Front Page Murder by Peter Bartram

Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgic, crime-fictions, Headline Murder and Stop Press Murder, which are the first two mysteries in Peter Bartram’s Crampton of the Chronicle series. When my reading mojo returned in mid-September, with autumn just round the corner, it seemed the perfect time to pick up the next book in the series, Front Page Murder.

In Front Page Murder, we re-join Colin Crampton, ace crime reporter for the Brighton Evening Chronicle, in the winter of 1963, as he races against the clock to prove the innocence of postcard artist, Archie Flowerdew before he hangs on Christmas day! Archie is accused of murdering rival, satirical artist, Percy Despart with a 2B pencil. Archie’s niece Tammy is convinced he’s innocent and persuades Colin to investigate, however the more he digs, the more it looks like Archie is guilty. Soon though Colin realises he is in too deep to stop, as his job, reputation and a man’s life is on the line.

What unravels is another very British murder mystery, with twists, turns, colourful characters and a good dash of humour too. All set in Brighton during the swinging sixties, which Bartram brilliant evokes with its classic cars, fashion, music, food and smoky pubs! All of which reminded me of my two favourite TV crime dramas, Endeavour and Inspector George Gently. Also Bartram realistically brings alive the world of 1960s crime reporting too, with the smoky, bustling newsroom, ringing phones and clicking typewriters, and good, old-fashioned leg work and searching through the archives.

Then we have our protagonist, Colin Crampton, a dedicated – if rather cocky – local reporter. Who is always willing to go the miles, risking life and limb to finally solve the mystery and get his story! I have admit I have grown rather fond of our reporter, whose cheeky, chappy personality also lends a lighter tone to the darker, edgier elements of murder and crime. His latest adventure also shows how well he is loved and respected by his colleagues at the paper, as well as by his very understanding girlfriend, Shirley. All of whom are willing to try to help him save his job and a man’s life; even if it means breaking the law themselves in the process.

All in all, I thought Front Page Murder was another fast-paced, page-turning murder mystery, with a likeable protagonist and a great setting. I very much look forward to reading more from this series – I already have the next two books: The Mother’s Day Mystery and The Comedy Club lined-up on my Kindle ready to read. Good read.

Thank you to the author for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tell me, have you read this? Or any other books set in the colourful city of Brighton?


This is book #1 for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XIV reading challenge.

18 thoughts on “Front Page Murder by Peter Bartram

  1. I love a good murder mystery and the idea of being murdered by a pencil is certainly intriguing.
    Glad to see you’re enjoying this series so much.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

  2. I have the first in this series waiting in my Kindle and your review makes me want to bump it up near the top of my TBR! And seeing FictionFan’s comment reminds me I need to start the Elly Griffiths’ series she mentions. I love Griffiths’ other series (Ruth Galloway).

    1. Kelly, I really hope you enjoy the first book in this series! I have thoroughly enjoyed all three of Bartram’s Crampton books I have read and look forward to reading more. As you and FF have both mentioned Elly Griffiths, it sounds like I definitely need to investigate her books further (did you like what I did there πŸ˜‰ ).

  3. I love Endeavour too πŸ™‚ This book sounds so much fun – though why I persist in describing books containing murders as ‘fun’ is quite beyond me! Glad you enjoyed it, Jessica πŸ™‚

    1. Oh Sandra, Endeavour is great isn’t it?! Love the nostalgia and the character so much. Haha I know what you mean about describing books with murder in as ‘fun’, but to be fair this was a fun not too dark or gritty murder-mystery. And thank you, Sandra. πŸ™‚

  4. I shall have to try this one – though my journalist days were many years after the time frame of the novel, I don’t think things had changed that much!. Murdered with a pencil?? I’m scrambling my brain trying to work out how that could be done!
    If you want more Brighton as a setting, try Peter James’ series featuring Superintendent Roy Grace

    1. Haha Karen, yes murdered with a pencil, but I won’t give you anymore as it would spoil the story for you πŸ˜‰ You will also probably appreciate the news setting even more than me – The author is a former journalist too. And thank you for the recommendation of Peter James’ series following Superintendent Roy Grace – I will go investigate that series further. πŸ™‚

  5. Sounds great! I love journalists as amateur detectives – it’s easy to see how they get sucked into solving crimes, which isn’t always the case with amateurs. And Brighton is always a fun setting. Have you read Elly Griffiths’ historical crime series set there – the Stephens and Mephisto series?

    1. FF, this was really good and I agree it is easier to understand how journalists end up being sucked into becoming amateur detectives, as they hunt down the facts and a story. Ooo I haven’t heard of the Stephens and Mephisto series by Elly Griffiths, but you have me super intrigued with a historical crime series set in Brighton. I will have to go investigate further (do like what I did there?!). πŸ˜€

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