A change to my blogging habits…

Hi folks,

This is just a quick post to say that I’m not going to be online as much as I like to be – not that I think for one second I’ll to be missed or anything(!), I just thought it would be courteous to tell the people whose blogs I follow, and vice versa, about the necessary changes to my existing blogging habits.

Firstly, as my day job has gone bananas I’ve reached the stage where there’s only so much I can physically shoe horn into 24 hours.

To keep things as flexible as possible I’ve already made subtle changes behind the scenes of the blog:

  1. I participated in my last blog tour on 8th May and I will not be involved in any more for the foreseeable. This in itself is such a relief as I’m not tied to a specific day to read by and post on.
  2. I have also been declining more delicious sounding books than I have accepted for quite some time now. The few I have accepted have a decent breathing space between receipt and publication date.

These little things alone have certainly helped and my existing blogging ‘commitments’ are well on track. In fact they are better than I thought as I can happily report I have 101% feedback on Netgalley (no, me neither!). The next few posts are prepared and ready to go and just under a handful of physical review books remain so something must be working, but sadly not everything… 

I already try to minimise the time I spend online due to a long-term issue with my neck/back. Combine this with the increased demands at work and I’m afraid I’m feeling even more decrepit than I usually do!

I hate to admit defeat but I’m really struggling to catch up with everyone’s posts when I return home each day. Who can resist a nosy at what’s everyone’s been reading? I know I can’t! But as it’s unlikely that my current circumstances will change overnight something else must, and therefore a reluctant compromise is called for…

For now, my plan is to gently apply the brakes rather than slam them on – so I’ll be around, just not as often. If all goes well [cue hysterical laughter] I’m hoping to continue to publish a couple of reviews a week and enjoy and share your posts on those days too. I’ll tackle any notifications via email, Twitter or the Blog where required.

While we’re on the subject of sharing, and if anyone is still conscious at this point, I can’t thank you enough for generously taking time out of your own busy day to stroll down Little Bookness Lane – I’m incredibly grateful to you.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

See you very, very soon…

Wendy  xx

It’s Little Bookness Lane’s 2nd Blog Birthday!

Thank you to everyone for their lovely comments and to those who entered the giveaway to celebrate the blog’s 2nd birthday!  The giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified.

You can see what the lovely Keeper Of Pages received as her prize by clicking here !

2nd-blog-birthday-banner

Hello everyone,

Today is the 1st of March 2017 and that means Little Bookness Lane is officially TWO YEARS OLD! 

If you’re not too busy I would love for you to help me celebrate. I have a virtual cake for everybody, a very real bookish giveaway, but most importantly MAHOOSIVE THANKS to ALL of you for the generosity of your shares, likes, comments and everything.

Thank you so much for stopping by, today and always. x

Wendy sig 2nd-blog-birthday-giveaway

To celebrate my blog’s 2nd birthday I would like to give one existing Twitter or Blog follower the chance to win all of the brand new treats below. I do hope someone can offer them a home…

I’m afraid it’s UK only this time due to postage costs (sorry about that, folks) x.

2nd-blog-birthday-gifts

HOW TO ENTER

If you’d like to enter this giveaway just let me know by doing one of the following:

~ Leave a random comment below,

~ Email me at littlebookness [at] gmail.com,

~ Tweet me @BooknessLane

‘RULES’

Giveaway is UK ONLY due to postage costs (once again, sorry folks).

Only EXISTING Twitter or Blog followers are eligible.

Closes on Sunday 5th March 2017 at 6 p.m.

One winner will be chosen at random and contacted shortly afterwards for their postal address.

GOOD LUCK!

Oh, I almost forgot – I promised everyone virtual cake, didn’t I?

Don’t forget to make a wish!!!

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It’s publication day for ‘Swimming Lessons’ by Claire Fuller – So here’s a #Giveaway to celebrate!

happy-publication-day

HUGE THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED OR SHARED THE SWIMMING LESSONS PUBLICATION DAY POST, YOU’VE ALL BEEN WONDERFUL!

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED.

swimming-lessons-by-claire-fullerIn case you hadn’t guessed from the MAHOOSIVE hint in the title of this post, Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller is published TODAY!

During November 2016 I had the privilege of reviewing an ARC for this title and it surpassed all of my expectations – my review is here.

As Swimming Lessons is easily one of the most wonderful books sitting on my shelf it would be my pleasure to offer someone else the opportunity to own a copy too.

