Saturday Sleuthing: Classic Cars, Spitfires, Chimney Sweeps, Chefs and Jane Austen

Amy Myers writes crime novels, but they are crime novels with a difference. Her crime solving characters are an unusual mix and while some of these novels cannot be called historical fiction they do have links to the past.


Jack Colby is the owner of a classic car restoration business and while tracking down classic cars finds himself involved in murder. I was drawn to these books by their covers: classic cars have a style of their own, especially those from the 1930s. Six books are currently available in this series.

Classic In The Barn (Jack Colby, Car Detective Mysteries #1)

When Jack Colby glimpses a 1938 Lagonda V12 lying uncared for in a Kentish country barn, he has to have a closer look - which brings him face to face with its angry owner, Polly Davis. Is it the car or Polly that captivates his heart? He decides to find out more about both, but his enquiries are abruptly cut short when Polly is murdered. Convinced that the Lagonda is somehow involved, he is determined to bring her killer to justice, even at the expense of his own safety . . .

Classic Cashes In (Jack Colby, Car Detective, Mysteries #6)

Jack Colby, car detective, takes a seemingly routine commission that precipitates him into a dangerous world of secrets and murder. A commission to buy a classic Packard saloon from the 1930s on behalf of a client should have been routine for Jack Colby, but this Packard is special ...and as Jack struggles to piece together the car's history and the mystery surrounding it, he is soon precipitated into a dangerous world where nothing is as it seems. What is the reason behind enigmatic banking magnate Philip Moxton's desperate desire for this particular car? Whatever it is, the car's current owner, actor Tom Herrick, seems to know it too - and is all too willing to sell. But when murder strikes, Jack is drawn into a hunt for the truth that involves not only his personal happiness but facing a relentless killer.


Peter and Georgia Marsh are a father and daughter team. Peter is an ex-policeman confined to a wheelchair and Georgia is the wife of a publisher. Together they investigate crimes from the past and write books about their cases. There are eight books in this series, The Wickenham Murders,  is the first.

Once again I was drawn to these two novels by their covers: spitfires always signal a World War II story, another of my favourite eras, and the ink pot, with the image of the old mansion, and quill definitely hinted at a more historical connection.

Murder in Hell's Corner (Marsh and Daughter Mystery #3)

A reunion of Spitfire pilots from the Battle of Britain in a Kentish country hotel, and an overgrown rockery garden covered with bluebells combine to spark off one of Georgia and Peter Marsh's most dramatic cases. They discover that a murder had taken place in the 1970s; the victim was a popular war hero, Patrick Fairfax. His murder had never been solved. Convinced that there is a story here, the father and daughter Marsh team is driven to find out what happened. As well as the Spitfire pilots, the reunion included several members of the aviation club Fairfax ran after the war, and not all of them had cause to love him. Fairfax' memory is still green: his family keeps the flame burning, a film is in production, and his classic story of the Battle of Britain is to be reissued. What Peter and Georgia discover, however, sets in train of events that leads to a second murder, as the passions of today boil over to prevent the truth from emerging.

Murder in Abbott's Folly (Marsh and Daughter Mystery #8)

Curiosity about a murder that took place in an eighteenth-century folly draws father and daughter team Peter and Georgia Marsh to a Jane Austen-themed summer gala at Stourdens, a fast-decaying Georgian mansion in Kent. But instead of enjoying a literary day out, they are thrust into a tense situation, with a collection of Jane's letters - thought to contain thrilling secrets about her love life - at its heart. Should they be published? Peter and Georgia are inadvertently caught up in the battle - which soon turns deadly .


Tom Wasp is a chimney sweep from the East End of London. Together with Ned, his former climbing boy, they solve crimes in Victorian London. There are only two novels so far in this series, the first being Tom Wasp and the Murdered Stunner.

Tom Wasp and the Newgate Knocker (Tom Wasp Mystery #2)

When chimney sweep Tom Wasp visits his friend Eliza Hogg in Newgate Prison in January 1863, on the day before she is due to be hanged, he is surprised to be given the only thing of value she possesses and even more surprised when that turns out to be a pawn ticket. Tom's apprentice, twelve-year-old Ned, is disappointed that the pawned item is only a scruffy sailor doll. Some days later, however, they find its hidden secret...


This series, of nine books, is set in the late Victorian/early Edwardian era and features Auguste Didier, a French chef. This was Amy Myers' first series.

Murder in Pug's Parlour (Auguste Didier Mysteries #1)

Accused of poisoning a man with the mushrooms he prepared the night of the murder, chef Auguste Didier is forced to investigate the crime himself in order to clear his name.

I did say at the start of this post that Amy Myers' crime solving characters are an unusual mix. What do you think?

While I probably won't read any of the Jack Colby novels or the books featuring Auguste Didier, not being a great fan of books with a culinary setting, I'm seriously tempted by the other two series. Cold case crimes fascinate me by the fact that crimes can still be solved a very long time after they are committed. And the Tom Wasp Mysteries? This series did grab my attention. If a chef and a car restorer can solve crime, why not a Victorian chimney sweep?

Amy Myers' writing career spans over 25 years, from 1986 to the present. She also writes romances, suspense and historical novels under a number of pseudonyms: Laura Daniels, Alice Carr and Harriet Hudson. As with most authors with a large body of work, many of her early crime novels are out of print, but some have been released as ebooks.

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