EXCERPT: The toilet door was closed, but the railway guard was knocking on it loudly. He looked around sharply and actually jumped a little as I moved forward to join him.
‘What is it?’ I asked. ‘What’s happening?’
The guard stepped back from the toilet door. He seemed a little relieved now he had someone else to share his problem with.
‘I saw the gentleman go into this cubicle a while ago, sir, but he hasn’t emerged yet. It does seem to me that he’s been in there rather a long time, and I’m concerned the gentleman might have been taken ill…’
I hammered on the toilet door with my fist. There was no response. I called Sir Dennis’s name and pressed my ear up against the door, but I couldn’t hear anything from inside. I stepped back and looked steadily at the guard.
‘I’m security. Here to look after Sir Dennis. Is there any way of opening this door from the outside?’
‘I’m Eric Holder, sir, guard on this train. I can override the electronic lock, but I’m not sure I should. If the gentleman is ill, he might not want to be seen being ill, if you follow me, sir…’
‘Open the door,’ I said. ‘I’ll take responsibility.’
The guard removed a small device from his jacket pocket and fumbled with the controls in a way that suggested he didn’t get to use it very often.
‘I didn’t know these locks could be opened from the outside,’ I said.
‘We don’t advertise the fact, sir. People like to feel secure on the toilet. But I can use this little device to override any electronic system on the train, in an emergency.’
He finally got the thing to work and the lock disengaged. The door slid smoothly to one side, and there was Sir Dennis, sitting on the toilet with his trousers round his ankles, leaning over to one side. And quite definitely dead.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny are asked to escort a VIP on the late-night train to Bath, it would appear to be a routine case. The Organisation has acquired intelligence that an attempt is to be made on Sir Dennis Gregson’s life as he travels to Bath to take up his new position as Head of the British Psychic Weapons Division. Ishmael’s mission is to ensure that Sir Dennis arrives safely.
How could anyone orchestrate a murder in a crowded railway carriage without being noticed and with no obvious means of escape? When a body is discovered in a locked toilet cubicle, Ishmael Jones has just 56 minutes to solve a seemingly impossible crime before the train reaches its destination.
MY THOUGHTS: I joined this quirky series at book #5, Into the Thinnest Air, and I have enjoyed every one of the subsequent books, until now. This wasn’t a bad read, but neither was it up to the standard of the previous books. It felt hastily written, not well thought out, and was distinctly lacking in mystery. Yes, I guessed ‘whodunnit’. It was, to me – and I am usually not good at solving these things – blindingly obvious. it should also have been blindingly obvious to Ishmael, who certainly is no dummy, and to Penny.
There was an awful lot of ‘filler’ in this book, i.e. passages/chapters that had no real point other than to fill up a prerequisite number of pages. There were no red herrings, only a few oblique references to the possibility of ‘psychic assassins’. I was looking forward to a brilliant locked room murder. I didn’t get it.
Although this was a quick and easy read, I disposed of it in one sitting, it was slow, plodding and, dare I say, quite boring reading. I do love this series and will continue to follow it. I hope this is just one of those uncharacteristic ‘blips’. If you haven’t read this series previously, I don’t suggest that you start with this book.
‘I’ve always had a fondness for crowds. They make such excellent places to hide in.’
‘Testosterone. I keep hoping they will come up with a cure.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Simon Richard Green is a British science fiction and fantasy-author. He holds a degree in Modern English and American Literature from the University of Leicester.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Night Train to Murder by Simon R. Green for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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