Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn more Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars54
3.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£7.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 3 July 2010
I have read all the reviews by readers of this series and don't understand the mixed response. Technically these books are excellent evoking a sense of the past particularly with regard to place. Characters are interesting and Jim Stringer's adventures hook me in every time. I like his character; I like the style of narration very much and recognise authentic use of colloquial working class speech in a man who is intelligent though not well educated in the early 1900s.
Of all the books and I've enjoyed every one, I think I most admire the techniques employed in Death on a Branch Line. The village is deserted except for a few quirky characters doing nothing; the illusion of heat and stillness is convincingly oppressive yet the story is a page-turner; plot is pitched against the clock as a man is about to be hanged unjustly. Events take place over a sleepy Bsnk Holiday weekend. This is brilliant control of narrative. I look forward to the next book and the one after that...

Dorothy Nelson
0Comment|19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 August 2011
Just read "The Last Train to Scarborough" on holiday - and thoroughly enjoyed it - five stars as usual for a Jim Stringer detective novel.
I do see there's a wide disparity of reviews for this book - it seems it's a "Marmite" novel - people either love it or hate it (and I think that would apply to the other books in the series).The thing is I can see why - Andrew Martin's style is highly idiosyncratic and personal. Much of what the characters say seems irrelevant and almost deliberately confusing. There is heavy reliance throughout on regular italics for emphasis - except why particular words are emphasised in this way is often as big a mystery as the plot itself.
The general "feel" of the narrative is almost dream like - almost nightmarish at times. It's as if the whole proceedings are enveloped in a dense Edwardian fog so you have to concentrate hard as what is going on and why. Andrew Martin's main asset is his uncanny ability to summon up a long gone era - how does he do it? It's as if you have gone back in a time machine and you are actually there. I read Sebastian Faulks' "Birdsong" some years ago and he has the same ability to transport the reader back in time - it's almost hypnotic and it's very effective. Up to a point plot in Jim Stringer novels is secondary to atmosphere so just enjoy it as you go along - although here the plot is (eventually) understandable which isn't always the case with other novels in the series.
So - if you fancy an atmospheric unusual well written detective story - just read this. You'll love it or hate it......
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 October 2010
This is one of those stories where you really have to get your brain cells into gear to get going with the plot. At first you wonder what on earth is happening; has the publisher missed out a few pages? But then, quite suddenly, it all clicks into shape and starts to move at a decent pace and you realise why the author has adopted this rather fragmented approach. The "hero" is a very likeable guy, down-to-earth and suitably 'grubby'. He is a working bloke and the narrative in first person very much portrays an Edwardian who wants to better himself but who has had no 'silver spoon' in his mouth to advance his career. There is a grittiness about the story and the basic street-language at times is fundamental to understanding the man, his life and his background. (However, in comparison to a great deal of modern fiction the language is unbelievably tame and restrained and really quite gentlemanly in a strange way.)
The plot is soft and plodding at times, but so is life. That it reaches a very satisfactory conclusion as a story is a credit to the author who has deservedly carved himself a substantial niche in this genre. A well structured novel which breaks away from the ordinary. Well worth a read.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 May 2014
Running two elements of the same plot simultaneously must be hard to do, but Andrew Martin pulls it off. It grates at first whenever the shift from one to the other is made, but it begins to make sense, and as a dramatic literary device it serves its purpose, and not just by building up tension.
With his Dickensian talent for period and local description, Mr. Martin gives an evocative picture of the Yorkshire seaside town; with his equally effective gift for characterisation, he reveals a weaker side to D.S. Stringer's personality, and a little friction in his relationship with his occasionally pushy wife; I suspect that most male readers secretly fancy Ms. Lydia, and Martin's portrayal of her makes it easy to see why.
As in 'Death on a Branch Line', comedy springs up unexpectedly, does its job, and then retreats before becoming a distraction. These comedic snatches are understated and very well handled.
An unusual tale with a satisfying resolution, it lives up to the standard I have come to expect from this author. Compelling, absorbing and enjoyable, and well worth the small effort of having to shift regularly between the two time-frames.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 May 2012
I first came across Andrew Martin when he did a TV documentary on the history of the railways in British literature and he mentioned he hoped his novels kept alive in a small way that tradition. Out of interest I read the first Jim Stringer novel and I've now read six of the current seven available!!

They are a good light read with lots of historical references to the railways as they were during the Edwardian period in which they are set.

Very enjoyable and a lot of fun.
11 comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 August 2010
One reviewer criticised the double plot writing, but I thought this was a stroke of genius. Just when you thought you wanted to put the book down, you really needed to keep up with the next thought. Other books in this series are not as easy to read as this one, I was transformed to the actual places mentioned (especially as being a 'Yorkie')and could feel the period it was set in - right down to the gas lamps. Well written Andrew, can't wait for the next one.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 November 2009
This is the first 'Jim Stringer' book that I've read and what a delight it was.

Attracted by the wonderful front cover illustration and desperate to read a crime novel that was different, I picked it up by chance. From the first page I was hooked. The quirky, blunt dialogue that occurs between the characters had me grinning all the way to the last page. Contrary to some reviewers stating their dislike for the 'jumpy' chapters, I had no qualms about the style. I thought it was well executed and added to the intrigue of the storyline.

Despite not starting at the beginning of the series, I look forward to indulging in the rest of Mr Martin's 'Jim Stringer' novels with relish.
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 October 2010
Another excellent contribution to this series of historical novels. This one is set in 1914, and succeeds (as usual) in vividly re-creating the era. Well written, and good at holding the reader's attention.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 October 2014
This book is a bit difficult to follow as the story takes place in two time zones, as Jim is recounting events from two days before and now. This has affected Ted my review, the story though is true Jim Stringer.

Overall I recommend reading the first, fourth, fifth and from the seventh book onwards. The best number five. Amazon has the actual titles if you search for Jim stringer.

Now awaiting a new tenth book.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 December 2013
I have now read all the Jim Stringer series and every one' a corker, this one is no different. Nice period touches, my only criticism is that Ibwould have likes a bit more railway content actually aboard the iron horses!
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse