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December 1860. Headed for the morning shift at the Swindon Locomotive works is an army of men pouring out of terraced houses built by the GWR, a miniature town and planned community that aims to provide for its employees from cradle to grave. Unfortunately, boiler smith Frank Rodman is headed for the grave sooner than he'd expected, or he will be once his missing head is f December 1860. Headed for the morning shift at the Swindon Locomotive works is an army of men pouring out of terraced houses built by the GWR, a miniature town and planned community that aims to provide for its employees from cradle to grave. Unfortunately, boiler smith Frank Rodman is headed for the grave sooner than he'd expected, or he will be once his missing head is found.Inspector Colbeck, the Railway Detective, finds his investigation into Rodman's murder mired in contradictions. Was the victim a short-tempered brawler, or a committed Christian and chorister who aimed to better himself? On the trail of Rodman's enemy as the season starts to bite, Colbeck finds little festive cheer in the twists and turns of this peculiar case.


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December 1860. Headed for the morning shift at the Swindon Locomotive works is an army of men pouring out of terraced houses built by the GWR, a miniature town and planned community that aims to provide for its employees from cradle to grave. Unfortunately, boiler smith Frank Rodman is headed for the grave sooner than he'd expected, or he will be once his missing head is f December 1860. Headed for the morning shift at the Swindon Locomotive works is an army of men pouring out of terraced houses built by the GWR, a miniature town and planned community that aims to provide for its employees from cradle to grave. Unfortunately, boiler smith Frank Rodman is headed for the grave sooner than he'd expected, or he will be once his missing head is found.Inspector Colbeck, the Railway Detective, finds his investigation into Rodman's murder mired in contradictions. Was the victim a short-tempered brawler, or a committed Christian and chorister who aimed to better himself? On the trail of Rodman's enemy as the season starts to bite, Colbeck finds little festive cheer in the twists and turns of this peculiar case.

30 review for A Christmas Railway Mystery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    A highly enjoyable festive offering in the Railway Detectives series. I wasn’t initially aware that this was part of that series, as the artwork is slightly different to the rest. This Christmas Special was my first introduction to these characters. December 1860 and Inspector Colbeck is sent to Swindon to solve the murder of decapitated Frank Rodman, I love how the reader is instantly thrust into the mystery. The setting of this book is great, especially all the mentions of Brunel. During this cas A highly enjoyable festive offering in the Railway Detectives series. I wasn’t initially aware that this was part of that series, as the artwork is slightly different to the rest. This Christmas Special was my first introduction to these characters. December 1860 and Inspector Colbeck is sent to Swindon to solve the murder of decapitated Frank Rodman, I love how the reader is instantly thrust into the mystery. The setting of this book is great, especially all the mentions of Brunel. During this case Colbeck revives word that Superintendent Tallis has been abducted, this second mystery added an extra layer to the story - but as I’m not familiar with the characters, this section didn’t really hook me. Overall I really enjoyed the way Marston captured the people of this era, my interest in this series has certainly peaked. I will have to keep an eye out for the earlier entries in this series.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

