Saturday, October 17, 2015

Martin, Andrew: The Necropolis Railway

The first of a series featuring Jim Stringer, a Yorkshire lad who wants to be a train driver rather than
becoming a butcher like his father.   He is given an introduction to work on the London and Southern
Railway and starts work at the Nine Elms depot with lodgings right by Waterloo Station.   His early
days are difficult as he is looked on as an outsider planted by management.   There is a lot of detail
about the types of engine, the working practices of the time and the language used by railwayman
which Martin conveys without holding up the story.   The plot which develops is one of murders which have been thought of as a series of unconnected accidents.   The resourceful Stringer works
this out and is almost killed but survives.   The budding romance with his landlady seems somewhat
out of place, partly because there is no early indication that she is the same age not older.   With a
rather fortuitous accident catching the killer (though the reason for the accident has been well prepared) the story ends with the young lovers together though there is then an unexpected twist
which remains unresolved - possibly to be dealt with in later books.   Straightforward writing which
did not convey any great excitement or tension does create a rather flat feeling but possibly this was

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