The Railway Detective, set in 1851 England, opens with a train loaded with mail and gold coin. Normally guards protect the precious cargo, and thieves gain the upper hand on them and steel the entire cargo. And two of them gravely injures the train driver and forces the fireman to detail the train.
It is up to Inspector Robert Colbeck and his Sergeant Lemmings to figure out who the thieves and capture them. The reputation of the Post Office, the Royal Mint, and the train industry are at stake.
To help solve the crime, Colbeck asks a former policeman turned bouncer to help in the search for the criminals who may be in Devil’s Acre. Although the bouncer helps, he also produces trouble for Colbeck and his partner.
However, the daughter of the injured train driver is able to give helpful information and it helps move the case along significantly. But just as Colbeck and Lemmings get close to capturing two of them, both are murdered.
As the case progresses, Colbeck and Lemmings figure out that the robbery is part of a bigger crime, that to destroy the entire railway system!
I began reading Edward Marston’s The Homefront Detective Series a few years ago, and enjoy the books a lot. But with no new book available in this series at my local library, I chose to read book one in The Railway Detective series.
I like this series about equally with The Homefront Detectives. The story is engaging from the start. Plus Colbeck and Lemmings are well-rounded & fleshed out characters. Plus, they are smart, intuitive, and very able as officers of the law.
I also appreciate the bits of history on the railway, Big Ben, and parliament mixed in as well.