Peril on the Royal Train – Edward Marston

The latest in the long-running Railway Detective series (the tenth, I was slightly surprised to note) was published in April, but I didn’t notice until November for some reason. I had a similar problem with the last Jim Stringer book, too. Anyway, it soon pushed its way to the top of my reading list.

The trouble starts when unknown saboteurs derail a goods train in Scotland. Inspector Colbeck believes this could be the beginning of something major and is determined to head north to investigate. As regular readers might expect, his boss, the short-tempered Superintendent Tallis is opposed to the idea, but is eventually persuaded…

Colbeck and his faithful sidekick Sergeant Leeming run into the usual kind of trouble. Trouble with local detectives, misdirection and the traditional bit of gratuitous violence. The reader is kept as much in the dark as Colbeck for most of the story, being shown a number of likely suspects before the real criminals are revealed. And there is indeed a major crime being planned – an attack on the Royal Train (as you might have guessed from the title) with the intention of killing Queen Victoria and her family.

It’s all good harmless fun, and worth a look if you like a bit of 19th century detective fiction, or indeed trains.

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