The Morning, Noon & Night

By: Peter Bartram

The Morning, Noon & Night Trilogy




Author's Introduction

Welcome to the Morning, Noon & Night Trilogy. This is the first time I've written a Colin Crampton mystery as a trilogy so it's been an adventure for me - as well as for Colin!

Readers told me they liked the idea of having one long story broken down into shorter self-contained parts - because it's easier to read that way. So that's just what I've done. There are three books - and a murder for Colin, crime reporter of the Brighton Evening Chronicle, to investigate in each book.

I was really excited when I'd finished writing the trilogy because I think this is Colin's most thrilling adventure yet. It takes him to places he's never been before. So I hope you enjoy every minute of it.

Thank you for choosing to read my book.



- Peter Bartram

(Author, Crampton of the Chronicle mysteries)





Murder in the

Morning Edition



A Crampton of the Chronicle mystery novella



Peter Bartram





The Morning, Noon and Night Trilogy



Book 1





Chapter 1

My Australian girlfriend Shirley took a luscious lick of her ice-cream and said: “Why is that man wearing gloves on the hottest day of the year?”

Shirley flicked her gaze towards the man sitting three tables away. We were on the terrace of the Black Rock café, looking out over Brighton beach. The sun was shining from a sky as blue as Max Miller's jokes. It was August 1963 and a long hot summer was drawing to a close.

I resisted the temptation to swivel my head and stare. In my line of work, it's not wise to show too much interest in the wrong sort of people. I'm Colin Crampton, crime correspondent on the Evening Chronicle. The kind of characters I peek at on the sly would give you a punch on the snout if they caught you gawping.

And that's just the cops.

So without moving my head, I swivelled my eyeballs left until they felt they were about to fall out of their sockets. I squinted at the bloke through a grey mist.

I said: “One thing's for sure. He's not come for a fun day by the seaside.”

I shifted my chair a little so that I could eyeball the mystery man more discreetly. He was a thin wiry bloke who looked like he hadn't spent his forty-odd years on earth wisely. He had a swarthy complexion, a small scar above his upper lip, and a penumbra of five-o'clock shadow around his jaw. Central casting wouldn't have thought twice about handing him a role as one of the black hats in a spaghetti western.

He was wearing a grey three-piece suit which would have been perfect for Sunday morning church or a meeting with his bank manager. On Brighton beach he looked out of place - like a smile on a traffic warden's face.

A small fawn attaché case lay on the table in front of him. Beside the case was a thick white envelope. His gloved fingers drummed impatiently on the case. His flinty eyes glowered at the envelope and then surveyed the bustling activity around him.

The café throbbed with life as more people arrived. They'd come from a train that had just pulled into Black Rock station on the Volk's Railway, a few yards from the café.

The fresh crowd irritated Glove Man. He glanced anxiously around.

At the table behind him, a spotty boy, watched by a stern-faced nanny, dug his spoon deep into a giant knickerbocker glory. To his right, a pensioner couple smeared strawberry jam on their buttered scones. To his left, a pair of young lovers took turns to snap pictures of one another with a fancy camera.

A perky waitress in black skirt and white pinafore swung her hips as she weaved between the tables.

Glove Man glared at her as she wiggled by.

Shirley slurped her ice-cream cone. “I bet those gloves set him back a few saucepan lids,” she said.

“Saucepan lids?”

“Quid.”

I grinned. “Could be as much as a Lady Godiva.”

“What?”

“A fiver.”

I focused in on the gloves while Shirley sucked her chocolate flake. It stuck out of the ice-cream like a telegraph pole in a swamp.

The mystery man's gloves were as different from the mitts I wore when I drove my MGB on a cold day as a beach pebble from the Kohinoor diamond. They'd been tailored from some fancy brown leather. Probably by some ancient craftsman with white hair and hunched shoulders who agonised over every stitch. They fitted Glove Man's hands like a second skin. He could have sat at the upright Joanna in my mum's old parlour and tinkled Rachmaninov's second piano concerto note perfect without taking them off.