A car collector and part-time police consultant’s search for a famous car turns out to be quite a dangerous job.
Maj. Stanley Hopchurch, aka the Mad Major, hires Jack Colby, who’s always hard up for cash, to find a De Dion Bouton reputed to have been driven in the 1907 Peking to Paris car rally. The major and fellow trustees Julian Carter and Helen Palmer plan to restage the race in England, complete with towns dressed up as the original stops. The money raised will enable Carter to open Treasure Island, an impressive collection of classic cars that will form the basis for a new museum. In the meantime, the police have asked Jack to look into the suspicious death of classic car restorer Alfred King. Now that Alf is dead, dodgy businessman Connor Meyton is interested in buying out his business, which Alf’s assistant Dean Warren has been running. Handsome Dean lures Zoe, one of Jack’s restorers, to work with him. The move leaves Jack in the lurch and Zoe in danger. When Jack tracks down the woman who claims to own the De Dion, she refuses to sell even though her family insists that she collect the windfall. They’re even more furious when the stubborn owner is murdered after leaving the car to a friend who’s equally reluctant to sell it. With so many people desperate to lay claim to the car, Jack has his hands full trying to winkle out the murderer.
Jack’s third (Classic Calls the Shots, 2012, etc.) offers a complicated mystery along with the usual insights into the world of classic cars and their often loopy collectors.