HARROGATE comedian Tom Taylor will precede his autumn tour of the first and second episodes of his series of Charlie Montague Mysteries with performances at the Great Yorkshire Fringe in York tonight.

These delightfully silly murder mysteries for anyone who ever wished Bertie Wooster was a detective will take the form of one-man plays with a revolving gallery of high-society dames and eccentric waiters, all played by Taylor.

Taylor, promoter of the Sitting Room comedy nights in York and Harrogate, will visit Helmsley Arts Centre on September 15 at 7.30pm and play a hometown show at Harrogate Theatre on October 10 at 7.45pm. At the Great Yorkshire Fringe, he will perform Episode One in The Tea Pot tonight at 7pm and Episode Two at 8.15pm.

Episode One, The Game’s A Foot, Try The Fish will provide an introduction to Taylor's hero, Charlie Montague. "Inspired by the Hippodrome’s latest mystery play, rakish aristocrat Charlie takes out an advert offering his services as a consulting detective and, one breakfast later, finds himself on his first case," says Taylor. "What follows sees the gloriously inept love child of Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse determined to prevent a murder. The chap dies."

Not put off in the slightest by the ups and downs of his first case, Charlie duly accepts an invitation to the opening of a new art exhibition where he is presented with the double-threat of murder and modern art in The Man With The Twisted Hip. Alas for Charlie, he is equally baffled by both.

Taylor is a stand-up comedian, musician, writer and actor who graduated from the University of York with a degree in music. He has worked as a composer and lyricist on such productions as a new family musical and an adaptation of Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, as well as winning the Audience Favourite Award in the Musical Comedy Awards, supporting Simon Munnery on tour and performing on BBC Radio 2 and Radio 4 as part of the BBC Radio New Comedy Award.

"I suppose the start to all this is that I set up a comedy club - as others have done - to have somewhere regular to perform, though the dream was always to perform stand-up rather than set up a club, but the Sitting Room in Harrogate and York has gone better than I ever could have expected," says Tom.

York Press:

Tom Taylor as Charlie Montague in The Game's A Foot, Try The Fish. Picture: Marcos Avlonitis

"When I was the University of York, studying music, I started writing this film-noir parody for radio and as I was writing it I realised that probably there was a stage play in there, but then I also realised I couldn't sustain an American accent for an hour.

"So what happened then was that I changed the hard-boiled, Scotch-drinking divorced American PI into a bumbling, gentrified Bertie Wooster character, which is much more in my range.

"And through a combination of financial restraint and my ego, I whittled it down from four cast members to only me."

Taylor had acquired an appreciation of detective dramas from his parents and he also saw Patrick Barlow's inspired retelling of John Buchan's The 39 Steps with an absurdly, impossibly small cast "at a good time".

"I thought what they did with multi role-playing was incredible, and I also love that golden age of murder mysteries and crime writing, so I felt inspired to create my own stories," he says.

Taylor defines his two episodes as "one-man plays that have come out of stand-up comedy". "They can be seen as comedy plays but also as an hour of character comedy with a narrative, so the shows could just as easily be listed under 'comedy' at the Fringe," he says.

"But the reason I didn't do that is that if you put it in the comedy section, you are selling Tom Taylor as the product, whereas if you put it under 'theatre', I am the secondary element and the play comes first, so it's better to compete with other plays, rather than competing with all the other comedians when I'm an emerging/jobbing comedian."

In Taylor's stories, his central character, Charlie Montague, has hired the theatre to tell his stories. "He's a gentleman detective, not an actor, so there's a joke at my expense with regards to using accents!" he says.

Charlie Montague - a character in part inspired by Johnny Depp's performance as shady art dealer Charlie Mortdecai in the 2015 film Mortdecai - made his Edinburgh Fringe debut last summer in Episode One, and this summer he returns to Scotland with the second episode newly added.

Taylor's shows can be seen at Venue 53, theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Nicholson Street, Edinburgh, from August 4 to 26 at 3.05pm and 5.05pm.

Tickets for his GYF shows are on sale at greatyorkshirefringe.com and on 01904 500600; Helmsley, 01439 771700 or at helmsleyarts.co.uk; Harrogate, 01423 502116 or at harrogatetheatre.co.uk.