Murder on the Brighton Express by Edward Marston
Synopsis from Amazon:
October 1854. As an autumnal evening draws to a close, crowds of passengers rush onto the soon to depart London to Brighton Express. A man watches from shadows nearby, grimly satisfied when the train pulls out of the station…Chaos, fatalities and unbelievable destruction are the scene soon after when the train derails on the last leg of its journey. What led to such devastation, and could it simply be a case of driver error? Detective Inspector Colbeck, dubbed the ‘railway detective’ thinks not. But digging deep to discover the target of the accident takes time, something Colbeck doesn’t have as the killer prepares to strike again.
This is the first Marston book I have read, and I really enjoyed it. Set in 1854, we meet the Railway Detective, Inspector Robert Colbeck. When the Brighton Express collides with a goods train, Colbeck has his work cut out for him. With his partner, Leeming, they have to find the man who instigated the crash, and all the people connected with this horrific incident. There are many lines of enquiry that Colbeck pursues. The adventure and excitement range from the first page to the last, with many suspects being chased, several attempted murders and obstacles to overcome such as unsupportive railway investigators.
I wasn’t excited to read this book, however, I quickly changed my mind. I feared it would be all about trains, but it wasn’t. Although the starting point is the train crash, the investigations take the reader away from the railways and into the heart of Brighton and London. Marston’s writing was engaging, gripping and enthralling. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. It was an easy read, but very enjoyable. Even people who are not fans of the crime genre will enjoy this book. I was guessing right up to the end. I did have my suspicions that were confirmed but with several leads the outcome was not clear.
I think the way Marston portrayed the characters. I was convinced by all of them. My favourite was Tallis, the scary superintendant. He made me laugh in several places. I was also impressed by the historical accuracy. At all times you were in Victorian England, which I appreciated.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. I can’t find any faults. A fast, enjoyable read, with several deaths, several leads and some great story telling.