Railway to the Grave

Written by Edward Marston
Review by Chiara Prezzavento

When a retired Army officer throws himself under a train leaving a note for his old friend, Superintendent Tallis of Scotland Yard, Inspector Colbeck, the celebrated Railways Detective, finds himself despatched to rural Yorkshire to unravel the tangle of what soon proves to be something more than an ordinary suicide. The dead colonel’s missing wife, a spate of particularly hateful anonymous letters, and the feuds and gossip of a less than idyllic village will keep Colbeck fully occupied while he strives to solve a murder, clear a deceased’s name – and broach the news of his engagement to his misogynous chief. This is the seventh offering in the Railways Detective series: without concerning himself overly with characterization or subtlety, Marston provides a nice whodunit in the classic tradition, with plenty of likely suspects, red herrings, trains, and guessing work. Still, I would have enjoyed the ride much more without the frequent stops for not terribly relevant conversation, in which characters feed each other bits of Railways lore, discuss the merits of Cranford, and rhapsodize (repeatedly) on the joys of holy matrimony.