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Saturday, 15 August 2015

‘Ticket to Oblivion’ by Edward Marston

Published by Allison & Busby,
18 June 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-1856-6

The story is set in the summer, 1858. For the first time ever Imogen Burnhope has been allowed to travel by train to Oxford to visit relations without her mother accompanying her. Imogen and her maid, Rhoda, are to travel on the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, the OWWR, whose inefficiency has caused its detractors to call it the Old Worse and Worse. However, not even the most inefficient of railways has lost two female passengers on a non-stop journey before, but when the train reaches Oxford Imogen and Rhoda cannot be found.

Imogen's father, the wealthy and influential Sir Marcus Burnhope, contacts Scotland Yard for help and Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming are assigned to the case. Colbeck is known as the Railway Detective because of his success in solving crimes involving the railway. His first instinct is that the only way the two women could have disappeared was if they had co-operated with their abductors, but, as ransom demands roll in and the death toll gets higher, he knows that Imogen and Rhoda are in mortal danger.

Ticket to Oblivion is the thirteenth full-length novel in the Railway Detective series but it works well as a stand-alone novel. It is a book that is full of action, with some enjoyably humorous scenes, such as the visit of the unfortunate Sergeant Leeming to an artist's studio and his encounter with the artist's model. The author skilfully inserts the brutal facts about the injustice of the class system in Victorian England, where a wealthy and powerful man can commit murder and expect to walk away free, and creates genuine concern about the fates of the two foolish young women caught in a cruel and potentially fatal trap.

The Railway Detective series gets stronger all the time and Ticket to Oblivion is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Reviewer:  Carol Westron

Edward Marston was born and brought up in South Wales. A full-time writer for over thirty years, he has worked in radio, film, television and the theatre and is a former chairman of the Crime Writers' Association. Prolific and highly successful, he is equally at home writing children's books or literary criticism, plays or biographies.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.

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