What with one thing and another, I don’t seem to have got around to mentioning the earlier volumes in this series of novels featuring a Victorian detective, Robert Colbeck, who after a few high profile cases, became known as the Railway Detective. It’s interesting to contrast this with that other railway detective, Jim Stringer, whose most recent appearance in The Somme Stations impressed me recently.
These books couldn’t be more different from the Jim Stringer series, really – Andrew Martin adopts a first person style that ensures that the reader has no more idea than Jim about what’s going on, whereas Edward Marston goes for the omniscient third person narrator style, switching between the viewpoint of Inspector Colbeck, his sergeant sidekick, his ex-army Superintendant, his fiancee, her father, and the murderers. This makes the story more of a police procedural set in the early days of the detective department at Scotland Yard than an actual mystery. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just a different approach – but I have to say that for me, the Jim Springer stories are more compelling.
Anyway, I’ve read all the books in this series, and had no hesitation in getting this on my Kindle. It’s a good story well told, which manages a bit of character development, shows a different side to the normally obnoxious Superintendant, and kept my attention. Worth a read, as indeed are the earlier books in the series.