Synopses & Reviews
"Martins debut, loaded with railway lore, pairs a lively, often macabre look at turn-of-the-century London with a bang-up mystery." Kirkus Reviews
"A classy potboiler . . . in the best formal traditions of Dickens and Collins (let alone Christie and Chandler)." The Times (London)
When railway man Jim Stringer moves to the garish and tawdry London of 1903, he finds his duties are confined to a mysterious graveyard line. Perplexingly, the men he works alongside have formed an instant loathing for him, and his predecessor has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Forced to live by his wits and assisted by his alluring landlady, he struggles to unearth the truth before he is issued a one-way ticket on the Necropolis Railway.
"An ingenious and atmospheric thriller . . . crackles with the idiom and slang of the period. An eccentric delight."--Daily Express (London)
"So diverting that reader and hero are swept off their feet into a noisy, steamy, antiquated world of great danger." The Guardian (Book of the Week)
ANDREW MARTIN was a Spectator (London) Young Writer of the Year. He lives in London.
"First published in the U.K. in 2002, Martin's U.S. debut offers smooth prose, but suffers from its callow, 19-year-old protagonist, Jim Stringer. In 1903, Stringer leaves York for London to make something of himself on the railway, a consuming passion of his for years. Despite his letter of reference from a director of the London and South Western Railway, Stringer receives a hostile reception at Necropolis Railway and is soon delegated to dirty scut work connected with the transport of coffins to nearby cemeteries. When he learns his predecessor mysteriously disappeared, Stringer pursues an amateur investigation that turns dangerous after several people turn up dead. Basil Copper made better use of the creepy, atmospheric Necropolis Railway setting in his 1980 novel, Necropolis, and the almost impossibly nave Stringer stumbles on the truth rather than displaying genuine cleverness." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Martin's debut, loaded with railway lore, pairs a lively, often macabre look at turn-of-the-century London with a bang-up mystery." Kirkus Reviews
Bright and ambitious, young Jim Stringer moves from the English countryside to London determined to become a railway man. It is 1903, the dawn of the Edwardian age, when steam runs the nation and the railways drive progress. Jim can't believe his luck to have gotten his foot in the door at South East Railway, run out of Waterloo Station. He finds, however, that his duties involve a graveyard shift, literally a railway line that takes coffins from London morgues to the gigantic new cemeteries being dug in the city's outskirts. He also learns that his predecessor had disappeared and that his coworkers seem to have formed an instant loathing for him. Forced to live by his wits and to arrive at his own deductions assisted by his landlady, for whom he falls he tries to figure out what is going on before he is issued a one-way ticket on the Necropolis Railway.
Moving to London in 1903 in his endeavor to become a railway man, ambitious young Jim Stringer takes a graveyard shift moving coffins to cemeteries outside of the city and struggles with his predecessor's untimely disappearance and his co-worker's unsettling animosity. Original.
Young, ambitious, and a little green, Jim Stringer moves from the country to the garish, seedy, and dangerous side of 1903 London, determined to become a railway man. A chance meeting has gotten him his foot in the door of the South East Railway, run out of Waterloo Station. Jim finds his duties are confined to a mysterious graveyard line, the so-called Necropolis Railway, which takes dead bodies from central London to the gigantic new cemeteries being built--dug--in the city's outskirts. For some reason, the men he works alongside have formed an instant loathing for him. And his predecessor has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Forced to live by his wits and to arrive at his own deductions, Jim tries to work out what is going on before he too gets a one-way ticket on board the Necropolis Railway.
This novel launches a series featuring Jim Stringer, who, with the help of his landlady--soon his wife and easily his match in wit--tackles some of the darker mysteries that have ridden the rails of England in the Edwardian Age, the period of Kipling, Peter Pan, and H.G. Wells. It will be followed by BLACKPOOL FLYER and THE LOST LUGGAGE PORTER.
About the Author
Andrew Martin was a Spectator (London) Young Writer of the Year and has written for the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and Granta . He has a weekly column in the New Statesman . He lives in London.