The great advantage of writing both short stories and novels is that one can be unfaithful to one’s loyal characters and return to them when fancy takes you, or better still, when a publisher or editor requests their appearance!
So here are a few details of my live-in partners:
Nell Drury, born in London’s east end, has achieved her dream: she is now chef at the stately home of Wychbourne Court in Kent, home of Lord and Lady Ansley. What she hasn’t bargained for is that her duties now seem to include detective work. The year is 1925 and bright young things are enjoying a ball, Nell’s cuisine – and a Ghost Hunt. Wychbourne Court hides many secrets from past and present. But the evening ends in murder, and in helping to solve it Nell clashes with the enigmatic Inspector Melbray.
Jack is a present day classic car detective, working with a specialist Kent police crime unit when he is not at Frogs Hill Classic Car Restorations Ltd, which is located up a long winding lane not far from Pluckley in Kent. He has a team of two for the restoration side of his business, crusty Len Vickers and lively Zoe Grant. Jack follows his heart where women are concerned, but fortunately uses his head for his crime cases. Eight novels are now published, and short stories to feature him have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and in the Crime Writers’ Association Anthology, Guilty Consciences, edited by Martin Edwards. Jack has his own website and blog, the latter devoted to classic cars, at www.jackcolby.co.uk
The Lilley Family
The Rectory at Ashden in Sussex at the outbreak of the First World War was home to the Reverend Lilley, his wife Elizabeth, four daughters and a son. The lively Caroline, the selfish Isabel, the steadfast quiet Felicia and the rebellious Phoebe see their lives changed completely during the four novels in the quartet, Summer’s End, Dark Harvest, Winter Roses, Songs of Spring. They, their militant suffragette aunt Tilly, their housekeeper Mrs Dibble and Agnes the parlourmaid face new and unexpected challenges. But for the Rector and his wife it is not so easy to change old ways.
Marsh & Daughter
Peter and Georgia Marsh investigate crimes from the past, which often takes them into dangerous territory in the present, when long festering passions are aroused. Peter is an ebullient, wheelchair-bound ex-cop, and his daughter Georgia, having escaped from an early disastrous marriage to a conman, is now married to Luke Frost, the publisher of the books the father and daughter team write about their cases. The sparky relationship between Peter and Georgia is a spur to their resurrecting forgotten or unsolved crimes where injustice has occurred.
Auguste is a master chef, working in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. He has made full length appearances in eleven novels, as well as many bows in short stories, many published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. His novels are available as ebooks.
Tom is a chimney sweep in Victorian London’s East End, and together with Ned, his former climbing boy apprentice, clears up many a murky crime. Tom has a heart of gold and he and Ned form a strong team. He has appeared in two novels, the most recent being Tom Wasp and the Newgate Knocker, published in the US by Five Star Publishing. He also appears in short stories, including the ebook collection That’s the Way He Did It.
Parson Pennywick is an eighteenth-century parson in the village of Cuckoo Leas and has only appeared so far in short stories, as he is busy with his pastoral work (which includes smuggling). The stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and in volumes of Best British Crime edited by Maxim Jakubowski.