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R. W. Barnes "spikesue" (Bucks UK)
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The Mountsorrel Mystery : And Other Stories (The Inspector Vignoles Mysteries)
The Mountsorrel Mystery : And Other Stories (The Inspector Vignoles Mysteries)
by Stephen Done
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vignoles vignettes, 23 Feb. 2017
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A collection of six short stories adds flesh to the main characters that fill the other seven novels in this evocative series. The first is a novella of about 100 pages that moves along at a suitably intriguing pace but I felt the solution probably presents itself to readers more quickly than that revealed to our dynamic duo of Vignoles and Trinder.
The remaining stories cover periods from the 1930s to the 1950s and so give readers interesting insights into the social mores of those times as well as the various crimes committed along the Great Central. One involves the use of flick knives in the Teddy Boy era and another allows us a glimpse of the early working life of the future Mrs Vignoles.
All in all there's something to suit every reader in this delightful book. Steam enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy including a trip on the Master Cutler one cold December night in 1953.
Mr Done prides himself on his attention to period detail but I doubt the LDV (page 125) would be around on the 3rd of September 1939 - I thought they were formed in May 1940?


An Artist Among the Ashes, 1968
An Artist Among the Ashes, 1968
by D Shepherd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.95

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grime and little Glory, 20 Aug. 2014
A very good follow up to his earlier volume. This spreads the net wider as the artist seeks to record using camera and brush the final few haunts of British steam. He has an eye ( as one would expect of an artist) for the finer details be they an accoutrement, a peculiar trick of light or just the extreme dirt in which these engines resided. The photos are very evocative and the book is one all who witnessed this era should read.
Some strange grammar usage (locos 'rusticating' rather than rusting) prevents a five star grading from this reviewer.


New Brighton Rock (Inspector Vignoles Mystery )  (The Inspector Vignoles Mysteries)
New Brighton Rock (Inspector Vignoles Mystery ) (The Inspector Vignoles Mysteries)
by Stephen Done
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yet another Busman's Holiday for our pipe-smoking Inspector Vignoles, 11 Feb. 2014
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Finally, a proper seaside holiday for our post-war Inspector and his lovely Italian wife, Anna. Where do they go? To New Brighton on the Wirral, which just happens to be the home base of our author so he's on very safe ground with his descriptions of the local area and its railways, including the Docker's Umbrella.
This story is set in 1951 and Britain is still ravaged by austerity as a result of the war. Perhaps it's too much of a coincidence that the boarding house Charles and Anna stop at was where one of the murder victims was stopping too, but the author does a good and entertaining job of tying up all the threads in another satisfying conclusion.
The sub story of pilfering dockers is amusing and, yet again, the Nazis get a look in!
A minor point - should authors review their own books on Amazon or leave it to us enthusiastic amateurs?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 10, 2014 2:01 PM GMT


Verney Junction to Baker Street: In Celebration of 150 Years of the Worlds First Underground Railway
Verney Junction to Baker Street: In Celebration of 150 Years of the Worlds First Underground Railway
by Bill Simpson
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Curate's egg, 27 Oct. 2013
An interesting 120 page trip from the Met's extremities to its very heart, with lots of interesting pictures to back up the text; many of these are old and blurry or obvious snapshots but interesting all the same. There is a chapter on the Met's engines, both steam and electric, plus details of its coaching stock - a trip from Aylesbury to Baker Street in a Pullman carriage sounds fabulous!
The text is spoilt by errors (page 16 describes 35030's jaunt on the last day of the Great Central as being on 7.9.66 when it was 3.9.66; there's an Ar Raid Warden on p85 - surely any spell checker should have spotted that?) and strange english usage - Amersham is described as an 'electronic terminus' on p35 as a result of the 1961 modernisation of the route. These howlers will grate with the obvious audience for this book but should not detract too much from what is a reasonably priced cash-in on Underground 150.


Oxford, Bletchley & Bedford Line Through Time
Oxford, Bletchley & Bedford Line Through Time
by Stanley C. Jenkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OB&B will need revising considerably in a few years time, 9 Oct. 2013
Within its 96 pages are a short history of the line fom Oxford to Bedford, and numerous old and new comparison photos of locations/stations from O to B plus the branch to Banbury.The old are sepia tinted and the new (many taken in 2013) are in full colour. With plans to upgrade, reopen and electrify the entire route these new comparisons will soon be part of this interesting and useful line's colourful history.
Only annoying slip is the spelling of Wolvercote without an e on the end - it does not appear deliberate because the e is used once on p16!


