The thrilling first case for the Railway Detective
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 criminals’ 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.
'A grand romp very much in the tradition of Holmes and Watson...packed with characters Dickens would have been proud of. Wonderful, well written.' Time Out
The prolific Marston (the Domesday Books series, etc.) starts yet another historical mystery series with this middling police procedural that starts well but runs out of steam. Robert Colbeck, a former attorney now serving as an inspector in the fledging Scotland Yard of 1851, investigates a daring daylight train robbery that results in the derailment of the train and the theft of gold and mail. Later, those initially suspected of having provided the inside information that enabled the scheme's startling and speedy success turn up dead, while someone begins to blackmail members of the upper-class with the stolen letters. The spirited byplay among Colbeck, his rule-bound superintendent and his sergeant recalls Peter Lovesey's superlative Sergeant Cribb novels. But while Colbeck is a bright, unconventional and imaginative sleuth, Marston's choice to unmask the crimes' prime movers halfway through and to reduce an engaging female character, the daughter of the train's driver, into a stereotypical damsel in distress ultimately disappoints. One hopes Colbeck's next exploit will offer a more suspenseful, sophisticated plot. and other titles in his Alan Saxon golf mystery series.