Tragedy on the Branch Line (Railway Detective 19)

Written by Edward Marston
Review by Alan Cassady-Bishop

Inspector Colbeck and his assistant Sergeant Leeming are called into a case for two reasons: the crime was committed on the railway, and it involves Cambridge University. Not only was the murder victim the cox of the Cambridge boat, but he was tipped to be the ‘dark horse’ winner for the team of 1863. The young student was killed in public on the platform, and Colbeck was a Varsity man. The victim, Pomeroy, was considered to be an all-round winner. Privately, he enjoyed goading and hurting others with his fine intellect. So, we have a popular young man… with many enemies! What follows is a methodical investigation and the atmospheric intrigue between universities, students, clubs, tutors, and personalities. Even the Prime Minister takes an interest!

The reader is entertained by the forces within and without the hallowed halls but, ultimately, the victim was a young man with family and a killer must be sought. Evocative of the time and location, this is a good addition to a series.