An exquisite silver coffee-pot in the shape of a locomotive is on its way to Cardiff in the care of silversmith, Hugh Kellow. When the coffee-pot is stolen and a murder is committed, Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming are called in to investigate.
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Edward Marston has written several series of historical books. This series takes place in Victorian 1850's, with the early British Railway system as the background. If you are looking for a deep, intense read, look elsewhere. But I love listening to these as something like a fun palate cleanser after listening to heavier, more intense books. They are predictable, almost "melodrama-light," but always a pleasure to listen to! Especially the marvelous and unique narration of Sam Dastor.
Inspector Colbeck and Sgt Leeming are called from England to Cardiff, Wales, to investigate the murder of a young silversmith's assistant, who has carried a strange, specially commissioned silver coffeepot in the shape of a locomotive to Wales. On the train, he meets people from a theatre who talk him into showing it to them. Will they be the culprits?
There are also some entertaining local characters of some social standing who are less than likable. Should we suspect them of the murder? Clifford Tompkins and his greedy wife (who had ordered the silver pot) are amusing, even funny, in their total lack of sensitivity. It is in reading these two characters that Sam Dastor's Indian background peeks through, and I love it (even if it doesn't fully fit the characters). Oh, did I mention? Sam Dastor is one of my very favorite narrators! There is also the love interest for Inspector Colbeck--his beloved, Madeleine Andrews, and things get interesting there, also.
If you want a crime novel with a lot of vivid violence and filled with language you need to cover you eyes/ears to read/hear--look elsewhere. But if you, like myself, occasionally need a change of pace to take a break from heavier stuff, then give this whole series a try. It is fun, meant to be taken lightly, and well-written with creative characters and information about the time and place, and good mysteries to figure out. Oh yes, and as I mentioned above, read by my *favorite*--Sam Dastor--with his wonderful and incomparable reading voice. :-)