    Edward Marston never lets the reader down with his railway detective series; here is another thrilling case ... It is December 1860 and when Inspector Robert Colbeck and Sergeant Victor Leeming hear of a body being discovered in the Swindon works of the Great Western Railway, their Superintendent Edward Tallis dispatches them to investigate. It is an unusual case for, when discovered, the body is not complete and the missing part is nowhere to be found. Colbeck and Leeming, disappointed to have be Edward Marston never lets the reader down with his railway detective series; here is another thrilling case ... It is December 1860 and when Inspector Robert Colbeck and Sergeant Victor Leeming hear of a body being discovered in the Swindon works of the Great Western Railway, their Superintendent Edward Tallis dispatches them to investigate. It is an unusual case for, when discovered, the body is not complete and the missing part is nowhere to be found. Colbeck and Leeming, disappointed to have been leaving their respective families behind as Christmas approaches, establish themselves at a local hostelry and begin their investigations. The railway town is very much a closed shop and it proves difficult to get any definite information and when it is uncovered, much of it is contrasting. However, after much diligent work, a number of suspects are identified. It is then a matter of working out who is the most likely of them. And along the way there are various sub-plots to unravel. As the investigation unfolds, Colbeck's Superintendent back at Scotland Yard, is to attend a military reunion so Inspector 'Mouldy' Grosvenor is surprisingly appointed as temporary Superintendent ... and he has a dislike of Colbeck so he is determined to undermine the Swindon investigation. He manages to do so on two occasions but neither are to his credit, so much so that at the end of the successful outcome, sorted out by Colbeck and Leeming, he suffers accordingly back at Scotland Yard. There are five major suspects and at each turn suspicion seems to lead to a different one of them so that Colbeck and Leeming's work is made more difficult. The duo, who want to get the investigation complete before Christmas Day, do manage a quick visit back home where they explain all to Colbeck's wife, Maddy, who often offers useful suggestions to any investigation. She does so on this occasion and the duo return to Swindon with renewed vigour. The outcome in the end is a surprising one but comes with enough time for Colbeck and Leeming to deploy to Kent where Tallis has gone missing - and the smart acting-Superintendent Grosvenor goes to arrest the wrong man. As is to be expected Colbeck works out what has happened in Canterbury and eventually tracks down Tallis' nemesis. And it is all done in time for the respective families to celebrate Christmas back at their London homes. It is an exciting tale from start to end with the added bonus of two investigations being undertaken more or less at the same time. All the characters are truly believable and Colbeck and Leeming are, as usual, undoubtedly the shining stars! More Railway Detective please ...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    have to admit that this was the weakest of all of the series I have read so far and didn't have the usual feel have to admit that this was the weakest of all of the series I have read so far and didn't have the usual feel

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    3.5 stars A traditional and involved murder mystery set in England 1860 that I would recommend for cosy detective crime fans. I finished it on Christmas Eve which was very fitting and heightened my enjoyment.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Akcherrybomb

    Suprised how much I enjoyed this! I didn't realise this was part of a series until I started - don't think it mattered too much but does make me want to read the others. It is set in 1860 when a murder of a decapitated head at a railway works causes panic. Inspector Colbeck is summoned to investigate the murder and imbeds himself into the life of the community days before Christmas. Loved the writing style, the characters and enjoyed the plot. Suprised how much I enjoyed this! I didn't realise this was part of a series until I started - don't think it mattered too much but does make me want to read the others. It is set in 1860 when a murder of a decapitated head at a railway works causes panic. Inspector Colbeck is summoned to investigate the murder and imbeds himself into the life of the community days before Christmas. Loved the writing style, the characters and enjoyed the plot.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alina

    I was pleasantly surprised by the book. A horrific murder has occurred in a miniature town of Swindon. Inspector Colbeck of Scotland Yard with his sidekick, Victor Leeming have 10 days to investigate the murder and be back home to their families by Christmas. Shortly after their arrival, Colbeck and Leeming narrow their list to five suspects. Every person on their list has a motive to murder Frank Rodman. Detectives use their little grey cells and catch the sneaky cold-hearted murderer, but not I was pleasantly surprised by the book. A horrific murder has occurred in a miniature town of Swindon. Inspector Colbeck of Scotland Yard with his sidekick, Victor Leeming have 10 days to investigate the murder and be back home to their families by Christmas. Shortly after their arrival, Colbeck and Leeming narrow their list to five suspects. Every person on their list has a motive to murder Frank Rodman. Detectives use their little grey cells and catch the sneaky cold-hearted murderer, but not before a little twist in the story. Do you think this is the end of the book? Hold your teacups! Colbeck and Leeming are not done yet. While our courageous detectives are running around Swindon trying to catch Rodman's murder, their beloved Superintendent Tallis is being abducted. Acting Superintendent Martin (Mouldy) Grosvenor takes all the wrong steps to recover Tallis whereabouts, and time is running out. Tallis' days (hours) are numbered... Will Colbeck make it in time to rescue his mentor? Sassy characters, fantastic plot with new discoveries coming to lite with every new page. Bravo Mr. Marston!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    This is an exciting and need-to-finish-it-now story. It starts with a gruesome murder in a railroad town and adds the abduction of Scotland Yard's Superintendent to the mystery all days before Christmas. Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming are sent to the Swindon Locomotive Works to find the killer of the gruesome murder. The unfortunate victim was not well liked and the suspect list is long. Meanwhile, the Superintendent is enjoying a rare holiday when he is abducted. The man the Superintend This is an exciting and need-to-finish-it-now story. It starts with a gruesome murder in a railroad town and adds the abduction of Scotland Yard's Superintendent to the mystery all days before Christmas. Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming are sent to the Swindon Locomotive Works to find the killer of the gruesome murder. The unfortunate victim was not well liked and the suspect list is long. Meanwhile, the Superintendent is enjoying a rare holiday when he is abducted. The man the Superintendent leaves in charge while he's on holiday makes a huge mess of everything and it's doubtful the Superintendent will be found alive. All the while the wives of Colbeck and Leeming wonder if their husbands will make it home in time for Christmas. I started this last night and had to finish it today and was not disappointed in the ending.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thebooktrail

