Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Lost Luggage Porter by Andrew Martin

Set in the early 20th century this book is about Jim Stringer, a detective with the railway police. He is new to the job and has been relocated to York, which was (and is) a central hub of the railway system. His superior officer gives him the task of investigating robberies from the freight yards at York station. It is believed that the thefts are an inside job. Because of the sensitive nature of the investigation Jim  is working alone and reporting only to his immediate superior officer. I couldn't quite understand why such an inexperienced man would be left to work on his own so much without a lot of support. But as a new face in the city Jim is able to infiltrate the gang he believes to be responsible without  anyone recognising him as a railway employee.
This is the third of the Jim Stringer novels. Andrew Martin conjures up the early years of the 20th century beautifully and I like the fact that Jim is a working class hero. I have passed through and changed trains at York station many times and it always adds to my enjoyment of a book if I have personal knowledge of its location. I have to say though that this isn't my favourite of the three. In the first two books Jim actually worked on the trains, he was working his way towards his life's ambition of being a train driver. He was an amateur detective and I liked that. Jim himself isn't very happy with his new job, he's been forced into it and I thought that his unhappiness led to an air of gloom pervading the book. Also his wife features barely at all. I like Jim's wife - she's a clever woman living at a time when opportunities for women like her were just opening up.
So, I enjoyed it, I think that Jim is a very likeable hero, but I hope in the next book he's getting his hands dirty on the trains again.


  1. I have only read the first of the Stringer novels. For some reason I did not enjoy it.

    Perhaps I should go back and revisit them. I have read the Inspector Colbeck railway ones by Edward Marston and enjoyed them more.

  2. Jo - I haven't read the Inspector Colbeck stories. I'll look for them in the library. I do enjoy the Stringer novels, though as I said, this wasn't my favourite.