So, here are the details of a little giveaway

the-giveaway

HOW TO ENTER

To be in with a chance of winning a brand new hardback copy of Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller, courtesy of Little Bookness Lane:

  • Just get in touch to let me know that you’d like your name thrown in the hat – either comment below, tweet #SwimmingLessons @BooknessLane, or send an email to littlebookness@gmail.com

RULES

  • This giveaway is open to followers of Little Bookness Lane (via Twitter or this blog).
  • Open Internationally – providing the Book Depository ships to your country please feel free to enter!
  • Entries will be accepted up to midnight on Friday, 27th January 2017.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and contacted shortly after the closing date for a postal address, so the Book Depository can ship their prize!

Oh, and should you need convincing why you need Swimming Lessons in your life the book summary is below…

book-summary-small

The second novel from the author of Our Endless Numbered Days, which won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize and was a 2016 Richard and Judy Book Club Pick.

‘Gil Coleman looked down from the window and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below.’

Gil’s wife, Ingrid has been missing, presumed drowned, for twelve years.

A possible sighting brings their children, Nan and Flora, home. Together they begin to confront the mystery of their mother. Is Ingrid dead? Or did she leave? And do the letters hidden within Gil’s books hold the answer to the truth behind his marriage, a truth hidden from everyone including his own children? 

Click here to see the hardback in all its glory…

GOOD LUCK!

Blog Tour – Watch Me by Angela Clarke: #writingtips and a book #giveaway ! #AreYouWatching?

WELCOME to today’s stop for the Watch Me blog tour where you will find details of Angela Clarke’s new book, writing tips from the talented lady herself, PLUS a superb giveaway!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED – HUGE THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED THE GIVEAWAY AND FOR KINDLY SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT #WATCHME!

Firstly, THE BOOK! Isn’t it a stunner?!

watch-me-cover

Watch Me was published on 12th January 2017 in Kindle and Paperback.

You can buy a copy HERE.

BOOK SUMMARY

‘Fast-paced and full of excitement…It kept me gripped.’
KATERINA DIAMOND, AUTHOR OF THE TEACHER

YOU HAVE SIX SECONDS TO READ THIS MESSAGE…

The body of a 15-year-old is found hours after she sends a desperate message to her friends. It looks like suicide, until a second girl disappears.

This time, the message is sent directly to the Metropolitan Police – and an officer’s younger sister is missing.

DS Nasreen Cudmore and journalist Freddie Venton will stop at nothing to find her. But whoever’s behind the notes is playing a deadly game of hide and seek – and the clock is ticking.

YOU HAVE 24 HOURS TO SAVE THE GIRL’S LIFE.
MAKE THEM COUNT.

‘Creepy, clever and unnerving,’ C. L. Taylor
‘Heart-pounding suspense…’ Sharon Bolton

ANGELA CLARKE:  TWITTER    FACEBOOK   |   WEBSITE

WRITING TIPS…

HOW TO WRITE A SYNOPSIS

Angela Clarke has kindly provided this excellent ‘writing tips’ YouTube video – keep your eyes peeled for more throughout the blog tour!

AND NOW… THE GIVEAWAY!

How would you like to win a paperback copy of Watch Me by Angela Clarke…

watch-me-cover

AND

…a SIGNED COPY of Bones in the Nest (second in the Sean Denton series) by Helen Cadbury

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Book Summary for Bones in the Nest: The Chasebridge Killer is out; racial tension is rising and the mutilated body of a young Muslim man is found in the stairwell of a tower block in Doncaster. As he gets drawn into the case, Sean Denton’s family life and police job become dangerously entwined. Meanwhile a young woman is trying to piece her life back together on release from prison, but someone is out there; someone who will never let her forget what she’s done.

HOW TO ENTER

  • Please share this blog post on Twitter to spread the word about Watch Me –  just make sure you tag @BooknessLane in your tweet!
  • Giveaway is UK only.
  • Closes at Midnight on Sunday, 15th January 2017.
  • One winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries and will be contacted shortly after the closing date.
  • The winner’s  address will be passed to Avon Books who will arrange for this wonderful book prize to be posted.

GOOD LUCK!

Each stop on the Watch Me blog tour will host new writing tips, reviews, and giveaways galore, so be sure to follow it EVERY DAY!!  #AreYouWatching?

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Happy Christmas to you and all the best for 2017!

Well folks, this is me officially signing off for the Christmas holidays.

Forgive me if I’m not around much during the next few days as I’m attempting to make the most of things by treating myself to a short blog break, which I do believe is my first one since launching Little Bookness Lane.

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2017,

Hope you have a good ‘un!

Wendy sig

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(Image courtesy of Pinterest – Bow is blogger’s own.)

Aaaand the award for my TOP TEN READS OF 2016 goes to…

Hi, everybody! 

Hasn’t 2016 unearthed some splendid reads? Goodreads tells me I’ve read over 100 of them and SO MANY were special for one reason or another, making it incredibly difficult to choose the ones that will sneak into my ‘top ten’.

Well, I’ve been keeping a list and checkin’ it twice, and you’re gonna find out which book held me in its vice (sorry folks, that’s just appalling). Anyway, I’ve decided the only way I can do this is  to ruthlessly whittle down any 5 stars I’ve awarded to titles published in 2016 and select those that have continued to hold my attention looong after closing the cover.

Okay then. Here we go, in no particular order other than their chronological appearance on the Blog

ONE IN A MILLION BOY

By Monica Wood

Reviewed on:  7th March 2016  

Publication date:  4th April 2016

I was lucky enough to win a Goodreads giveaway for this book which features a special little boy. He has a profound effect on those around him, including an elderly lady and her Guinness Book of World Records challenge…

One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

Review snippet:

“This exceptionally bewitching marvel of book is itself one-in-a-million.

Every word, every phrase, every dialogue exchange with its acute sense of timing throughout, gives new definition to the word perfection. When I’d finished reading I was reluctant to close the cover, as I wanted to hold onto the story just that little bit longer.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

 

A COIN FOR THE HANGMAN

By Ralph Spurrier

Reviewed on:  18th March 2016  

Publication date:  4th April 2016

Hookline Books asked if I’d like to review this book and generously provided a paperback copy. I had no idea at the time how utterly gripping it would be with its most unusual and totally unexpected plotline where the accused, an experienced hangman, and an old pre-execution diarised account of events collide. This book deserves more attention.

A coin for the hangmanReview snippet:

“One small spark creates a historically disturbing, yet incredibly absorbing work of fiction. It has a morbid beauty as it is written in an entirely believable manner, which left me engrossed until the early hours to see if justice was indeed ever served.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

 

 

THE DOLOCHER

By Caroline Barry

Reviewed on:  21st March 2016 (As my stop on the Blog Tour)

Publication date:  17th March 2016

With a review copy provided by Black & White Publishing wrapped in a sheet of mysterious historical newspaper depicting an evilness that roams the streets of Dublin, I was intrigued before I started reading! I can only hope there will be more to come from the perfectly drawn characters of Merriment O’Grady, Solomon Fish and little Janey Mack in the future. It was a pleasure being part of the Blog Tour too.

The Dolocher Kindle Cover

Review snippet:

“It’s perfectly suspenseful, grisly in all the right places, and has characters with personalities that leap from the page. It’s a seriously epic read, in every magnificent sense.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

 

 

LINGUA FRANCA

By William Thacker

Reviewed on:  12th May 2016

Publication date:  16th May 2016

Aaah, The Legend 100 Club. A paradise of quirky and thought provoking reads is organised by Legend Press and is one of THE best things I have taken part in during 2016. Each book is gratefully received and one I will treasure for their ability to hold me in their grip, every single time. Lingua Franca is no exception, as renaming towns in of the UK with well known sponsored brand names leads to an unexpected turn of events…

Lingua Franca Kindle CoverReview snippet:

Lingua Franca is absurdly original. This stunning book uses the power of words to make or break the world of farcical logic. One particular man’s world, to be precise.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

 

THE WOLF ROAD

By Beth Lewis

Reviewed on:  27th June 2016

Publication date:  30th June 2016

The narration is superb in this dystopian / crime fusion where Elka discovers concerning  things about her guardian, The Trapper. It has the most astounding ‘voice’. Heck, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Humongous thanks to The Borough Press and the Fiction Pub Team for the review copy – I ADORED this.

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis - Kindle CoverReview snippet:

“I’ve read some good books, and some great books. The Wolf Road surpasses both of those descriptions. This isn’t just a book, it’s an experience.

The Wolf Road is a unrelenting journey of discovery in a place where the truth is as harsh as the elements … I sensed every shadow, heard the snap of every twig, and saw Elka’s misty breath rising in the cold air as she speaks of her expedition into unchartered territory.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

WILD LIFE

By Liam Brown

Reviewed on:  14th June 2016 (As my stop on the Blog Tour)

Publication date:  13th June 2016

Another Legend 100 Club read (feel a trend starting?!). To say I was overjoyed to be kicking off Liam Brown’s blog tour back in June would be an understatement, as I have book love galore for Wild Life! This incredible treasure has been described loosely as ‘Lord of the Flies for adults’. Can’t argue with that.

Wild Life by Liam Brown - Kindle CoverReview snippet:

“It takes an enormous talent to place the peculiarities of fictional characters on trial and make you believe in each every one of them, for better or for much, MUCH worse…

…with it’s wicked brilliance, sharp pace and darkly satirical delivery I can safely say it’s one of those books I could happily read again tomorrow, as it sits superbly in a class of its own.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL

By Agnes Ravatn

Reviewed on:  1st September 2016

Publication date:  1st September 2016 (Paperback)

This haunting offering arrived courtesy of Orenda Books and the atmosphere can only be described as intense. Minimal characters. Maximum impact. Highly recommended.

the-bird-tribunalReview snippet:

The Bird Tribunal is heaving with a detached dreamlike quality that edges under your skin and lingers there causing time to stand absolutely still. My only wish would be that there was some way I could unread the pages so I could have the pleasure of devouring them all over again. “

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

CASTING OFF

By P I Paris

Reviewed on:  14th September 2016

Publication date:  8th September 2016

Black and White Publishing strikes again with the simple brilliance that is Casting Off, a book that earns its tag line of ‘The Feel Good Book of the Year’ a thousand times over. Take a care home for the elderly, an adult chat line, and a assortment of quirky personalities and you get a perfectly crafted tale of humour and camaraderie set in the Scottish Highlands.

Casting Office by P I Paris - kindle CoverReview snippet:

“What a wonderfully spirited story that proves there is life after youth.

This uplifting, mischievous, and brilliantly written tale is one that has left a huge impression on me, for ALL the right reasons.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

 

 

TALL OAKS

By Chris Whitaker

Reviewed on:  22nd September 2016

Publication date:  8th September 2016

Wow, wow, and thrice wow! When a surprise review copy dropped through my letterbox courtesy of Bonnier Zaffre I didn’t know just how jaw droppingly good this would be. A child goes missing, a mother is distraught, the police chief takes of the town’s grief, and that damned clown… It’s pretty awesome – yes, all of it!

Tall Oaks by Chris WhitakerReview snippet:

Tall Oaks is an evolving tragedy with an uncompromising moody vibe and remarkable quick wit.  Its sharp writing and snappy dialogue channel the undertow of deception to absolute perfection.

Make no mistake, it’s a THUMPINGLY good read.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

 

THE READER ON THE 6.27

By Jean-Paul Diderlaurent

Reviewed on:  21st November 2016

Publication date:  10th March 2016 [Paperback]

I saw this one day when I was trundling around Waterstones and decided to buy a copy as I looked like the perfect, lighter alternative to my usual ‘the end of the world is nigh’ reads. Saving fragments of books destined for destruction by ‘The Thing’, a machine that pulps redundant reading material to be recycled, Monsieur Vignolles improves his fellow commuter’s rail journey each morning by reading aloud from fragmented pages that have survived ‘The Thing’s’ jaws, and opens the door to possibilities he hadn’t considered. Ah, just sublime.

the-reader-on-the-6-27Review snippet:

“By immersing myself in The Reader on the 6.27 I found a little corner of the world where words, either spoken or written, bridge the gap between loneliness and hope. For the briefest moment it can be the most rewarding experience there is.

With its quirky humour giving a second chance to everything that is thought to be lost, The  Reader on the 6.27 is a pure delight.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

AND NOW, A SPECIAL MENTION OF TWO BOOKS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN JANUARY 2017…

RATTLE

By Fiona Cummins

Reviewed on:  14th November 2016

Publication date:  26th January 2017

I count myself as lucky as hell to have been selected to receive a limited edition ARC for this one courtesy of the author and Pan Macmillan. It’s a crime thriller worthy of all the praise heaped upon it. Yep, excellent storytelling drums atmosphere into every chapter, and as the book summary goes: He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he’s just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family’s macabre museum.

rattle-by-fiona-cummins-cover

Review snippet:

“There is a distinctive, malevolent streak in Rattle that is not to be missed. It’s the kind of book that cackles with delight as it confidently struts passed the realm of crime thriller and into a territory where only the darkest mind can thrive, ominously gathering pace with the rustle of every page turn.”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

 

SWIMMING LESSONS

By Claire Fuller

Reviewed on:  28th November 2016

Publication date:  26th January 2017

After reading and reviewing my own copy of Claire Fuller’s debut (Our Endless Numbered Days) waaay back in 2015 I was incredibly humbled to be asked if I’d like to read an ARC of her new book, Swimming Lessons. It was such a wonderful opportunity as I have fallen in love with this author’s writing.

