I work for someone who is a self-confessed train spotter and, for various reasons, he recommended these books to me for a Christmas read.
This first book is fascinating, did you know that at the turn of the century there was a dedicated railway from Waterloo taking bodies for burial at Brookwood Cemetery, I didn’t. Andrew Martin has created a great character in Jim Stringer, an engine cleaner on the Necropolis Railway who gets caught up in a mysterious series of deaths. There is a lot of background colour which gives and authentic feel to the novel. As I knew this was all about trains it feels churlish to comment that, for me, there was a little too much information about trains and not enough mystery.
This is the second book in the series and Jim Stringer has now moved to Halifax and has been promoted to fireman. Once again the period is beautifully evoked, I’d forgotten about trips to the sea and Wake Weeks for mill workers, but as for the first book there was not enough mystery and too much train and not enough about Jim Stringer’s personal life.