The Railway Detective Books

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The Railway Detective is a series of historical fiction novels written by Edward Marston. Marston is responsible for other historical fiction works like the Elizabethan Theater Series and the Domesday Book.

Order of Inspector Robert Colbeck Series

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1The Railway Detective2004Description / Buy
2The Excursion Train2005Description / Buy
3The Railway Viaduct2006Description / Buy
4The Iron Horse2007Description / Buy
5Murder on the Brighton Express2007Description / Buy
6The Silver Locomotive Mystery2009Description / Buy
7Railway to the Grave2010Description / Buy
8Blood on the Line2011Description / Buy
9The Stationmaster's Farewell2012Description / Buy
10Peril on the Royal Train2013Description / Buy
11A Ticket to Oblivion2014Description / Buy
12Timetable of Death2015Description / Buy
13Signal for Vengeance2016Description / Buy
14The Circus Train Conspiracy2017Description / Buy
15A Christmas Railway Mystery2017Description / Buy
16Points of Danger2019Description / Buy
17Fear on the Phantom Special2019Description / Buy
18Slaughter in the Sapperton Tunnel2020Description / Buy
19Tragedy on the Branch Line2021Description / Buy

Order of Inspector Robert Colbeck Collections

#ReadTitlePublishedDetails
1Inspector Colbeck's Casebook2014Description / Buy
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Marston, it should be noted, is a pseudonym for Keith Miles, an author born in 1940 who writes mystery and historical fiction. A student of Modern History, Miles began his career as a scriptwriter.

He did work for television and radio before finally turning his attention to novels. Even though he started out in mystery, Miles eventually went into the historical fiction genre and achieved immense success, adopting the Edward Marston pen name along the way.

There was some excitement surrounding the Railway Detective Series when it was first announced, primarily because Edward Marston had already garnered a reputation for his well plotted and tightly written historical fiction by this point and people couldn’t wait to see what the Railway Detective novels would look like now that the author’s skills had been thoroughly refined.

The Railway Detective novels started publication in 2004. The Railway Detective was the first book in the series to be released. It introduced readers to Robert Colbeck, a Scotland Yard detective who solves crimes related to the railway.

One wouldn’t expect the Railway to be such a hub for crime and violence. Yet, Robert Colbeck is frequently assigned cases related to trains. People simply won’t stop dying mysteriously in train cars or getting thrown onto the train tracks or losing their valuables within the vicinity of Railway stations.

And when crime strikes the Railway, Colbeck is the one detective that can be relied upon to solve the case. The first book finds the detective hunting for a nefarious figure with a penchant for looting and derailing trains.

From there, things only escalate. Colbeck is always the perfect man to catch the bad guys because he is such an exceptional detective. The hero of the story, Robert Colbeck has a keen mind that can collect information at a glance, process it rapidly and deliver conclusions.

It also helps that Colbeck is such a hard worker. Once he catches the scent of a bad guy or a promising clue, he won’t stop chasing it until he unravels the mystery in question. People have accused Colbeck of being a little too perfect.

According to some readers, the detective is simply too calm, collected, fashionable and intelligent. This is while proving that he is kind, courteous and more than willing to get down and dirty when the need arises.

Nothing can stop Colbeck when he puts his mind to the situation at hand. He can physically overpower any foe, see through any lie and charm any woman he comes across.

For all the weaknesses that surround his hero, Edward Marston has been praised for the detail he uses to bring 19th Century England to life. The author delves deeply into the political, social and economic situation of the times.

He also explores the minutiae of trains and the railway industry.

Even though these books feature a lot of murders, they are by no means violent.

Best Railway Detective Books

The Railway detective books have been praised for their vivid description of historical Europe and Edward Marston’s stylistic writing, with some of the best books in the series including:

The Circus Train Conspiracy: It is 1860 and the Moscardi Circus is en route to Newcastle. With all the animals loaded on their train, the circus is looking to continue their string of successful performances. Mauro Moscardi’s plans are upended when a collision sends all the animals escaping into the night, leaving the future of the circus in tatters.

Inspector Robert Colbeck has more important matters on his mind, though. When a search of the woodland near the derailment reveals the dead body of a woman, Colbeck cannot help but wonder whether the murder and the collision might be connected.

Ticket to Oblivion: Imogen Burnhope and her main Rhoda were expected to meet her Aunt Cassandra on the platform at Oxford Station. Cassandra waited and watched as the train was emptied of its passengers but Imogen and Rhoda were nowhere to be found.

This is despite the fact that witnesses saw them board the train. When Sir Marcus Burnhope learns of his daughter’s disappearance, he looks to Inspector Colbeck for help.

Other Book Series You May Like

The “Bow Street Rivals” Series by Edward Marston is another great series. Peter and Paul are twin detectives operating out of London in the 1800s. They spend their days proving that the Bow Street Runners are not the only police force capable of solving mysteries and keeping London safe from the bad guys.

Many have also enjoyed the “Joe Sandilands” Series by Barbara Cleverly. These books follow the exploits of Joe Sandilands, an excessively British War Veteran and Scotland Yard detective who solves mysteries in India in the early 1900s.

What Is The Next Book in The Inspector Robert Colbeck Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Inspector Robert Colbeck Series. The newest book is Tragedy on the Branch Line and was released on April, 22nd 2021.

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1 thought on “The Railway Detective”

  1. well written suspense stories with a twist. excellent reading

    have any of them been made onto either t. v. series or into a film.
    would be a great watch.

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