    A very fine addition to the Railway Detective but not really Christmassy! It's set in December though - 1860 - so it's festive in the background, but that's not the main part of the story. What we come across is a dead and decapitated man. Gruesome yes. And the abduction of another man - a police character no less. A few strands of plot then to enjoy and whilst all this is going on, we get a lovely picture of the world that Brunel helped to build and shape. This part was the most fascinating for m A very fine addition to the Railway Detective but not really Christmassy! It's set in December though - 1860 - so it's festive in the background, but that's not the main part of the story. What we come across is a dead and decapitated man. Gruesome yes. And the abduction of another man - a police character no less. A few strands of plot then to enjoy and whilst all this is going on, we get a lovely picture of the world that Brunel helped to build and shape. This part was the most fascinating for me. This was a fascinating era and it's always a joy to return to the railway mysteries.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Another cracking read in the Railway Detective Series. On this occasion Robert and Victor are sent to Swindon to investigate a naked headless corpse found amongst the Railway workings. The victim is quite a complex character and there are no shortage of suspects, this book kept me guessing to the end. A good secondary storyline was also present about Superintendent Tallis who we learn more about in this book. I now look forward to the next book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I absolutely loved this book. Having read 8 out of this series so far I was looking forward to it and it didn’t disappoint. Highly recommended

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brian Clegg

    Each year I attempt to find at least one Christmas murder mystery - after all, what would Christmas be without a good murder? I thought I had hit the jackpot with A Christmas Railway Mystery - not only a Victorian Christmas setting, but the location of the murder was the Great Western Railway village in my home town of Swindon. And there is no doubt that the book had its enjoyable elements, but it also had some severe limitations. Perhaps the best bit was the evocation of the Railway Village, buil Each year I attempt to find at least one Christmas murder mystery - after all, what would Christmas be without a good murder? I thought I had hit the jackpot with A Christmas Railway Mystery - not only a Victorian Christmas setting, but the location of the murder was the Great Western Railway village in my home town of Swindon. And there is no doubt that the book had its enjoyable elements, but it also had some severe limitations. Perhaps the best bit was the evocation of the Railway Village, built by the GWR adjacent to the railway works where it built its rolling stock, reflecting the mix of benevolence and patronising control that seemed to accompany some of the better Victorian employers. Edward Marston evokes the detail of the village and its life well, apart from the oddity of describing the (still existing) buildings as red brick - they aren’t. Marston also gives a satisfying mix of strands, with the main murder investigation in Swindon set alongside developments in the detective Inspector Colbeck’s home life and a parallel investigation into the disappearance of Colbeck’s grumpy boss, Superintendent Tallis in Canterbury, poorly investigated by Colbeck’s scheming rival, Inspector Grosvenor. And it all trundles along quite well. But the characters are rather wooden, the dialogue isn’t great and there is little heed paid to ‘show, don’t tell.’ This extends to some magnificent overkill description. For example, when we first come across the railway village church, a relatively minor setting, we are told: ‘constructed of limestone, it was roofed in tile and lead and surmounted by a crocketted spire... The church had a capacious interior, comprising a five-bay nave with a clerestory, a north aisle and a south aisle with a three-bay chapel and a three-bay chancel.’ Pevsner would have been proud - but it hardly moves the action forward in a murder mystery. Colbeck is apparently an excellent detective, though he seems to work entirely on collecting circumstantial evidence, then pretty much randomly accusing possible suspects from those who the evidence fits. It’s a pleasant enough read, but don’t expect either the period ingenuity of a Sherlock Holmes tale or the depth of a modern murder mystery. With that proviso it’s an acceptable addition to the Christmas murder collection, but I don’t think I will be revisiting the railway detective series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Austin Moore

