Monday, March 20, 2023

Blood on the Tracks

 Blood on the Tracks (2018) by Martin Edwards (ed)

Martin Edwards and the British Library Crime Classics series give train enthusiasts and classic crime enthusiasts fifteen stories that can satisfy both. Trains have been the scene of murder and mayhem quite often in classic crime novels--from Murder on the Orient Express by Christie to numerous novels by Freeman Wills Crofts. Here we are treated to short stories featuring the railway. We have a non-Holmes story by Conan Doyle and a Holmes pastiche by Ronald Knox. We have murders, thefts, and a few stories with a touch of the supernatural. My favorites are "The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway" and "The Knight's Cross Signal Problem," but all are worth a look. ★★ and 1/2

"The Man with the Watches" by Sir Artur Conan Doyle: Three people on a train disappear from two compartments while an unidentified dead man (with six expensive watches in his pockets) appears in one of the abandoned first-class sections. The police are baffled until a letter arrives from one of the missing men. (one shot)

"The Mystery of Felwyn Tunnel" by L. T. Meade & Robert Eustace: A signalman and a second man are both killed in the same spot at the mouth of the tunnel. The first death looks like it might have been the result of a deadly love triangle, but that theory falls apart with the second death. (one hit on head; one poisoned)

"How He Cut His Stick" by Matthias McDonnell Bodkin: Lady detective Dora Myrl solves the case of the theft of five thousand pounds in gold and notes from a locked, moving railway carriage. And saves the reputation of the young clerk charged with its transport.

"The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway" by Baroness Orczy: The Old Man in the Corner solves the mystery of the young woman who was poisoned on the underground train. (one poisoned)

"The Affair of the Corridor Express" by Victor L. Whitechurch: A multimillionaire's son who disappears from a moving train. Hazell retraces the journey to find the boy before it's too late.

"The Case of Oscar Brodski" by R. Austin Freeman: An inverted train mystery--the reader already knows who did what and gets to watch Dr. Thorndyke spot all the clues that will reveal the truth. (one strangled)

"The Eighth Lamp" by Roy Vickers: A signalman for the underground railroad has a spooky experience when extinguishing the eight lamps for his section of the track. Each night when the eighth lamp goes out, he hears a train coming at him--when no train should be coming down the line. (one heart failure)

"The Knight's Cross Signal Problem" by Ernest Bramah: When a train accident occurs, the signalman swears that the signal showed red for danger and the engineer swears it was green for proceed. They are both right and Carrados proves how this can be.

"The Unsolved Mystery of the Man with No Face" by Dorothy L. Sayers: An unidentified man, his features disfigured beyond recognition, is found dead on a deserted beach. Lord Peter solves the murder using clues provided in the discussion amongst his fellow train travelers. (one strangled; one suicide)

"The Railway Carriage" by F. Tennyson Jesse: Solange Fontaine, a female detective who can sense evil, enters a railway carriage with an elderly woman dressed in black and a man in a gray felt hat. She immediately feels uneasy...and then there is a train crash. But Solange's unease had nothing to do with the crash... (one stabbed; one hanged; one natural).

"Mystery of the Slip-Coach" by Sapper: A moneylender is found shot in his compartment with the door and window shut. The only clue...a broken raw egg. (one shot)

"The Level Crossing" by Freeman Wills Crofts: A man plans to do away with his blackmailer...using the nearby train crossing in his (he thinks) fool-proof plot. But fate takes a couple of unexpected turns... (one hit by train)

"The Adventure of the First-Class Carriage" by Ronald Knox: Knox tries his hand at a Sherlock Holmes pastiche. A servant consults Sherlock Holmes when she has cause to believe her master is planning to commit suicide. Holmes quickly spots that there is more going on than meets the eye.

"Murder on the 7.16" by Michael Innes: A film director is found murdered in the railway carriage on the set of his latest film. What was he doing in the train so late at night? And who was with him? (one hit on head)

"The Coulman Handicap" by Michael Gilbert: The police know that a woman is passing stolen goods and using the underground as part of her plot. But catching her red-handed proves more difficult than anticipated.

1 comment:

CLM said...

This is a great theme! I am not usually a fan of short stories but I definitely want to read this one.