Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Blackpool Highflyer (Jim Stringer, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Blackpool Highflyer (Jim Stringer, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Blackpool Highflyer

(Jim Stringer #2)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  288 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
When railwayman Jim Stringer is assigned to drive holidaymakers to the seaside resort of Blackpool in the hot summer of 1905, he thinks he's struck lucky. But his dreams of beer and pretty women soon fall away - when his high-speed train meets a huge millstone on the line. In the months that follow as he hunts for the saboteur, Jim is drawn into a beguiling but dangerous w ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published 2004 by Faber and Faber
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Blackpool Highflyer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Blackpool Highflyer

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 22, 2010 rated it liked it
A gentle story set in 1905, on the Lancashire railway. A good insight into life at the time but it may be too gentle for non-Northerners. There is a strong nostalgia element to the book and the main protagonist, Jim Stringer, a Fireman on the engines is a quaint chap who has simple pleasures and a strong sense of what is right and wrong. The story is 'nice' but not exciting. It's got an easy feel to it but sometimes I was wondering if we would get to any action rather than just background info o ...more
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The hustle and bustle of Wakes week in a Yorkshire mill town abounds throughout the book and the action switches from Halifax to Blackpool, occasionally, Hebden Bridge and Southport. The plot is well defined although on working a way to a conclusion is sometimes a laborious effort. Stringer, the 'steam detective' is in fact a railway fireman throughout the volume and he has the nasty habit, a bete noire of mine, of referring to his wife, Lydia, as 'the wife'. It appears hundreds of times and it ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Although The Blackpool Highflyer has a near-lugubrious pace (rather ironic considering the title) where the actual mystery(ies) is (are) concerned, the novel would be poorer for picking up that pace. Part of the reason one enjoys historical fiction is to get a sense of the flavor of living in that era. And, while much historical fiction tends to focus on the upper class or that portion of the bourgeoisie on the cusp of moving up in society. Jim Stringer, railway fireman, and his new wife seem to ...more
Avid Series Reader
Blackpool Highflyer is the second book in the Jim Stringer Railway Mystery series set in Victorian England, summer of 1905. Jim is now a fireman on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, 'Lanky' for short among railway employees. He and his wife Lydia, his former landlord in London, now own their own home and they're saving up for home improvements. On Whitsuntide Jim and driver Clive Carter have the famous Highflyer train, capable of much more speed than most. Clive drives it too fast on an excu ...more
Chris Gillies
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
The funny thing about this book is that while I read it from e-cover to e-cover, I couldn't really tell you much about what happened in the book, aside from the event at the beginning that drives the plot, and the ending about finding the culprit. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and it was easy to become immersed in a world over a century gone - close enough to picture it, far enough away for most of it to no longer be reality. Andrew Martin does a brilliant job of drawing the world in your mind ...more
Pretty sure what Andrew Martin doesn't know about trains and trams isn't worth knowing.

Jim Stringer has come home to the North and is involved in a train accident as he takes a mill on a Whit week excursion to Blackpool. A woman dies and Jim is tormented by thoughts of how he could have done things differently as well as being unable to get the need to find out why it happened out of his head.

This is a fine book about an Edwardian mill town and also a hymn to the wonders of Northern seaside cu
Dec 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery
I know next to nothing about steam trains, so at times I was a little perplexed by the technical jargon, as I was by most of the British cooloquialisms. Aside from that, I do like these Jim Stringer mysteries. The characters are well drawn, especially Stringer and "the wife" and the setting in pre-war (WWI) England, with it's class and caste conciousness is intriguing.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I could have dealt with the slow pace, and the great amount of trains but a book where the protaganist keeps referring to his wife as "the wife" page after I skipped to the back and still the "wife", if she's important enough to be a part of this tale, she's important to have her name used. It's a dumb convention and should not be allowed if you want to keep readers. Women are not complete ciphers....Stop doing this.
Robert Ditterich
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Interesting Edwardian period crime fiction, centred around the railway machines and systems that transformed village society, industry and even recreation. Although in many ways this is ' light reading' it is sociologically powerful and historically fascinating. Martin has created some wonderfully complex characters to follow through his series.

Crime and Railway fiction for people not focussed on crime or railways....but who could be tempted by the good stories.
Glenn Hansen
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Probably 3.5 stars, but that's okay. I enjoyed the language and style. Good characters that you could really get to know. Mystery? More of a twisting tale than traditional mystery book. An excellent summertime read.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
difficult to follow
Dirck de Lint
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover blurb referring to "Jim Stringer, Steam Detective" is misleading as can be, but I find I prefer what I got to what the publisher's publicist is trying to offer. What we have is not a tale of a hard-boiled Noir-style detective to whom some brass gears have been applied and who does his business with a revolver in one hand and a DuBois Mark VIIb reciprocating framistatic kinetovectoriscope in the other (whatever one of those might be). Rather, this is an excellent slice-of-life story cen ...more
Tim Pendry
The second in the Jim Stringer, railway detective, series and the one that shifts him back to his natural habitat of the North of England where he will stay for the next four books.

