'Unerringly sharp and pioneeringly original, it locks the reader in from start to finish.' Andrew Barrow, Spectator
Winter, 1906. It's Jim Stringer's first day as an official railway detective, but he's not a happy man.
As the rain falls incessantly on the city's ancient streets, the local paper carries a story highly unusual by York standards: two brothers have been shot to death.
Soon Jim enters the orbit of a dangerous, disturbed villain - and discovers that the two murders are barely the start of his plans . . .
'A cracking good thriller.' Independent on Sunday
'Crime narratives dispatched with a Dickensian relish . . . Delectable stuff.' Daily Express
'Has the charm of Alexander McCall Smith's simple-is-good philosophising and its addictive quality.' Metro
Martin's riveting third Jim Stringer mystery (after 2007's The Blackpool Highflyer) finds Jim newly made detective for the North Eastern Railway at York station in 1906. His first day starts ominously when a hotel porter's throat is cut and Stringer's prized copies of Railways Magazine go missing. The latter mishap takes him to the lost luggage office, where gospel-quoting porter Edwin Lund tells Stringer about a pickpocket ring working the railways. After two brothers are found shot in the rail yard, Stringer goes undercover as hapless Allan Appleby, joining two men Lund calls Brains and Blocker in lifting wallets while preparing for "the big one." Stringer's suffragist wife remains home awaiting childbirth, and Stringer, dreading the financial needs of parenthood, finds himself thinking about keeping some of "Allan's" ill-gotten gains. Plenty of action, plot twists and moral quandaries help this engaging mystery pick up steam.