In such books as The Necropolis Railway and The Blackpool Highflyer, Andrew Martin forged something highly original in the historical crime field (no easy task): the author’s adroit evocation of the great age of the steam locomotive was the perfect backdrop for crime narratives of genuine panache, and this long-distant (but fondly remembered) world is conjured with a consummate skill. The new book, The Last Train to Scarborough, is proof that Martin’s skills are as sharply honed as ever, and (thankfully) he has not been distracted by his burgeoning second career as an authority on household management (!) – a second career that the drily sardonic author seems bemused by.
The Last Train to Scarborough, Andrew Martin’s new excursion into the Edwardian past, has his resourceful ex-railway-worker-turned-detective Jim Stringer tackling an assignment he is not comfortable with: he is to take lodgings in a dismal off-season Scarborough. Jim is to stay at a house called (ironically) 'Paradise’, from which the last railwayman to stay there has mysteriously vanished. What is it that Jim Stringer’s chief inspector isn’t telling him about the case? And two other questions soon become very pressing: will the beguiling Amanda Rickerby put a spoke in Jim Stringer’s marriage? And will Stringer himself ever be riding the railway back to his York haunts again?
As before, this is delicious stuff, showing not an iota of tiredness with the railway detective scenario. The author’s obvious love for his atmospheric milieu, his period – and his characters – pays dividends once again. --Barry Forshaw
A new adventure for Andrew Martin's celebrated 'Steam Detective' Jim Stringer.