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The Necropolis Railway: A Historical Novel

The Necropolis Railway: A Historical Novel [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Martin
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A period thriller with a difference from talented Andrew 'Bilton' Martin ... Fine period recreation, chilling tale.' -- Time Out, Summer Reading Choice

'An impressive achievement ... An unsentimental yet touching chiaroscuro evocation of London in the age of steam.' -- David Kynaston, author of The City of London

'Guaranteed to make the flesh creep and the skin crawl, a masterful novel about a mad, clanking, fog-bound world.' -- Simon Winchester

(A) brilliant murder mystery set in Edwardian London about a railway line that runs only to a massive cemetery. -- The Mirror, August 2002

(An) ingenious and atmospheric thriller … An eccentric delight. -- The Express, 17 August 2002

A classy potboiler whose plot continually shifts in the best formal traditions of Dickens and Collins (let alone Christie and Chandler). -- The Times, 10 August 2002

In this compact, pacy story, he seems to have got it all right. -- Guardian, 10 August 2002

Product Description

'A brilliant murder mystery set in Edwardian London about a railway line that runs only to a massive cemetery.' Daily Mirror

When railwayman Jim Stringer moves to the garish and tawdry London of 1903, he finds his duties are confined to a mysterious graveyard line. The men he works alongside have formed an instant loathing for him - and his predecessor has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Can Jim work out what is going on before he too is travelling on a one-way coffin ticket aboard the Necropolis Railway?

'Guaranteed to make the flesh creep and the skin crawl, a masterful novel about a mad, clanking, fog-bound world.' Simon Winchester

'A murderous conspiracy of a plot graced with style, wit and the sharp, true taste of a time gone by ... So beautifully nuanced and so effortlessly pleasurable to read that you almost want to keep it a personal secret.' Independent on Sunday

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 357 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Crime (2 April 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571209610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571209613
  • ASIN: B002RI9YDW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,846 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Negative reviews are on the wrong track !! 6 May 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book that I found impossible to put down. Set amongst the smokey engine sheds around Nine Elms, Waterloo and the eponymous necropolis railway at Brookwood at the turn of the last century, this story centres around the experiences of Jim Stringer who embarks upon his chosen career on the railways only to find that his predecessors have met a premature and sticky end. This fact is not made any more pleasant by the fact that his colleagues seem intent upon making him the next victim.
Cleverly, the author has chosen to write this atmospheric novel in the style of the "penny dreadful" novels of the time - pulp fiction that was snapped up by the public who, having had their appetite for gore increased by the sensationalist reporting of such cases as Jack the Ripper, sought out these thrillers for their amusement. Indeed, it was by selling such books at it's shops in the railway stations that W.H.Smith became established. These books were the 19th century equivalent to today's "airport literature."
If you can pick up your clues and have some knowledge of the social history of the time, you may solve the mystery before the end. However, just when you think the book has reached it's climax, events take a spectacular turn that prepare the reader for the sequel.
This book is great entertainment. Read it before it is inevitably made into a film.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 * review 5 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm sort of on the fence on this one. I loved the idea of the story and the setting. I'm doing my family history and a bunch of my ancestors lived just around the corner from the Necropolis Station in the 1890s/1900s so I was after a little about the atmosphere of the area and the time. That side of it was fine. I felt that the area and the characters were well drawn.

I also felt that there were some magical moments in this story - some great descriptive images. The author does have a lovely turn of phrase ... I'm only sorry that I didn't mark the relevant passages.

However, as a non-railway type of person, I found the railway talk a little wearying at times. There were all sorts of things I did not really understand and although I can understand the author not wanting to have to explain things in minute detail for numpties like me (as his fan base is probably made up of a large number of railway buffs) it was, at times, hard work.

