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Blood on the Line
The Railway Detective Series – Book VIII
Edward Marston

Allison and Busby
11 April 2011/ ISBN 0749008695
Historical Mystery / 1857 / Various locations in England and New York
Amazon US || UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

It looks as though the end of the line (no pun intended) has arrived for dangerous criminal Jeremy Oxley. But as two burly policemen escort him onto the train that is taking him to his execution, he plays his final hand. This results in the deaths of both policemen and Jerry on the run again, this time with his accomplice. Inspector Colbeck is on the case to catch the criminal who has eluded him for years, and he is determined not to let him escape again…

The game is afoot! But afoot in a way that is a departure for both this series and this writer. Usually there is a teasing puzzle to solve with a drawerful of red herrings and a large cast of suspects, in short just the type of detective novel I particularly enjoy. This time we already know who the guilty parties are and it is a case of sitting back while Colbeck, Leeming and others chase after them. I’m not personally a fan of this type of story as a rule, and this is a surprisingly downbeat story from the usually more llighthearted (if not exactly cozy) pen of Mr. Marston. But I’m always interested in writers who can add the spice of variety to their work, particularly if it tends to come in long series. This is only book eight of this one however, and I am far from weary with the usual format but there is still plenty to enjoy, the highlight of which is surely the last few chapters as the chase continues across the Atlantic. As usual the thrill and freedom of railway travel is a theme of the book and this time it also extends to the new ships that can get to the States in less than ten days. I won’t be sorry to read a mystery again next time however.

Other reviews in this series at
The Railway Detective, 1
The Excursion Train, 2
Railway To The Grave, 7
Blood on the Line, 8

Reviewed 2011
© 2011