|Westerby-on-Sea is just a normal English seaside town: donkeys on the beach, deckchairs on the promenade, buckets and spades, sticks of rock and ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats. Just beneath the surface, however, it’s a hotbed of crime, corruption and murder. The police do their best, but what Westerby really needs is its own Private Detective. Luckily, it’s got one.
Unfortunately, that detective is J.F. Springer.
Five and a Half Tons
The year is 1962, and Westerby-on-Sea is slumbering through its drab off-season. Life is quiet for J.F. Springer, Private Detective – and, though he admires Philip Marlowe and Sexton Blake, quiet is pretty much how he likes it. Called in to find a missing woman, he has high hopes of solving the case and getting paid in double-quick time. But for Springer, life is never so simple. Soon he’s embroiled in an affair that involves housebreaking, missing diamonds, threats to his life, an apparent suicide, and a pigeon-fancier who suspects Springer has amorous designs on his daughter. The police take an interest, first arresting Springer, then warning him off, and finally using him as bait in a trap. To further complicate Springer’s life, Jim Tarbet, the local wideboy, is determined to make Springer repay a trifling debt.
Five and a Half Tons has been nominated for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, 2014.
A Fistful of Seaweed
In October 1962 dark mushroom clouds loom over the world, but for J. F. Springer things are looking brighter. He has a lucrative job searching for a missing schoolgirl. His client, Ackerman, is one of the biggest businessmen in Westerby-on-Sea; he is also one of the biggest gangsters in Westerby-on-Sea. Doubts arise as to whether the girl even exists, or is in fact someone else entirely. Soon there are problems with Jim Tarbet and his string of foreign prostitutes, a space age religious cult, another (or possibly the only) daughter of his client, and Ackerman’s underworld rival. Oh, and did we mention his old foe Inspector Willis? Or the body found under Westerby’s historic pier?
Before long J. F. Springer begins to wonder if J. F. Kennedy doesn’t have it easy…
The second hilarious adventure for Springer, as he tries to emulate Philip Marlowe on the mean (well, they tend to be mean to him) streets of sleepy Westerby-on-Sea.