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The Blackpool Highflyer (Jim Stringer) Paperback – 1 Sep 2005


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The Blackpool Highflyer (Jim Stringer) + The Lost Luggage Porter (Jim Stringer) + The Necropolis Railway - A Novel of Murder, Mystery and Steam (Jim Stringer)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Reprint edition (1 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571219020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571219025
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Martin grew up in Yorkshire. After qualifying as a barrister, he won The Spectator Young Writer of the Year Award, 1988. Since, he has written for The Guardian, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Independent and Granta, among many other publications. His columns have appeared in the Independent on Sunday and the New Statesman. His Jim Stringer novels - railway thrillers - have been published by Faber and Faber since 2002.

Product Description

Review

"'Genuinely gripping... A brilliant evocation of Edwardian working-class life - the sort of thing D.H. Lawrence might have written had he been less verbose or been blessed with a sense of humour.' Peter Parker, Evening Standard 'Evokes Edwardian Yorkshire and Lancashire, their great industrial prosperity and singular ways of living, quite brilliantly in a historical whodunnit which for its fresh and stealthy approach to past times deserves the adjective Bainbridgean.' Ian Jack, Guardian (Books of the Year) 'A steamy whodunnit... This may well be the best fiction about the railways since Dickens.' Michael Williams, Independent on Sunday 'Unique and important... There is no one else who is writing like Andrew Martin today.' Ian Marchant, Guardian"

Book Description

The Blackpool Highflyer by Andrew Martin is the second Jim Stringer adventure, a superbly atmospheric thriller of sabotage, suspicion and steam.

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The vacuum was created, and we were ready for the road. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Alastair Brown on 7 May 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the third Jim Stringer book I've read - and they've all been pretty good. As other reviewers have said Andrew Martin's principle achievment is his stunningly good and convincing recreation of an era. It's like going back in a time capsule and clambering out in 1905 industrial Halifax. OK - I wasn't around then but you really feel you've gone through the looking class to another long passed era. And by the way Andrew Martin is streets ahead of Edward Marston who writes enjoyable Edwardian railway pot boilers - Andrew Martin writes on a much higher level altogether. There is however a "but" to all this and it is rather a large "but" - the plot. Quite frankly the plot is curious and unconvincing and seems a flimsy thing to hang a whole novel on.The final denoument left me disbelieving and unsatisfied and indeed I wasn't at all clear what had actually happened.However the journey through the book was enjoyable and Andrew Martin's style is distinctive and clever.I've read his later book "Murder at Deviation Junction" where the writing and atmosphere is even better and (more to the point)the plot is intriging and ultimately convincing - it seems a classic case of practice making perfect!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By pitmillie on 19 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm amazed that no-one else has given this 5 stars yet. For me, it is that rare thing, a book in which every single page was a pleasure to read.

Jim Stringer is a wonderful, likeable character - not a "dull old plod" as someone said. He's young, not old, for a start, and an intelligent, working-class railwayman with a vividly described life of his own. Through his eyes, we see his relationships: with his wife - a great, sassy character - with the engine driver, Clive, he of the natty suits and well-polished boots - with his plump and slightly mysterious lodger - with the sinister long-haired anarchist Paul etc.

We get a picture of Halifax in 1905, of holiday Blackpool, of the music hall, of the great weaving mills, of the local pubs, and of course, of the steam railway. I found it all fascinating and beautifully written. The images he uses are unusual and compelling. For instance, he describes the sound of a barrel-organ as like someone kicking bottles along a street and somehow managing to make a tune. That just does it for me - I can hear that barrel-organ play!

I found the description of the first trip on the Highflyer steam-engine utterly thrilling and compelling - the way he details the landmarks flashing by, the heat and sweat of stoking the firebox, even the way that particular engine rolls so that it is like dancing on the footplate to keep their balance - I felt I was there with Jim and the driver.

I'm not a railway buff or a steam fanatic but I enjoyed the railway element very much. OK, I might not have exactly understood every single reference to things like vacuum brakes or the spectacle glass - but the gist of the action is always quite clear.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By ridiculusmus on 21 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is sprinkled with little nuggets about life in the 1900s, such as when a character leaps onto a tram to post a letter, as there were letterboxes on the trams for passengers' use. The story, which chiefly concerns the attempts by a dogged if rather unimaginative railway man to identify the wreckers who have derailed the eponymous Highflyer, feels at times like it is never going to get going, and the resolution is kind of unsatisfying, I felt, but the principal pleasure of this book lies in its recreation of the era.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andy on 31 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this and "Lost Luggage Porter" on a whim and really quite enjoyed it. The plot isn't the stongest and can wane a little, but the images of early 20th Century northern England are very good - for this reason alone, I liked the book a lot. Sometimes I thought the characters could do with a little fleshing out, but then originally being from nothern England myself, I can only say a lot of northern men do keep themselves to themselves, so maybe that's the intention here - dont expect a hearty outpouring of emotion, but a relatively gritty (in a pre "9pm watershed" way) and slip into a lost era where the steam train (and dark satanic mills) prevail and you won't go far wrong.

I suspect someone will almost certainly make a TV series out of this sooner or later, so read it before it could be changed forever!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By msCX on 9 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
I agree with the previous reviewer. The attractions of the book are in the lives it creates and the period atmosphere it convincingly, effortlessly but without unnecessary or distracting detail re-creates. I was suspecting (and partly hoping for) more of a suspense to the tale than it the novel finally delivers but even when it became clear that this was not the form in which was being written, my interest and liking for the book remained and in fact grew. It is well written too.
I will now read Andrew Martin's Necropolis novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Mohammed on 22 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Andrew Martin has once again produced a tale brimming with atmosphere and has brought the mundane to life with, what appears to be, consummate ease.

The Blackpool Highflyer was not my favourite of the series so far though I'm not entirely sure why...
Maybe my enjoyment was lessened because I was trying too hard to second guess the ending? Perhaps It was because I was a little lost trying to pull all the suspects together in my head? For example, I couldn't quite figure out what Paul 'the socialist' had to do with the plot. Perhaps that's due to my ignorance or maybe I skimmed over an important point whilst reading?

I nevertheless enjoyed immersing myself in the book whenever I had a quiet moment and would still recommend the series without hesitation.

Andrew Martin has an the ability to portray his somewhat ordinary characters with loveable quirks through a dialogue that reads beautifully from within.
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