Death on the Scotland Express (A Cressida Fawcett Mystery)

Written by Fliss Chester
Review by Fiona Alison

This fourth venture into the 1920s cosy crime world of the Hon. Cressida Fawcett immediately follows the third, starting aboard the train from Inverness to Euston after a murder at a Scottish castle. Cressida is still suffering headaches from a bonk on the head in a dark tunnel, whilst aiding that earlier investigation. Gathered here are Chester’s ‘usual suspects’: Cressida, of course; her decidedly less dotty aristocratic friend Dotty and brother Alfred Chatterton; her sleuth-in-the-making pug Ruby; DCI Andrews; and Sergeant Kirby. The only thing missing is Cressida’s fabulous Bugatti! Shots ring out; a wealthy industrialist is dead, and his wife arrested and confined to her compartment. But then the wife and DCI Andrews are shot and injured, so Cressida has carte blanche to investigate. The fact that she would do that anyway is part of her charm. If the wife isn’t guilty of the crime, perhaps there’s more than one perpetrator. Time is of the essence. The one stop in Edinburgh requires all hands on deck to stop a murderer from exiting the train, and the crime must be solved before the arrival in London.

Fliss Chester has created such a delightful group of characters in her series. As a group, they rub along well together, each contributing their two cents’ worth in what are usually quite complex mysteries. People aren’t ever who they seem to be. A lot of bumping about happens in dark corridors, as the lights go out each time the train enters a tunnel. Cressida isn’t fond of dark tunnels! Having ridden the Flying Scotsman (which this isn’t) many times from London to Newcastle, I found it easy to imagine the atmosphere in this narrow-corridor, locked-train cosy, written with Chester’s wit and panache. Cosy fans who haven’t discovered Cressida should do so immediately.