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The Somme Stations (Jim Stringer)

The Somme Stations (Jim Stringer) [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Book Description

A stunning historical novel of crime in the trenches

Product Description

On the first day of the Somme enlisted railwayman Jim Stringer lies trapped in a shell hole, smoking cigarette after cigarette under the bullets and the blazing sun. He calculates his chances of survival - even before they departed for France, a member of Jim's unit had been found dead.

During the stand-off that follows, Jim and his comrades must operate by night the vitally important trains carrying munitions to the Front, through a ghostly landscape of shattered trees where high explosive and shrapnel shells rain down. Close co-operation and trust are vital. Yet proof piles up of an enemy within, and as a ferocious military policeman pursues his investigation into the original killing, the finger of accusation begins to point towards Jim himself . . .

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 407 KB
  • Print Length: 301 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0571249604
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction (3 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004MPR85Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,474 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
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stringer goes to war 6 April 2011
The Somme Stations is Andrew Martin's seventh book featuring Jim Stringer. The series usually follows Stringer's investigations as a Detective at the York office of the North Eastern Railway Police. This one though takes place during the First World War. It begins after most of the events in the book have concluded with Jim's wife writing letters to a friend as he recovers from injuries sustained during his time in France and with a murder charge hanging over him. How we got to this point is recounted in first person by Jim himself, beginning with his enlistment and followed by his war service, the tone being very like an extended letter home or a personal memoir. It's colourfully written with language authentic to the time and location, though thankfully it doesn't try to annotate the local accents. I'm a northern lad myself, of the red rose variety rather than the white, but even so books that insist on putting accent onto the page do become tedious fast unless the writer is something of a genius. The writer here keeps it simple. He builds the ensemble characters/suspects competently, choosing to focus on their little quirks and eccentricities to quickly establish the who's who. It's well done and something a bit different. Stringer retains no police rank in this book and gives a suspect's point of view to the investigation which takes a while to get started and then simmers quietly in the background as Stringer's regiment is trained, goes to France, including that fateful day, July 1st on the Somme, and later establishing a network of light railways, ferrying ammunition to artillery emplacements. Even without the mystery element to the story, the fictional war memoir is very well researched, amusing, poignant and authentic sounding. Add to that the author's obvious love for all things relating to steam locomotion and you have an unusual addition to the crime fiction genre.
This review was from an Advance Reading Copy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric detective novel 9 July 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I think this is the seventh in the Jim Stringer - Railway Detective series. I think I read and quite enjoyed the first one, but the next five seem to have passed me by. But this one is set in the First World War and the context appealed to me to I dived in.

Stringer is swept up in the nationalistic stampede to take the King's shilling and win the war by Christmas. Joining a division of North Yorkshire Railway men Jim finds himself training alongside ex porters, drivers, and railway police. Generally they are regarded as pioneers, which seems to mean diggers and while on training in the UK, a young soldier is discovered dead. Nobody is sure if it is an accident or murder and this hangs over the men as they finally ship to France, and the Somme. Eventually they find themselves operating trains bringing munitions to the forward lines and amongst the death and mayhem, it appears that the death back in the UK is still festering with some of the men and some of them are hiding secrets.

This was good, historically sound and interesting with a real sense of atmosphere both in Britain and then in war torn France. Characterisation is excellent and the pace is perfect for you to grow with the characters and you do care when some of them don't make it and you take them at face value as Jim has to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Somme Stations 18 Jan 2012
I really enjoyed this story as it also taught me some things about the First World War which I didn't know about.
It was a great mix of war and mystery and of course about railways which I have come to know about from this author!
I always look forward to the books from Andrew Martin as he describes everything in such detail.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Somme Stations. 12 April 2011
An interesting mix of First World War action, Detective investigation and Narrow Gauge Railways. Once again Andrew Martin has brought to life the World of Jim Stringer [Steam Detective] You can almost smell the Steam and the cordite. His loving wife Lydia always ready to help in any investigation and his railway colleagues from the North Eastern Railway. Can't wait for no;8.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good tale of the WW1 narrow gauge railways 20 July 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Well written, with considerable knowledge of the railways as you would expect from Andrew Martin. Recreated the period and the atmosphere of WW1, again as he does so well.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing story not just for steam or WW1 buffs 10 Mar 2011
By davidT
There are so many detective series around nowadays that an author has to search quite hard to find his or her own niche, but Andrew Martin seems to have ably colonised the world of early-20th century railways for the genre.
He clearly knows a good deal about the subject, but he wears his knowledge lightly and his novels never descend into turgid train-spotting. I think this is largely because his fascination is not so much with the hardware of the railways as the complex social structures that they were, especially the teeming life of a big city station. An example: would you have imagined that there was such a post as 'Deputy Superintendent of the Ticket Office?' Before reading this book, I wouldn't, but Andrew Martin would, and could probably tell you where in the pecking order he came in relation to a head porter or the guard on a mainline express.
The fact that the background is so interesting means that he doesn't have to try too hard to make his detective complex, so for once we're treated to a non-alcoholic crime-fighter with a happy home life - quite a rarity! Jim Stringer's main quality is - not naivety exactly, more an open-minded interest, which is useful for the reader, because the everyday world he lives in might as well be a different universe for us, so we need a pair of open eyes.
This book is rather different from the previous ones (or at least, the three I've read) in that real-life events impinge much more - which is unavoidable really, since the events take place in 1915-16.
So Jim Stringer joins up, and after a bit of digging work on an atmospherically evoked Spurn Head is sent off to the Western Front.
The bar for writing about WW1 has been raised so high by the likes of Sebastian Faulks and Pat Barker that an author has to be careful how he treads.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
just the best
Published 1 month ago by Sandra Wale
3.0 out of 5 stars Somme story
I thought it would be about railways - it wasn't - disappointing!
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. J. L. Newbold
2.0 out of 5 stars steam train enthusiasts will enjoy the historical detail
Mildly diverting mystery; steam train enthusiasts will enjoy the historical detail. Not me though.
Published 2 months ago by BobMay
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong story.
Jim Stronger enlists with the railway battalion, alongside an assortment of men, from all departments of York station. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. C. Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best yet
As with Jim Stringer's civvy-street adventures, the local colour and atmosphere, and the splendid characterisation, rather than a convoluted plot, are what mark Andrew Martin out... Read more
Published 3 months ago by 'Fountain Pen'
5.0 out of 5 stars The Somme Stations
Good account of World War 1
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. D. K. Bellamy
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get onboard!
This was the first Jim Stringer book I read and it will be the last, it just wasn't for me. The story had so much potential, involving the murder of a volunteer amongst the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Damo Green
3.0 out of 5 stars the story kept my attention
I was pleased to have read this book I was not sure at the beginning but kept going and it held my attention
Published 7 months ago by Alex Blevins
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Thriller
My first Andrew Martin book. It won't be my last. Well thought out and conveyed the horror of WWI showing the pressures on ordinary men thrown into the conflict by dint of their... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andrew Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
An absolutely wonderful book not only is it a very good detective story but is a piece of facinating social history. Read more
Published 10 months ago by M. Garey
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