Easy Prey: A Nathan Hawk Murder Mystery (The Nathan Hawk Murder Mysteries)
Easy Prey: A Nathan Hawk Murder Mystery (The Nathan Hawk Murder Mysteries)
by Douglas Watkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Like DCI Barnaby (Ret'd) - only grumpier, 18 July 2013
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This second Nathan Hawk novel expands on his world, his scattered family of four adult children, and his relationship with the lovely Dr Laura.
He becomes involved in the mysterious disappearance of a young woman whose distraught father asks (and pays) Hawk to find her. We are introduced to lots of potential suspects and Hawk has many occasions on which he refers to his imaginary map to control his temper (which is why he's an ex-copper), plus he now uses poetry as a means of diffusing the red mist.
Only half way in does the tale become one of a murder and a mistaken identity that means another murder is likely.
This in turn leads Hawk to a trip to the western isles of Scotland to solve the mystery and catch the culprit.
As a resident of the area in which Hawk lives I enjoyed this second tale and look forward to a third. The only thing that stops me giving it 5 stars is that the author is obviously not a railway enthusiast - he describes a trip to his grandparents' house in Preston on page 196 that after a delay at Crewe (on the west coast route) somehow also stops at Doncaster (on the East coast route) on the way to Preston - quite a diversion!


Steam Colour Portfolio: B.R. Standard Locomotives
Steam Colour Portfolio: B.R. Standard Locomotives
by Keith R. Pirt
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BR standards as we like to remember them, 18 April 2013
£23.99 is a lot to pay for 96 pages but the photos are in well reproduced full colour, and each photo is given a full page and has informative captioning. The Britannias get the lion's share - 28 - and the 9Fs are shown in 18. This ratio would be better had it been reversed in this reviewer's opinion and so merits the loss of a star.
Overall, a book that all lovers of the standards should enjoy.


A Pictorial Record of British Railways Standard Steam Locomotives, volume two, including War Department Heavy Goods Engines
A Pictorial Record of British Railways Standard Steam Locomotives, volume two, including War Department Heavy Goods Engines
by Edward Talbot
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One for the purist/completist, 18 April 2013
At £20 for 235 black and white photos, I was hoping for something better than this book.
Every standard class is covered but the captions are mostly brief and not very informative, and the photos themselves are either very familiar or poorly reproduced.
That said, there are very good sections on the WD engines and the Franco-Crosti 9Fs.
Best only purchased by those who like a complete record of books on the standards.


That Bloody Book
That Bloody Book
by Tony Flower
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just an ordinary Joe?, 6 Jan. 2013
This review is from: That Bloody Book (Paperback)
First off, I must declare an interest: I was a colleague of the author for many years and so was interested to read his debut novel. Obviously, names have been changed but the setting is still very much Aylesbury; a town I was born, lived and worked in for many decades.
The story line at first appears to be the angst ridden life of this ordinary Joe, with its many trials, tribulations and rites of passage. A youthful 'indiscretion' at the peace camp on Greenham Common, which he relates in the novel within this novel, returns to turn Joe's life on its head and, in turn, turns this book in to a very good page-turning thriller which I wanted both to read quickly to see how it ends, and yet not to end as I enjoyed it so much.
All-in-all a great first effort which I thoroughly recommend.


The Last Train to Brackley Central (Inspector Vignoles Mysteries, no 5)
The Last Train to Brackley Central (Inspector Vignoles Mysteries, no 5)
by Stephen Done
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dirty Girl gets Evil Eye, 20 May 2012
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Blimey, our dear Inspector Vignoles gets mixed up with ghostly goings on at Brackley Central. Helping him to solve a murder, or two, or more, are all our favourite characters; DS Trinder who's finding life as a new father rather tiring, PC Blencowe, WPCs Benson and Lansdowne, etc. All in their own ways play a part in solving this mystery - none more so than the ghost who points the way to the perpetrators of the grisly deed.
Yet again Stephen Done does an excellent job of recreating life (and death) in Britain as the austerity years drag on into 1950 and readers are reminded that aspects of life now commonplace were then still illegal and dangerous. It is a brave move to make a spectre central to a crime novel but it's been done with panache in this case. Where will 1951 find Inspector Vignoles? I, for one can't wait.


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