The Railway Detective

Whenever I make the trip over to Half Price Books I’ve always got a list of books to look for.  It’s usually just wishful thinking though because about 95% of the time they don’t have what I want.  But it’s never a wasted trip… I just wander the aisles until a book or two (or ten) catches my eye.  I was browsing the mystery aisle a few months ago when I noticed this one:

The Railway DetectiveAnything about trains, particularly in the mystery aisle, is bound to catch my attention and The Railway Detective by Edward Marston (Keith Miles is his real name) did just that.  I was pretty excited to find this one, especially after reading the description:
London 1851.  With the opening of the Great Exhibition at hand, interest is mounting in the engineering triumphs of the railways, but not everyone feels like celebrating…
In an audacious attack, the London to Birmingham mail train is robbed and derailed, causing many casualties.  Planned with military precision, this crime proves a challenge to Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck who fights to untangle a web of murder, blackmail and destruction.
As Colbeck closes in on the criminal masterminds, events take an unexpected turn when the beautiful Madeleine, daughter of the injured train driver, becomes a pawn in the criminal’s game.  With time running out, good and evil, new and old, battle against each other.  But will the long arm of the law have speed on its side?
Full of historical detail, The Railway Detective is an action-packed dip into murky 1850s London.

As excited as I was to read this one, I was a little disappointed by the time I finished it.  I liked the plot and the details given about the different types of trains but it just wasn’t enough to set it a part from the many other mystery series I read.  While the main characters, Detective Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming, are likable enough all the characters felt a little flat, especially the main “criminal mastermind”. The dialogue seemed to be pretty repetitive in parts too.

The Railway Detective did keep me interested enough to finish it though and I really do like the idea of a mystery series focusing on trains and railways.  I’ll probably try one or two more books in the series.  A lot of times a series improves with each new book and hopefully this one will too!  If you’ve read The Railway Detective, I’d love to know what you thought about it!

This Edition: Paperback published by Allison and Busby (2005)

Other books in The Railway Detective series: The Excursion Train, The Railway Viaduct, The Iron Horse, Murder On The Brighton Express, The Silver Locomotive Mystery, Railway To The Grave, Blood On The Line, The Stationmaster’s Farewell, Peril On The Royal Train, A Ticket To Oblivion, Inspector Colbeck’s Casebook, Timetable Of Death


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