Swimming Lessons carries the tag line ‘Gil Coleman looked down from the window and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below…’ which is a superb catalyst for everything that is to follow. It’s perfection, pure and simple. 

swimming-lessons-by-claire-fullerReview snippet:

Swimming Lessons has  a distinctive grace – the enchanting quality of such exquisite writing is nothing short of an emotional ambush.

Every raw and touching detail harvested from the Coleman’s turbulent lives is delicately mined with finesse, making Swimming Lessons quite possibly the most perfect book I have had the privilege of holding this year [2016].”

You can read my full review here .

Or you can BUY THE BOOK .

 

 

And here they all are one last time. The top ten books that have taken centre stage for me in 2016:

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There’s just one last thing, if I may. I can’t sign off this post without saying how truly grateful I am for the generosity of every publisher, author, blogger, reader, and especially to everyone that has helped to share these amazing books around the Twittersphere. And to anyone who spreads the word on Facebook or elsewhere (where I don’t hang out) – huge thanks to you too, it’s ALWAYS appreciated!

All the best,

Wendy sig

 

 

 

BLOG TOUR – STOP PRESS MURDER by Peter Bartram: Extract, Review and FREE Novella!

STOPhighres

Today I’m delighted to welcome author Peter Bartram to Little Bookness Lane as part of his Stop Press Murder blog tour.

Peter has kindly provided an extract of his new Crampton of the Chronicle Mystery starring crime correspondent, Colin Crampton.

My review for Stop Press Murder follows this extract, and you can discover more about this new book and the author at the end of this post – PLUS you can download a free novella too!

Stop Press Murder Extract

An extract from Stop Press Murder, a Crampton of the Chronicle Mystery

by Peter Bartram

The mystery of Milady’s Bath Night began with a riddle and ended with a tragedy.

I was sitting at my desk in the newsroom at the Brighton Evening Chronicle, weighing up the pros and cons of putting brown sauce on my breakfast bacon sandwich, when my telephone rang.

I lifted the receiver and said: “Colin Crampton, crime correspondent.”

A man’s voice with a deep rustic drawl, which reminded me of haystacks and summer meadows, said: “If I mentioned the word ‘bunch’ what would be the first thing that came into your mind?”

I said: “Roses, as in ‘bunch of’. Red for the love of your life. Yellow to welcome home a long-lost friend. White for your grandmother’s coffin.”

“You’re not even close. Try again.”

“Girls’ hair – as in ‘tied in bunches’. Tidy when she’s ten. Tempting when she’s twenty.”

“That doesn’t count. I said ‘bunch’, singular.”

“In that case, I can offer you a bunch of fives. As in the fingers in a fist – to give you a smack in the mouth.”

Haystack voice said: “Tsk. It doesn’t pay to get tetchy with a police officer.”

The man offering me advice – and possibly a story – was Ted Wilson. He was a detective inspector in Brighton Police Force. And one of the few ‘tecs I trusted in the town. The rest of them spent more time looking for the main chance than for clues. Put it this way: if they were drinking in the same pub you wouldn’t leave your loose change on the bar.

I said: “What have you got for me? Am I going to be yelling hold the front page?”

He said: “Possibly. It’s certainly bad news.”

“The best kind.”

“You’re a cynical bastard. When I have to deliver the hard word most people don’t want to know. They’d rather shoot the messenger.”

I said: “If journalists shot the messenger they’d have to go out and find their own stories.”

He said: “You won’t have any difficulty finding this one. There’s been a killing on Palace Pier.”

I laughed. “Don’t tell me someone finally landed the jackpot on that one-armed bandit in the amusement arcade.”

“This wasn’t a three-cherries-in-a-row kind of killing. It’s a blood-on-the-floor job.”

I reached for my notebook. Flicked it open. Grabbed a pencil.

