The Excursion Train (The Railway Detective Series)

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9780749082376: The Excursion Train (The Railway Detective Series)

London, 1852. On the shocking discovery of a passenger’s body on the Great Western Railway excursion train, Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck and his assistant, Sergeant Victor Leeming, are dispatched to the scene. Faced with what initially appears to be a motiveless murder, Colbeck is intrigued by the murder weapon - a noose. When it emerges that the victim had worked as a public executioner, Colbeck realizes that this must be intrinsically linked to the killer's choice of weapon. However, the further he delves into the case, the more mysterious it becomes. When a second man is strangled with a noose on the train, Colbeck knows that he must act quickly; can he catch the murderer before more lives are lost? The memorable characters, first featured in The Railway Detective, again lead you down unexpected paths in their quest to solve the mystery of the noose murders.

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Review:

Murder in the midst of merriment can be the most shocking sort, and so it is in the case of Jacob Bransby--brutally strangled with a length of wire while on board a train carriage crowded with lowlife Londoners, all bound for an illegal bare-knuckle prizefight in Berkshire in 1852. That the deceased's wallet was not purloined leaves Scotland Yard Inspector Robert Colbeck wondering at the motive for this heinous act--and, soon, additional crimes--in The Excursion Train, Edward Marston's second witty, railroad-tied Colbeck escapade (after The Railway Detective).

It doesn't take the foppish flatfoot long, though, to realize that "Bransby" was an alias, behind which hid a veteran public executioner, notorious both for his religious mania and his appalling incompetence with a hangman's noose. While the deceased's suffering spouse lives in denial of her husband's invidious deeds and macabre mementos, and their estranged son operates under his wife's maiden name in order to avoid being treated "as if I was a leper," Colbeck--assisted, as usual, by tenacious Sergeant Victor Leeming--does everything he can to expose the dead man's secrets, and thus flush out a killer. Could this homicide have been committed in retribution for the botched hanging in Kent, a month before, of butcher Nathan Hawkshaw, a generally upstanding individual convicted (despite his protestations of innocence) of hacking to death the alleged rapist of his 16-year-old stepdaughter, Emily? The inspector can only determine that, it seems, by first revisiting the Hawkshaw case--an endeavor that will lead to Leeming's inauspicious beating, an attempted suicide, Colbeck's employment of Madeleine Andrews (the comely conductor's daughter he rescued in The Railway Detective) as his investigative confederate, and yet another slaying on the tracks.

Brimming with whimsical dialogue, full-throttle turns, and a droll cast (especially delightful is priggish police superintendent Edward Tallis), The Excursion Train might only be faulted for the artlessness of its romantic subplot. British novelist Marston, best known for his Elizabethan theater mysteries (The Counterfeit Crank), has struck a rich, arcane vein of possibilities by rooting the Colbeck books in the world of railroads--the transformational technology of mid-19th-century England. Colbeck and Leeming have the opportunity in future installments to steam off after malefactors in any queer corner of Victorian Britain. All aboard! --J. Kingston Pierce

About the Author:

Edward Marston was born and brought up in South Wales. A full-time writer for over thirty years, he has worked in radio, film, television and the theatre, and is a former chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association. He is the author of sixty crime novels set in seven distinct periods of history, and a master of historical fiction. He is the author of the hugely successful Railway Detective series.

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Edward Marston
Verlag: Allison & Busby Jun 2006 (2006)
ISBN 10: 0749082372 ISBN 13: 9780749082376
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Buchbeschreibung Allison & Busby Jun 2006, 2006. Taschenbuch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - The second novel in this popular crime series set on the grand railways of the 19th century, after 'The Railway Detective'. The memorable characters from the first story lead us down unexpected paths in their quest to solve the mystery of the noose murders. 300 pp. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9780749082376

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