    This book is a very classic style detective story. Although the detective was good at his job he was no super genius nor Sherlock. He was just thorough and did not let easy answers cloud his judgement. If you are looking for that kind of detective novel this may be for you. I however enjoyed this, but it was not for me. There is like 15 books and I feel like I would have to read all 15 to get any sense of these characters. The twist was only ok and it did not wow me. I just thought it was a nice This book is a very classic style detective story. Although the detective was good at his job he was no super genius nor Sherlock. He was just thorough and did not let easy answers cloud his judgement. If you are looking for that kind of detective novel this may be for you. I however enjoyed this, but it was not for me. There is like 15 books and I feel like I would have to read all 15 to get any sense of these characters. The twist was only ok and it did not wow me. I just thought it was a nice time but I won’t remember it. Also detective stories are not my jam so this was also probably not meant for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I have followed The Railway Defectives from the start of the series and was not let down and nor have I by this one. As usual the plot twists and turns causing distress and leading to a series of red herrings until the correct culprit is unveiled. Veteran readers of Edward Marston’s books or this series in particular, may not find this little offering as exciting as some of the other Inspector Colbeck mysteries. I believe the book was intended to be a fill in for the holiday season. I can only n I have followed The Railway Defectives from the start of the series and was not let down and nor have I by this one. As usual the plot twists and turns causing distress and leading to a series of red herrings until the correct culprit is unveiled. Veteran readers of Edward Marston’s books or this series in particular, may not find this little offering as exciting as some of the other Inspector Colbeck mysteries. I believe the book was intended to be a fill in for the holiday season. I can only now wait for the next episode in Detective Colbeck’s life. Actual rating 4.5

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rob Cook

    Solid and engaging detective mystery (my first one in this series). My only two quibbles are the character of Acting Superintendent Grosvenor (too much like a panto villain) and the setting of Christmas is barely referenced (save for the leads having to solve the main case before Christmas Day so they can spend it with their families) so this could have been set at any time of the year.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Library crime reading group. This is the first book of this series I've read as I am not really interested in crime or mystery books set in Victorian England. I found the plot to be decent but the ending spoilt it for me. The hero, Colbeck, is too perfect, both mysteries are solved by guesswork and intuition instead of hard work, observation or deduction, and the villains' reasons are terribly silly. Library crime reading group. This is the first book of this series I've read as I am not really interested in crime or mystery books set in Victorian England. I found the plot to be decent but the ending spoilt it for me. The hero, Colbeck, is too perfect, both mysteries are solved by guesswork and intuition instead of hard work, observation or deduction, and the villains' reasons are terribly silly.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ShanDizzy

    A charming mystery.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    Great series highly recommend

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    I have read all of the books in this series to date and I thought this was very much the dullest and most pedestrian. The main plot, dealing with a murder in the GWR Works at Swindon was really much less interesting than the kidnap sub-plot would have been if the author had developed it. It maybe that this is yet another series which has run out of steam!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    If you work for the railway you’ll probably find this book a lot more amusing than 3 stars. If you don’t... 3 stars might be a tad generous in places but hush it’s Christmas.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rubina Gomes

    This has Christmas. This has a murder mystery. What else does one need this time of the year? :D Thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the characters. Would love to meet Colbeck and his people again!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mica Thornton

    I finished this book in 2 days, I was a little behind in reading this as I wanted to read it over Christmas. I underestimated this book entirely, I cannot deny that I like a murder mystery, but this keep me looped in. The killer was a surprise but at the same time, you just have a niggling thought about the possibility. Really enjoyed this and didn't realise there are more books! I finished this book in 2 days, I was a little behind in reading this as I wanted to read it over Christmas. I underestimated this book entirely, I cannot deny that I like a murder mystery, but this keep me looped in. The killer was a surprise but at the same time, you just have a niggling thought about the possibility. Really enjoyed this and didn't realise there are more books!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sezza