“You mean murder? I asked.

“Yes.”

“When did this happen?”

“Some time last night after the pier closed. But it wasn’t discovered until this morning. And there’s a bizarre touch.”

“Which is?”

“The body was discovered in the coconut shy.”

“And hence your riddle about ‘bunch’. You were thinking of the song I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.”

“Yes.”

“As sung by Danny Kaye. And played endlessly on the Billy Cotton Band Show.”

Wilson chuckled. “I’d say, ‘Give the man a coconut’, if it wasn’t in bad taste.”

“Why’s that?”

“The victim was killed by a blow to the head with one.”

I scribbled a shorthand note. “Male or female?” I asked.

“Coconuts don’t have a sex.”

“The victim.”

“Male, I gather.”

“Why, ‘I gather’?”

Wilson said: “I wish I knew more. But I’ve been frozen out of this case. Tomkins has taken it.”

That wasn’t good news. Detective Superintendent Alec Tomkins hadn’t liked me since I’d run a story about a cigarette-smuggling ring he’d arrested. The three smugglers had been acquitted at Lewes Assizes when the defence pointed out that the police were unable to account for all the contraband ciggies they claimed they’d seized.

I’d written that Tomkins’ case had “gone up in smoke”. He’d accused me of insinuating the lads at the cop shop had been treating themselves to duty-free drags from the evidence. Tomkins had blustered about a writ for libel. But the chief constable made it clear he wasn’t funding a lengthy court case out of the police budget.

Instead, Tomkins settled for nurturing a life-long hatred of me.

“That explains why I didn’t know about it,” I said.

“There’s more,” Wilson said. “I’ve just heard that Tomkins tipped off Houghton more than an hour ago.”

That was worse news. Jim Houghton was my opposite number on the Evening Argus, the other paper in town. By now, he’d be at the scene of the crime with Tomkins. The two would be laughing themselves silly over the right royal stuffing they were giving me.

I said: “Thanks for the tip-off, Ted.”

“Sorry I couldn’t do it earlier. Needed to get out of the office to make this call. You’ll know why.”

The phone went dead.

I replaced the receiver with mixed feelings.

What Ted told me was enough for two paragraphs for the Midday Special edition’s “news in brief”. But Houghton would have a front-page lead in the Argus.

As soon as my news editor Frank Figgis saw the midday Argus, he’d want to know why I’d been scooped. He wouldn’t be interested in hearing that Houghton had been given an inside track by Tomkins.

Figgis wouldn’t sack me. It would be worse than that. He’d think up some creative revenge – like making me sit through endless meetings of the crime-prevention committee at the Town Hall.

Or he’d book me as the guest speaker on the “ethics of the press” at the Women’s Institute in an inaccessible Sussex village.

Or he’d make me interview a retired police-dog handler with bad breath and dandruff.

Or the dog.

To avoid any of those horrors, I had to find an angle on the story that outpaced the Argus in time for our Afternoon Extra edition. That meant I had three hours to turn the story around.

I grabbed my notebook and headed for the door.

The bacon sandwich would have to wait.

Stop Press Murder: a Crampton of the Chronicle Mystery by Peter Bartram is published by Roundfire Books.

Stop Press Murder My Review

STOPhighres

My love for the Crampton of the Chronicle Mysteries was sparked by Headline Murder in 2015. Two novellas and another novel later and still this series never fails to entertain and amuse.

Stop Press Murder continues the journalistic adventures of a newshound who is looking to impress his editor with next big scoop for the crime section of the Evening Chronicle in 1960’s Brighton.

It’s not easy to conjure an all singing, all dancing crime headline out of thin air when nothing of any notable interest appears to be happening. That is, unless your name’s Crampton. Colin Crampton. The man possesses an almost rabid journalistic gift for sniffing out the obscure. Frequently this means he takes risks by presenting an outrageous headline before his theories can be backed up which leaves him in some pretty awkward predicaments, providing oodles of entertainment for the reader.

This time, when he senses an unrelated murder on the pier and a recent theft could be connected, he finds he’s on the receiving end of a fair amount of jibes from the rival paper to discredit him. His ‘unnamed police source’ is none too happy with him either, as like a dog with a bone Colin goes above and beyond to prove there’s more to a saucy film called Milady’s Bath Night going missing from the Palace Pier and a night watchman being attacked some days later in the coconut shy with a very odd choice of weapon.

