EXCERPT: The guard marched up and down the platform looking into all the carriages to see if anyone had left a halfpenny evening paper behind for him, and opening the door of one of the first class compartments, he noticed a lady sitting in the further corner, with her head turned away towards the window, evidently oblivious of the fact that on this line Aldgate is the terminal station.
‘Where are you for, lady?’ he said.
The lady did not move, and the guard stepped into the carriage, thinking that perhaps the lady was asleep. He touched her arm lightly and looked into her face. In his own poetic language, he was ‘struck all of a ‘eap’. In the glassy eyes, the ashen colour of the cheeks, the rigidity of the head,there was the unmistakable look of death.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Blood on the Tracks celebrates the classic railway mystery. Trains and rail travel have long provided evocative settings for tales of murder and mayhem, and succeeding generations of crime writers have made ingenious use of them.
“Never had I been given a tougher problem to solve, and never had I been so utterly at my wits’ end for a solution.”
A signalman is found dead by a railway tunnel. A man identifies his wife as a victim of murder on the underground. Two passengers mysteriously disappear between stations, leaving behind a dead body.
Trains have been a favourite setting of many crime writers, providing the mobile equivalent of the “locked-room” scenario. Their enclosed carriages with a limited number of suspects lend themselves to seemingly impossible crimes. In an era of cancellations and delays, alibis reliant upon a timely train service no longer ring true, yet the railway detective has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the twenty-first century.
Both train buffs and crime fans will delight in this selection of fifteen railway-themed mysteries, featuring some of the most popular authors of their day alongside less familiar names. This is a collection to beguile even the most wearisome commute.
MY THOUGHTS: Although I wasn’t on a ‘wearisome commute’, I was mostly beguiled by this collection. I have fond memories of, as a teenager, catching the railcar on a Friday night to the next town south to go stay with my friend Susan’s grandmother for the weekend. We no longer have that option as trains no longer stop here. The train station and waiting room is now a trendy restaurant, the railway café a display of rugby memorabilia. The turntable is gone, ripped up to be relocated who knows where, or scrapped, and the engine sheds are falling down, the tracks fenced off to prevent people who no longer seem to have even a vestige of common sense from straying onto the tracks and being mowed down by one of the increasingly infrequent trains that still pass through our town.
Anyway, enough of my rant. Back to the purpose of this review – Blood on the Tracks, which is a beguiling collection of Golden Age detective fiction short stories, all set on or around the railway. This is a diverse and mostly entertaining collection showcasing the work of some very famous authors, and some whom I had never previously read and, as a result, I have some new authors to follow up on.
Definitely recommended if you are a railway enthusiast, enjoy Golden Age detective fiction, short stories or like a historical read. Even if you are none of these things, there is probably something in this collection that will please you.
Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Blood on the Tracks collated by Martin Edwards. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.
This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2361561769