The Railway Detective

The Railway Detective by Edward Marston © 2004, Allison & Busby 2004 trade paperback – mystery – first in the Detective Inspector Colbeck series of Victorian railway-related mysteries

It is London 1851, and the opening of the Great Exposition is pending in London. It is the age of new marvels, one of which is the railroads. Interest is mounting in engineering  projects  and the trains have made travel faster for those with the price of a fare. New times call for new thinking, and thieves plan and conduct the first major railroad robbery, stopping and robbing the Birmingham mail train of mail and a shipment of gold coin. Planned with military precision, it is a difficult crime to solve for the man assigned to it, Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck.

Another crime, this time not for profit, leads the investigation in a new direction and it soon seems the railroads themselves are the target of a madman.

This is the first of what is now a seven book series by Marston, also the author of two other – perhaps three other – historical series, including the very good Domesday books and a series featuring an Elizabethan acting company.

Having read a brief review of a book later in the series, I decided to try this one. I liked it, a great deal. I already knew I liked Marston’s writing, but was surprised by how much I liked the character of Inspector Colbeck and the others in this novel. Really very well done, and I’ve ordered all the rest in the series.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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9 Responses to The Railway Detective

  1. Sounds good. I think I might give this one a whirl.

  2. Marston’s Inspector Colbeck series is terrific–well-written, fun, and rather reminiscent of Peter Lovesey’s excellent Sergeant Cribb mysteries. I’ve read all the books in both of those series and would gladly reread every one.


  3. Evan Lewis says:

    I know a guy, right here in Stumptown, who’s been on the lookout for railroad novels. I’m forwarding him the poop.

  4. Stan says:

    Could not finish it.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Rick, Marston has five historical series under that name and one under Conrad Allen. Under his own name (Keith Miles) and Martin Inigo he uses contemporary settings.

  6. Richard says:

    Stan, perhaps it just struck you wrong at that time, or else it’s not your kind of mystery. Have you liked any of Marston’s other books?

    Jeff, I looked it up and yes, you are right, he is really prolific. I have read one of the books by Keith Miles, about Frank Lloyd Wright and the building of the Phoenix Biltmore hotel, which I liked also.

  7. I’ve read some of Marston’s novels and enjoyed them. He certainly is prolific.

  8. Richard says:

    That he is, George, that he is.

  9. Stan says:

    No, Richard I haven’t read anything else by him. Maybe I will try another. It has been so long I don’t remember why I disliked it. Then again, ours tastes are radically different these days.

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