Monday, 5 March 2012

Murder at Deviation Junction by Andrew Martin

Murder at Deviation Junction is the fourth of the Jim Stringer novels. Set in 1909, Jim Stringer is still in the railway police, and still wishing that he was back working the engines.
A body is found close to the railway line near Saltburn, an apparent suicide - but Jim suspects something more. He also believes that journalist Stephen Bowman knows more than he is saying. The dead man, Paul Peters, was a press photographer, a colleague of Bowman's. Just before he died he had been interested in taking pictures of a Club Train. A Club Train was a sort of chartered train, a group of (wealthy) people who all made the same journey regularly would club together to charter a fancy train where they didn't have to mix with the hoi-polloi. The specific train Peters was interested in ran from Whitby to Middlesbrough, passing the place where his body was found.
I enjoyed this book, I rarely come across a novel set in the area where I live, and it was good to see place names I'm so familiar with popping up. Middlesbrough is a town built on the steel industry, much of which is gone now. It was good to read descriptions of it in its heyday and imagine what it was like.
I was glad to see Jim's wife Lydia back in this one, I missed her in the last. She is a feminist in days when opportunities were just starting up for working-class women like her,

Lydia had spent the past two years fretting about our futures - mine and hers both. Would she end up at the kitchen sink? That was her leading anxiety. She was a New Woman, forward thinking. There was to be a sex revolution, and you knew it was coming by the speed at which Lydia went at her typewriting.

I enjoyed this book, but I definitely preferred the first half to the second half. I thought the second half became a bit far-fetched. But all-in-all I thought it was a good read.


  1. I keep meaning to pick up the first book in this series. I don't know the local but I do like a mystery set on a train.

  2. I have read the first in this series but it did not work for me. I have read a couple of Edward Marston who also basis his detective on the railways but about 50 years earlier to these ones.