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This is a book I hesitated to get, because I thought it could be so much about the history of trains, I might find it boring. I could not have been more wrong! Edward Marston has done a superb job of weaving some information about early trains--but that is more of a backdrop for what proves to be an interesting victorian-style mystery. Robert Colbeck and his sidekick, Victor Leeming, come from the early and still forming Scotland yard. This means that they don't yet have the respect of everybody--though they find clever ways to get people to open up to them. There is a light love interest--who is also sometimes Robert's secret assistant in getting to the heart of the mystery. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how compelling it was to listen to this book.
Even better, the narration is by the incomparable Sam Dastor. He does various voices with seeming ease--and there is no problem recognizing "who" is speaking.
The mystery is good (though slightly predictable), the character development is excellent, the background scene was set to perfection without overpowering the story, and it held my interest from beginning to end. I was happiest to discover that there are a few more in this same series of books about Robt Colbeck--and I look forward to listening to them very soon!
My only puzzlement is, Audible.com: where is book #1? It did not detract to begin with book #2 (as I feared it might--since some authors tend to replay all that occurred in a previous book, thus ruining any motivation to go back and read it.) Happily, that was not the case here. I felt no loss beginning with this volume, nor any reluctance to find the first one and read it later.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about The Excursion Train?
I thought this story would be richer, and more detailed in railroad/train history. It's not.<br/>I'm not sure if it's the writing or the narrator, or a combination of both, that gave the audiobook a 'lacking something' feel.<br/>
Would you ever listen to anything by Edward Marston again?
Any additional comments?
For others that like to know details like this before hitting the play button in front of the kids:<br/>2 curse words used right near the beginning of the book.<br/>The storyline enfolds itself around an "attempted rape" (won't add spoilers)<br/>Adultery seems to be a preferred theme.<br/>
Loved it, interesting story, gentle humour, romance thrown in without anything to give me nightmares! Perfect.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I enjoyed this book, but somehow it sounded like an amateur dramatics performance of a detective story. I am not sure if this is the reading or the writing, but I didn't feel like that after reading the first book on Kindle. I enjoy amateur dramatics, so it didn't bother me too much, but I am not sure how many more of these I would listen to.
What did you like best about this story?
Railway settings and descriptions of lifestyle were interesting background to the plot. The story was credible and not too contrived, although perhaps a bit formulaic. (The obvious grumpy character was not guilty and certain key details were withheld till the end).
What three words best describe Sam Dastor’s performance?
Slow and steady.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Any additional comments?
Good for railway buffs but maybe not for the common man (or woman).