Colin is threatened with a thumping, he comes up with a better line than I ever did: “Most people who don’t like what I write generally settle for a letter to the editor,” he remarks coolly.
But, then, ten books later – including the latest The Mother’s Day Mystery– I find Colin usually does come up with better lines than I ever did!
A Crampton of the Chronicle adventure
The mother of all murder mysteries…
There are just four days to Mother’s Day and crime reporter Colin Crampton is under pressure to find a front-page story to fit the theme. Then Colin and his feisty girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith stumble across a body late at night on a lonely country road.
Colin scents a story when the cops dismiss the idea of murder. Colin and Shirley flirt with danger as they investigate the killing. They take on a crazy hippie commune, an eccentric group of church bell-ringers, and a chemistry teacher with an unusual late-night hobby.
And that’s before they tangle with the mothers… Colin’s landlady has been thrown out of the Mothers’ Union. And Shirley’s mum has gone missing – in a town where a serial killer is on the prowl. Join Colin and Shirley for a madcap Mother’s Day mystery in Swinging Sixties England, where the laughs are never far from the action. (November 2018)
Get your copy of The Mother’s Day Mystery from: Amazon
About the Author, Peter Bartram
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, England.
Peter has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham Palace. He’s acted as a ghost writer for politicians and business tycoons. But he’s also stepped out of the shadows to write several non-fiction books under his own name.
Peter gained a degree from the London School of Economics before working for newspapers and magazines in London. He edited several of them before turning freelance and finally launching his crime mystery series. He is a member of the Society of Authors, the Crime Writers’ Association, and the Authors’ Club.
International Book Giveaway
We have 2 paperback copies of Peter Bartram’s The Mother’s Day Mystery to giveaway.
- Open worldwide, entries close midnight 3 December 2018
- You can also improve your chance of winning by spreading the word via Twitter , Pinterest/Instagram and Facebook/Google+/Webpage
- The 2 winners will be randomly selected and announced on our Facebook Page. Winners must respond to an email requesting their mailing address. If they fail to respond within 5 business days, the prize will be forfeited and another winner chosen.
SORRY, ENTRIES CLOSED – See winners announcement.Updated