Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
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......