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This novel was interesting it was the perfect time to read as it was so close to Christmas and also it is a mystery novel. I did have some issues with this novel though, one of them being that Inspector Colbeck (The railway detective) was constantly said to be great by other people, and I did not feel like it showed it as much as it should have, though it was clear he was a good detective. I was adamant about the killer being Fred the friend of Frank (the victim) who had feelings for Betty the wi This novel was interesting it was the perfect time to read as it was so close to Christmas and also it is a mystery novel. I did have some issues with this novel though, one of them being that Inspector Colbeck (The railway detective) was constantly said to be great by other people, and I did not feel like it showed it as much as it should have, though it was clear he was a good detective. I was adamant about the killer being Fred the friend of Frank (the victim) who had feelings for Betty the wife of Frank, but it turns out I was wrong. I noticed that there was a lot of red herrings in this book and I felt like the actual killer (the police officer Fellows) came out of nowhere and he reason he gave about the town being the same and wanting to shake it up and hating Frank also felt like a bit of a cop-out because the other 5 suspects who were focused on all had better and more established motives. While it turns out that fellows were using sex workers and Frank was blackmailing him as he was married and it is illegal and Fellows is a policeman it just felt very much like a twist for the sake of having a twist at the end, I wish more clues had gone into it. I want to be clear that I am not saying that there were not indicators throughout the narrative but that it just was not as believable for me that he was the murderer. Fellows killed him by convincing him that they were going to rob the GWR but it honestly felt a little rushed in my opinion, and I think that was added to show how corrupt Fellows really was, and Frank in his inebriated state went, so to an extent it arguably made sense. But, as previously mentioned I still think the other characters had better established and more believable motives. I honestly felt like the killer was different for shock value and my feelings may change on this aspect when I re-read it but changing the suspect 2 chapters before the end just felt like a last-minute thing to me. I also found it jarring that the perspectives would change between paragraphs quite frequently, it was a bit frustrating at times because the change would be sudden, it took getting used to and sometimes I would be confused with which character was talking. I just think that if there was a little heading stating whose perspective we were seeing it would feel like less of a disjointed narrative. The mystery itself was engaging and I enjoyed the story, I did like the character inspector Colbeck and lemming they were both likeable characters (to an extent) who were desperate to spend Christmas with their families and help find the superintendent who was kidnapped it was refreshing to see family-oriented detectives. The inspector Grosvenor who is the rival of Colbeck was interesting as he just seemed like an envious and desperate man who kept messing up. I think his presentation was interesting as you could never really take his character seriously and at times he felt like a cartoon character being used to make the novel more lighthearted as the rest of it was rather eerie. I do plan to read the other books in the series I found the Victorian setting was interesting and the wintery setting of the book was really nice to read about as its cold outside. I overall did like this book as well read the others. I do see myself reading this again in the future and will look out for hints of the murderer's clues throughout. If you enjoy murder mysteries set in Victorian times then I would give this book a shot bonus points for it being set at Christmas!! Thank You For Reading! (And Happy Holidays)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    There's a murder of a railway worker in Swindon and a kidnapping of a senior officer in Canterbury. Colbeck and Leeming are sent to Swindon to investigate the murder. Meanwhile, Superintendant Tallis takes time off to go to Kent, where he is to attend a Regimental Dinner and presentation. A temporary superintendant is appointed--a man by the name of 'Mouldy' Grosvenor, so named because of his fetid breath. Colbeck and Leeming are faced with a distraught widow and at least five suspects in their in There's a murder of a railway worker in Swindon and a kidnapping of a senior officer in Canterbury. Colbeck and Leeming are sent to Swindon to investigate the murder. Meanwhile, Superintendant Tallis takes time off to go to Kent, where he is to attend a Regimental Dinner and presentation. A temporary superintendant is appointed--a man by the name of 'Mouldy' Grosvenor, so named because of his fetid breath. Colbeck and Leeming are faced with a distraught widow and at least five suspects in their investigation. Grosvenor turns up unexpectedly and suggests they arrest one man, but the two detectives ignore him and eventually discover who the real perpetrator was. On solving the murder case, the two men head straight for Kent, where Grosvenor has turned up again and shown himself for the incompetent policeman he is by making two wrongful arrests. Colbeck and Leeming have found out who was behind Tallis' kidnapping. They find Tallis and his captors in the nick of time. The two men are arrested. Colbeck and Leeming are able to be home with their families for Christmas. Tallis is told to rest and Grosvenor gets his just desserts. There are many twists and turns in this story and a few red herrings, but I still don't know how the cases are solved, which is good.

  24. 5 out of 5

    James Casey

    I have previously read a couple of the earlier Railway Detective series, not in order but I don’t think you need to because each one is good as a stand alone novel, and when I saw this title on the shelf and being near to Christmas I thought, well why not. However I have only just read it and it’s May. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Inspector Colbeck and his trusted Sergeant Leeming are sent to Swindon where a decapitated body has been discovered in the railway works, the works is surroun I have previously read a couple of the earlier Railway Detective series, not in order but I don’t think you need to because each one is good as a stand alone novel, and when I saw this title on the shelf and being near to Christmas I thought, well why not. However I have only just read it and it’s May. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Inspector Colbeck and his trusted Sergeant Leeming are sent to Swindon where a decapitated body has been discovered in the railway works, the works is surrounded by a small purpose built town for the railway workers, and so the two detectives think that it will be easy to find the killer in such a small community, hoping they will be home for Christmas, they have another think coming. Meanwhile their Superintendent is abducted while attending an army reunion, which throws a spanner in the works. These stories are set in the 19th Century, this one in 1860, and I found this (as with the others) a highly entertaining read. I wonder if anyone agrees with me that ‘The Railway Detective’ would make a really good TV series, as good as ‘Vera’ or ‘Midsomer Murders’. Credit to Edward Marston.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marci

    This is my first experience reading an Edward Marston Railway Detective series book. I like the main characters, the main detective being a variation of a superhero-Sherlock Holmes type, and the sidekick being very Watson-like. I like the writing style with the narrative structure featuring relatively short updates of a number of different points of view to advance the main plot and the subplot. I like the concise style of writing. The main mystery is a decent puzzle; the secondary crime seems t This is my first experience reading an Edward Marston Railway Detective series book. I like the main characters, the main detective being a variation of a superhero-Sherlock Holmes type, and the sidekick being very Watson-like. I like the writing style with the narrative structure featuring relatively short updates of a number of different points of view to advance the main plot and the subplot. I like the concise style of writing. The main mystery is a decent puzzle; the secondary crime seems to have as its purpose only to advance a character arc that must have its roots earlier in the series. I didn't mind it though. My only complaint is the introduction of 21st-century sensibilities over one suspect's behavior, very out of place in small-town southern England in 1860. I am definitely going to get another book or two of this series to read, as well as more from Edward Marston's several other series of books. I think he is a writer I will enjoy getting to know better. I have read at least one other of his books and liked it as well.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Another enjoyable offering in this series. This time Inspector Colbeck has two cases to hold his attention and both occurring only a short time before the festive season. he and Leeming have to travel to Swindon to investigate the gruesome murder of a local ma who works for the Railway Works. But whilst they are away Inspector Tallis goes away on an army reunion - his acting replacement becomes a thorn in Colbeck side and matters become even more desperate when Inspector Tallis goes missing. I us Another enjoyable offering in this series. This time Inspector Colbeck has two cases to hold his attention and both occurring only a short time before the festive season. he and Leeming have to travel to Swindon to investigate the gruesome murder of a local ma who works for the Railway Works. But whilst they are away Inspector Tallis goes away on an army reunion - his acting replacement becomes a thorn in Colbeck side and matters become even more desperate when Inspector Tallis goes missing. I usually keep Christmas themed books to read at that time of the year but this was the next in the series and I didn't want to wait that long - as it turns out it was not particularly festive with only a few references to whether Colbeck and Leeming would make it back to their families in time for the big day. The Railway Detective stories follow something of a formula and this one didn't deviate much from what you would expect. If I had any criticism it would be for the character of Madelines father who seems to say almost the same thing in every book and is just plain tiresome.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Olga Gamer

