Review: Headline Murder by Peter Bartram

Published 28 August 2015 by Roundfire


It’s August 1962, and Colin Crampton, the Brighton Evening Chronicle’s crime reporter, is desperate for a front-page story. But it’s the silly season for news and the only tip-off Crampton has is about the disappearance of the seafront’s crazy-golf proprietor, Arnold Trumper. Crampton thinks the story is about as useful as a set of concrete water-wings. But when he learns that Trumper’s vanishing act is linked to an unsolved murder, he scents a front-page scoop. Powerful people are determined Crampton must not discover the truth. But he is quite prepared to use every newspaper scam in the book to land his exclusive. The trouble is it’s his girlfriend, feisty Australian Shirley, who too often ends up on the wrong end when a scam goes wrong. Crampton has to overcome dangers they never mentioned at journalism school before he writes his story. Headline Murder will keep you guessing and smiling right to the last page.

My thoughts

Headline Murder is a rather fun and well written cozy mystery set in 1960s Brighton. It is a lot lighter, than the usual dark gritty crime I am drawn to. I really enjoyed losing myself in the past, with the familiarity of Brighton and a cracking mystery.

Colin Crampton is a reporter on one of the local newspapers in Brighton. He is a dedicated newsman ready to follow any juicy crime story. He has an off-beat Aussie girlfriend. He is soon on the case of the missing crazy-golf owner and looking into the goings on of the local bad-boy entrepreneur, Drake. What has happened to Arnold Trumper, crazy-golf owner?

It is lovely to go back in time, with a familiar setting and places. There are lots for contemporary Brightonians to recognise and appreciate. Crime in 1960s Brighton is not at all like the contemporary Peter James’ Roy Grace series. It is murder, without the gore and the mobile phones, computers and all the other gadgets we take for granted today. Colin cannot call for assistance easily, without locating a payphone. He has to rely on his gumption and wit.

Cleverly balancing humour, with a missing person mystery; we follow Colin as he starts to uncover what happened to Trumper. I became very fond of our reporter, as he got up to all kinds of mischief and was racing against the clock. It was easy to imagine the smoky masculine atmosphere of the newsroom, of a very different era. The women in the newspaper cuttings library were hilarious, with their quips.

Recommended for those who want a lighter crime read, with a genuine 1960s Brighton vibe!

About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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2 Responses to Review: Headline Murder by Peter Bartram

  1. Pingback: Extract: Meet Colin Crampton from Headline Murder by Peter Bartram | northerncrime

  2. Pingback: Stop Press Murder by Peter Bartram – *Guest Post- The Scandalous Story of What the Butler Saw* | #northern #crime

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