Here's what mystery enthusiasts who've read
Johnny Spicer: The First Capers
are saying about it on the Amazon website:

I don't normally read fiction anymore, but...

While I normally don't read fiction anymore, I gave this one a try. I'm a big fan of the film noir type stories, and Johnny Spicer certainly fits that style.

As far as how I rate this book...
I could say that if you like the old radio private investigator programs, you'll enjoy this book. I could say that if you like Hammett and Chandler, you'll enjoy this book.

But, I prefer to say this: I enjoyed this book so much that I am buying the rest of H. P. Oliver's books. I figure if they are even close to this one, I will have a great time visiting Los Angeles in the late 30's and perhaps the early 40's.

~Les Cook

Excellent 1930s era detective tales.

A pair of excellent historical (1930s) mystery stories.

~Charles Potter

Johnny Spicer: The First Capers

Must read, couldn't put it down. Definitely five star. Historical history makes for very good reading. Just kept on reading.

~Amazon Customer

A snarky, reckless Private Eye with a flare for trouble!

This book has two stories, 'Death by Dirigible' and 'The Reprehensible Redhead'. They introduce us to the Hollywood gumshoe, Johnny Spicer. He's a snarky, reckless Private Eye with a flare for trouble. My Favorite kind of character!

Mr. Oliver drew me in immediately with the1930s era Hollywood world his characters live and die in. I feel like I"m riding along in Johnny's dented Plymouth coupe, cruising the glitzy and not so glitzy back streets of Tinsel Town.

The pace is perfect and the dialog is spot on for the times. I can't wait to follow Johnny on his next capers!

These stories went great with a couple of cold Fat Tires and a platter of chips and salsa. Yumm!

~Gary Alan Henson

A Pair of Hits!

Loved, loved, loved these two stories! I'm such an avid fan of these types of crime novels I just can't get enough! Riveting action at a rapid clip. Dive right in and enjoy your satisfying read!

~Diana S. Johnson


If you've read H. P. Oliver's Pacifica or Revolver, or if you're planning to, you may want to give these short stories a read first. You don't need them to have the others make sense, but they're a good first look into the world of Private Investigator, Johnny Spicer. And bonus: they're really good!

There are two Johnny Spicer stories in this volume for the price of one, and they both take place in the 1930's. In the first, Death by Dirigible, Johnny takes on a murder mystery set in and around the story of The Hindenburg. In typical H. P. Oliver writing, the historical facts are dead on as he weaves the stories of his characters around them. I find it to be the perfect combination for me, a lover of 20th century history. You get historical facts plus the creative plot Oliver is known for. This is a delightful read. Pure escape, and oh so clever.

Death by Dirigible, the first story, is again a mystery. The elderly Mrs. Bellman comes to Johnny in the beginning to have him investigate whether her son, Ernest, was really killed in the crash of the Hindenburg. Or, was it something else? Something more evil? Let's be honest, The Hindenburg disaster is the perfect place to hide a crime, right? I'm not going to give anything else away here because that is the fun of reading this story – finding it all out. Trust me.

The second story in this volume, The Reprehensible Redhead, has a completely different plot, but it too is executed perfectly for a history buff like me. This time Johnny seems to be blamed, by the grumpy Lieutenant Carson, for a bank robbery. Thanks to Johnny's wonderful old Plymouth they made a mistake in identifying the culprit. And, in true Johnny Spicer tradition, this only makes him MORE interested in investigating this case further. So he does. I had NO idea where this story was going, but I could not stop reading. Here's another one I didn't want to end. And another one I do not want to give away the plot to. (Sorry)

That's the thing with every H. P. Oliver story I've read thus far, I never want them to end. They are so smart, detailed, and move pretty quickly, that it's hard to put them down. I am drawn to the logical connections, but amazed by how well the story fits into them just the same. These are not books I skim through or hurry through to see who did it. I really am lost in these stories

I've said it before, but I'll say it one more time – these are perfect stories to escape into.

I was trying to describe Oliver's stories to Hubby the other night. I went on an on like I always do when I'm excited about something when Hubby stopped me and said, “No, I get it, he's (H. P. Oliver) a reader's writer.” That's it exactly! Brilliant description! And The First Capers is no different. H. P. Oliver anticipates what we want to (or need to) know, he gives us a lot to think about, and finishes each book with a bang. As a reader, I can't ask for any more.

~Sarah Owens

Excellent As Always

Oliver's books so far, and I've read four, are all winners. Non-stop, exciting, and even great fun. Glad I read this one before Pacifica, as it set the tone for this wonderful character, Johnny Spicer. All of the books deserve a second read. Fantastic find.


A Couple of Good Stories

Both stories in this book are well-written mysteries full of intrigue. I especially enjoyed the Hinderberg one. Without the technology we have today in identifying remains, it makes you wonder if we really know who died in the fiery crash.

~Julie M. Siemek