    A Christmas Railway Mystery is #15 in The Railway Detective series. I entered the series late but then caught up with it by working backwards, and then out of order, but I have to say this book is one of the stronger ones in the series. It starts off with a bang: a headless body is discovered in the Swindon Works of the Great Western Railway. The head is nowhere to be found, nor is it immediately evident who the killer is. Oftentimes, it's clear from the beginning, which deflates the mystery a b A Christmas Railway Mystery is #15 in The Railway Detective series. I entered the series late but then caught up with it by working backwards, and then out of order, but I have to say this book is one of the stronger ones in the series. It starts off with a bang: a headless body is discovered in the Swindon Works of the Great Western Railway. The head is nowhere to be found, nor is it immediately evident who the killer is. Oftentimes, it's clear from the beginning, which deflates the mystery a bit, but this novel had five suspects to work with. Toward the middle of the novel, a second mystery arises when Superintendent Tallis is kidnapped, leaving Inspector Colbeck with two whodunits on his hands. I liked this book a lot. I thought that the pacing was much better in this novel, and it was pretty well-written. I also didn't think that the second mystery distracted from the main plot.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Kucharski

    It’s a week or so before Christmas, and Colbeck is sent to solve a gruesome murder at a Railway Yard where large groups of people live in a “town” within the town and plug away at their jobs day in and out. At the same time the guy in charge is going on to a reunion of soldiers that he lead, putting another in charge who is not the best but as chief inspectors suggests- he prefers the desk. Unfortunately for Colbeck and the Chief they are both to be plagued by this man’s ego and ineptness. Would It’s a week or so before Christmas, and Colbeck is sent to solve a gruesome murder at a Railway Yard where large groups of people live in a “town” within the town and plug away at their jobs day in and out. At the same time the guy in charge is going on to a reunion of soldiers that he lead, putting another in charge who is not the best but as chief inspectors suggests- he prefers the desk. Unfortunately for Colbeck and the Chief they are both to be plagued by this man’s ego and ineptness. Would say that the story starts off all right, but tends to slow down quite a bit- the middle is muddle and doesn’t have a glimmer of a twist until the Chief goes missing. The mystery of the murder is really a good one, but I wished it would have been leaned down a lot to let the plot move a bit better. The last third was the best of the book. While I don’t feel inspired to read another in this series, I couldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy the story at all.

  29. 5 out of 5

    GBL

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Railway Detective novels are straightforward mystery novels, involving Inspector Colbeck and his Seargeant, Victor Leeming. The discovery of a headless corpse just before Christmas at the railway factory in Swindon brings the Railway Detective to the scene. A number of suspects had motive for killing the unpopular Frank Rodman, and Colbeck and Leeming have to sift through the lives of the characters to find the killer. The pressure to succeed becomes more difficult when their boss, Superinte The Railway Detective novels are straightforward mystery novels, involving Inspector Colbeck and his Seargeant, Victor Leeming. The discovery of a headless corpse just before Christmas at the railway factory in Swindon brings the Railway Detective to the scene. A number of suspects had motive for killing the unpopular Frank Rodman, and Colbeck and Leeming have to sift through the lives of the characters to find the killer. The pressure to succeed becomes more difficult when their boss, Superintendent Tallis is kidnapped while visiting Kent for an army reunion. Marston cleverly runs the two stories in parallel and introduces Inspector Grosvenor whose incompetence contrasts with the clever police work of Colbeck and Leeming. The novels are undemanding, but always have a solid set of characters and an interesting context for the investigation.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lise

    The main story is quite good and keeps you reading over all, but the secondary plot is utterly pointless and the writing really poor. I know it's popular literature, but the prose is so clunky, clumsy and pedestrian that at times you feel multiple people must have been writing this book and didn't bother to read what had been previously written. Another problem is all the anachronisms, culminating in a policeman caring about the rape of a prostitute at a time when not only marital rape was entir The main story is quite good and keeps you reading over all, but the secondary plot is utterly pointless and the writing really poor. I know it's popular literature, but the prose is so clunky, clumsy and pedestrian that at times you feel multiple people must have been writing this book and didn't bother to read what had been previously written. Another problem is all the anachronisms, culminating in a policeman caring about the rape of a prostitute at a time when not only marital rape was entirely legal, but husbands killing their wives generally got away with it as wives were considered as their property.

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