The Lost Luggage Porter

Written by Andrew Martin
Review by Marilyn Sherlock


Jim Stringer is a newly commissioned Railway Detective working out of York Station for the North Eastern Railway Company in 1906. Having mislaid a number of railway magazines, he encounters Lund, the Lost Luggage Porter, a meeting which is to have more serious repercussions later.

Two brothers whom Stringer met briefly are found murdered in the goods yard, and he also witnesses pickpockets in action but is unable to catch them. Lund tells him where they might be found, and Stringer sets out after them to bring them in. The action starts to pick up.

Andrew Martin would appear to have done a great deal of research on the way in which the railways operated at the beginning of the 20th century, and it shows. Much detail is given on the names of the engines, descriptions of the layout of the stations, etc., which for me interrupted the flow of the story. I also thought that the characters were rather wooden, stereotypes and unconvincing. The dialogue grated, often appearing to be more reminiscent of American gangsters than early 20th century York. At any moment I expected to be told that they were chewing gum.

This is the third book in the Jim Stringer series and may well appeal to railway enthusiasts, but it is not for me.