Chana's Reviews > The Necropolis Railway

The Necropolis Railway by Andrew Martin
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Jan 30, 2011

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bookshelves: british, historical-fiction, mystery-historical, received-through-bookcrossing, trains-and-rails, released-through-bookcrossing
Read on January 30, 2011

A young man from a small town, working as a porter at the local rail station, is offered a job in London working on the engines. He will start as a cleaner but should be able to work his way up quickly according to his sponsor. The whole set up is a bit suspicious however and none of young Jim's fellow rail men will offer him any friendship. Jim is bewildered but does his best. He also is intrigued with several recent deaths of people working for the railroad, including his predecessor. He starts asking questions and nearly gets himself killed, but he doesn't mind too much because it makes a man of him, I guess hard lumps was the way back then. He also falls for his landlady and a sweet romance ensues. He is kind of a sweet, naive but persistent young man with a curious mind, an idealistic outlook and an ability to recognize his mistakes and try again.
What I didn't like about this book was that there was a lot of explaining at the end, a common fault for mystery stories, even though there was a surprise at the end that was well done and interesting. But the future is left hanging completely, as far as justice or what Jim will be doing. I don't think his best girl wants to stay in Waterloo. I mean there are hints about these things, but it is all very vague. Also, why doesn't he go see his Dad? I guess his age and maturity level could explain these things.
I should mention the setting as well, which sounds hellish to me, but is fascinating for all the history of it. I was often lost with the terms but it didn't hurt my comprehension too much as it was all the rail terms mostly or old words that you could understand from context.
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