Despite his natural drive to unearth the truth no matter how deep its buried, Crampton is an exceedingly likeable reporter. He has the cheek of the devil and a keen sense of humour, although the investigative journalist that lives within can’t be tamed at times and tests the resolve of even his strongest allies! This time round he hasn’t even got the long suffering support of his Aussi girlfriend, Shirley, who has gone walkabout to contemplate the future – is she the love of his life, or is he already married to his job…

That particular question may not seem to be the most pressing of Colin’s problems presently, as there are plenty of others forming a queue to get his attention covering a multitude of unsavoury crimes, the steely gaze of an ice cold marchioness, a spy in the newsroom, or his landlady with whom he flouts every rule possible. When things look like they’ll turning ugly, he turns on the Crampton charm. There’s never a dull moment things keep buzzing along nicely indeed!

Whether he’s casually conversing with snooty aristocrats or just a bloke down the greasy spoon, Colin follows the story wherever it may take him which often leads him straight into the path of imminent danger as he uncovers people’s secrets that have been hidden for very good reason. To catch that killer headline Colin sets some very careful traps before he reaches the crescendo of this jauntily plotted mystery.

This entertainingly baffling ‘step back in time’ crime caper is ripe with a variety of situations and subtle innuendos that will no doubt raise a few chuckles. An old school investigative approach is very much alive and kicking in these days of classic telephone boxes and little MGB’s, making Stop Press Murder an absolute delight to read.

(Oh, and can be enjoyed as a standalone, should you wish.)

Rating:  5/5

(My thanks to the author for providing a copy of his new book in exchange for an unbiased review. It was a lovely surprise not only see that a snippet from my review for Headline Murder had been quoted but to find Peter had generously signed this paperback copy, which I will treasure.)

Stop Press Murder Book Summary

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

FIRST, the saucy film of a nude woman bathing is stolen from a What the Butler Saw machine on Brighton’s Palace Pier. NEXT, the piers night-watchman is murdered – his body found in the coconut shy. COLIN CRAMPTON, ace reporter on the Evening Chronicle, senses a scoop when he’s the only journalist to discover a link between the two crimes. HE UNCOVERS a 50-year feud between twin sisters – one a screen siren from the days of silent movies, the other the haughty wife of an aristocrat. BUT COLIN’S investigation spirals out of control – as he RISKS HIS LIFE to land the biggest story of his career. Stop Press Murder, a Swinging Sixties mystery, has more twists and turns than a country lane. It will keep you guessing – and laughing – right to the last page.

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The Crampton of the Chronicle Mysteries…

Crampton of the Chronicle Mystery series

Stop Press Murder Author Profile

Author Peter BartramPeter 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. Peter has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s interviewed cabinet ministers and crooks – at least the crooks usually answer the questions, he says. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham Palace. (The former is easier to get into but at least you don’t have to wear a hat with a lamp on it in the latter.)

Peter wrote 21 non-fiction books, including five ghost-written, in areas such as biography, current affairs and how-to titles, before turning to crime – and penning Headline Murder, the first novel in the Crampton series. As an appetiser for the main course, there is a selection of Crampton of the Chronicle short stories at http://www.colincrampton.com. Peter is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

FACEBOOK  |  COLIN CRAMPTON SHORT STORIES  |  AUTHOR WEBSITE 

Stop Press Murder Free NovellaMICL-cover-web

Read Murder in Capital LettersFOR FREE!

Murder in Capital Letters, a Crampton of the Chronicle novella, is free to download for your kindle or other e-reader at:

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE NOVELLA HERE

SHOT TWICE!: Brighton antiques dealer Freddie Hollingbourne-Smith is murdered in his workshop – and crime reporter Colin Crampton is first on the scene.

TOO MANY SUSPECTS: Colin discovers plenty had reason to kill Freddie… like thwarted beauty queen Julie Appleyard, his jilted mistress… snooty toff Sir Tunnicliffe Hogg, his persecuted neighbour… devious hard-man Harry Spittlefield, his cheated partner… not to mention fiery and passionate Isabella, his betrayed ex-wife.

CRYPTIC CLUE: Colin must puzzle out the mystery left by a small pile of printers’ type – all in capital letters – before he can finger the killer.

THE CLIMAX EXPLODES: on the famous train, the Brighton Belle. With Colin’s feisty Australian girlfriend Shirley at his side, the laughs are never far from the clues as the pair hunt down the murderer.

ENJOY!

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