But for the descriptions and the lovely flashes of imagery I am happy to go for 3.5 stars!
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Slow Burner 21 Jan 2004
By A Customer
I bought this book on impulse - it looked unusual and promised a read drenched in atmosphere. Initially I was a little disappointed, but I kept reading and finished it in a couple of days. It was only over the next week or so that I realised how deep impression that many of the characters, images and incidents in the book had made on me. I re-read it with relish!
This is not a work of literary genius - it wouldn't pretend to be. Rather, it is, as the blurb promises, 'a superior potboiler', and in that category I would unhesitatingly give it 5 stars. Well drawn characters, a fantastically brooding atmosphere, a great read!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Necropolis Railway 11 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jim Stringer is desperate to be a 'railway man'. He reads railway magazines, spurns his fathers butcher shop for the glamorous life on the railways and wants, more than anything, to be driving the engines he worships. When he is working as a porter, a mysterious man offers him work in London which could lead to his goal of becoming an engine driver, and he heads off full of excitement. However, turn of the century London turns out to be dark, dangerous and threatening. It is obvious from the start that Jim is resented and disliked. The railway, linked to the mysterious Necropolis Railway, has had some recent mysterious deaths - and Jim soon witnesses another attack. He fears he will also find himself dead and is given the cold shoulder at every turn, making him miserable and lonely, but unwilling to admit defeat of all his dreams. The only positive point seems to be his pretty landlady, but when she informs him he is 'boring' you almost want to cheer her - as it has to be said that the beginning of this book is pretty slow and Jim doesn't seem to be heroic stuff. However, the novel does improve in the second half and the storyline becomes more exciting. I would say that this first book in the series sets the scene and the characters, but it is obviously intended to encourage further reading and I would certainly be interested to see where the author is leading in the second book. This is a very atmospheric read and, although I dislike television/film adaptations of books almost always, I did feel that this could be very good on screen. I found that Jim Stringer was, in the end, a very likeable and brave man and will certainly be downloading the next in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday read 18 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not a bad story, plot was okay and characters reasonably well developed. Written in the style and language of the era it's set in so seemed a little stilted at times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but let down by poor ending 20 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book (and the next one in the series The Blackpool Flyer ) but the endings don't do the rest of the book justice. The story and characters are engaging and it is not a period or subject I have read fiction about before. The writing style is first person and works well, with the historic terminology ringing true so far as I know and not seeming forced. The character is disarmingly frank and perhaps by modern standards charmingly naive but again it rings true and doesn't come across as an affectation. I found it refreshingly different from a lot of other fiction I have read. I felt drawn to the character and enjoyed being in his "world".

The only problem is the endings. The ending to this book is frankly poor and unsatisfying. Some other reviewers have assumed (as I did) that it is setting up a continuation in the next book but it isn't. The next book barely mentions the previous story and the events are unrelated. The ending relies on some very far fetched coincidences and seems very much like some of my old homework essays where I suddenly realised I had hit the word requirement and baled out of the story as fast as possible.

The next book is similar but the ending is not quite as bad, although still pretty sudden. Its a shame but the books are an enjoyable read nonetheless and I will be reading the third book just to enjoy the journey, if not expecting too much from the destination.

PS - Another real shame was the very occasional use of strong foul language (literally once or twice per book). It didn't add to the story but prevented me from recommending the book to my teenage daughter who is an avid reader.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars ... at capturing the times and the novel races along nicely. The...
Martin is a master at capturing the times and the novel races along nicely. The ending was a bit of an anti-climax, hence four stars.
Published 1 month ago by S. J. Barnett
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you want to read more from Andrew Martin.
Very well written in the language of the day (1903). Very good on railway history and the ways of working in those times. Excellent storyline with a few good twists at the end.
Published 3 months ago by Aestus
5.0 out of 5 stars Currently my favorite author
I started with the Jim Stringer series at book 3 and worked forward finishing with the 2nd and 1st books (I borrow fiction from my local library and the Necropolis Railway was the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Enjofan
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and intriguing
I bought this book as I have some contacts with Brookwood Cemetary and I am fascinated by it's history. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Diana at The Saker
4.0 out of 5 stars History Brought to Life
The historical surroundings of the novel, set in London at the turn of the 20th century are brought vividly to life in this novel. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr. B. W. Lythgoe
4.0 out of 5 stars For the enthusiast
Extremely well written with lots of detail and nostalgia. Probably more angled towards the railway enthusiast. I feel the average reader would be lost in the railway terminology. Read more
Published 6 months ago by George61
4.0 out of 5 stars Dead end
I didn't really expect to ever want to read a book that included copious amounts of information about trains and their history. It was my Faber and Faber obsession that tempted me. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tweedledum
3.0 out of 5 stars Having some difficulty
In getting into the plot. I like to be gripped in the first few pages. but this hasn't "done" it for me. I have not given up. And have re-started the read. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Norm
2.0 out of 5 stars Not brilliant
I'm a lover of all things railway, and to be honest I couldn't get going in this book. I left it unfinished half way through because it was so depressing. Read more
Published 7 months ago by EJS
3.0 out of 5 stars if you like railways AND detectives then this is a good read
Interesting look at the practices of a railway and the effect on the workers during the steam age
Lots of detail . If you are not interested in railways do not get this book
Published 8 months ago by Christopher and Elaiine Green
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