Seeking comfort at the end of June, I picked up The Comedy Club Mystery by, one of my current go-to-authors, Peter Bartram. This is the third book in the Deadline Murder series: a newer mystery series that continues the misadventures of our much-loved Colin Crampton – ace crime reporter for the Brighton Evening Chronicle – who we first met in the Crampton of the Chronicle mystery series.
The Comedy Club Mystery opens on the bombshell that the Evening Chronicle is facing a hefty libel case, due to their, usually mild mannered, resident theatre critic Sidney Pinker writing a scathing piece about the dodgy theatre agent, Daniel Bernstein. But matters only get worse when just days later, Bernstein is found murdered – skewered with a samurai sword – in his office and Sidney is literally caught red handed… murder weapon in hand beside the victim!
Where upon poor Sidney is immediately hauled to the police station as the chief and only suspect, and becomes persona non grata at the Chronicle, who sever all ties and support from him, that is except for the rebellious Colin Crampton! Colin knows Sidney might have a sharp edged tongue, but he wouldn’t harm a fly, so Colin decides to investigate, at the risk of his own job, to get to the truth.
What his digging reveals is a dark and seedy underground to the glitz and glam of the Brighton entertainment scene, where Colin and his feisty girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith encounter identical twin gangsters; an Irishman who lives underground; a failed magician’s assistant; and five down-and-out comedians who would kill for a chance to appear on a top TV show. And it’s not long before their own lives are in peril as they battle to crack a code that will lead to a fortune.
This was another rollercoaster of an adventure in Swinging Sixties England, where the laughs are never far from the action, clues and danger! As with Bertram’s previous Crampton mysteries, I like how he brilliantly evokes the era, with its classic cars, fashion, music, food and smoky pubs! As well as realistically bringing alive crime reporting at the time too, with the bustling newsroom; ringing phones and clicking typewriters; and good old-fashioned leg work and searching through the archives.
Again, I thought The Comedy Club Mystery by Peter Bartram was a jolly good, nostalgic British murder-mystery, with plenty of twists and turns, laughs, danger and charm! I hope I will have the chance to continue the series soon. Good read
(This was book #3 for my 10 Books of Summer 2021 and I am also counting this towards my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2021. I must also thank the author for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion)
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts: Have you read this? Or any other books from this series?