This is, in fact, a little superior to the much praised 'Necropolis Railway'[ ] - well written with plenty of red herrings to get ratiocinators going.

The main female character - Jim's wife - is no cypher but used to introduce a female perspective on life in 1905 with sensitivit
Henri Moreaux
Having previously read 'The Necropolis Railway' and enjoyed it when I saw this on the shelf of the hotel I was staying in I dived in.

Continuing on from the first book we're in Edwardian England; Jim Stringer has landed his woman, moved into a house and started on a new railway line where someone attempts to derail his train. Naturally, amateur sleuthing ensues.

One thing to note is whilst these books are not fast paced or action filled they are very detailed and atmospheric so its a bit of a depa
Viki Holmes
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I enjoyed this second book in the Jim Stringer series more than the first - no one writes Edwardian slang like Andrew Martin, and the narrative voice is so compelling - so much so that the (admittedly lightweight) storyline is largely irrelevant. Jim Stringer would quite probably be, in person, a crashing bore, obsessed as he is with detail, railways and the everyday, but somehow this makes for a hugely entertaining read. The era is evoked so naturally that reading these books really is ...more
Robert Hepple
An enjoyable thriller in which the main character is a fireman with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in Edwardian times. The mystery element of the plot meanders a lot, and the main character gets his ideas from bizarre intuitive guesses with no concessions for logical methodology at all. Not surprisingly, the Police seem to have even less success with their step by step investigations. I found this a little hard to swallow, but enjoyed the period feel of the background and the incredible kn ...more
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's a mystery novel, but of the sort where the main character is wrong about pretty much everything and just sort of blunders into the answer after exhausting every other possibility. Like a railroad train, the plot just keeps chug-chug-chugging along until it gets to the end, but it's not very satisfying. I don't remember the first book's perpetrator, but the one in this installment didn't make a whole lot of sense. I have to remember not to pick up the next book in this series when I'm at the ...more
Apr 13, 2009 rated it liked it
This is the second book in the Jim Stringer series about the railroads in England in the early 20th century. Jim works stoking the fires in the engines. Someone puts a grindstone on the tracks of a train Jim is working. Although the engineer stops the train before it hits, one woman dies from a fall. Jim spends the rest of the book trying to find the culprit (among several possible). In the process we learn a lot about life in the time.
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Actually I couldn't finish this book. Martin's books are popular so the fault's all mine. I like history, I like mystery, but Jim Stringer seems to me a Pooterish character, slightly obsessive in his love of all things railway. I gave 100 pages a go, but when I realised I was putting off picking the book up to read in favour of more interesting activities (washing up, anyone?) I decided it was time to call it a day.
Margaret Sankey
Second in a series of first-person mysteries, this one has ambitious railroad driver Jim Stringer (now married to the very clever Fabian socialist landlady from book one) attempting to figure out who, from a large cast of disgruntled 1905 Edwardian Yorkshire people put a rock on the tracks and derailed a holiday train full of textile workers
Malcolm Baker
Found the coming together of the plot a little far fetched with the reasoning for the attempt to stop the train quite far fetched in theory. Plenty of red herrings that added to the story. And finding the relationship between Jim and 'the' wife refreshingly straight forward and honest.
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Second book about young Jim Stringer's life working on the early twentieth century railroad in Northern England. The plots are a little creaky, but Jim is as real as can be, and the descriptions of railroading, and life in the cities and spas of England in 1905, are worth reading.
Don't be fooled by the title... This book is really about Halifax and Sowerby Bridge and as someone who has lived there I can say it was a real treat. Once again Martin's deep knowledge of local history shines through and the story is well paced and suspenseful.
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another Jim Stringer story, these books improve with each new story. I am a great lover of period detective fiction and Andrew Martin does not let me down.
Feb 23, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Gave up, despite the Victorian railway setting. Found the writing style irritating.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cracking Read. Like the previous book it is well written and moves the plot along nicely. It is a good progression from the last book.
Oct 23, 2007 rated it liked it
a kind of whodunnit, an OK read, but rather too long
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
All I can say is--it was OK!! I guess the language was interesting--talking about steam trains and their workings and people who worked in the mills--a bit of interesting social history!!
Charlie Clark
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: chaz
Had trouble getting into this book
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo
  • Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction
  • The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham: A Biography
  • Bad Penny Blues
  • The Metal Monster
  • The Railway Viaduct (The Railway Detective #3)
  • Gothic
  • Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity
  • Gothic Short Stories
  • Mercurius: The Marriage of Heaven and Earth
  • Pagan Britain
  • The Kennedy Conspiracy
  • Skizz (Skizz, #1)
  • Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper
  • A Dark Muse: A History of the Occult
  • On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth
  • The Secret State: Whitehall and the Cold War
  • The Art Museum
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Andrew Martin (born 6 July 1962) is an English novelist and journalist.

Martin was brought up in Yorkshire, studied at the University of Oxford and qualified as a barrister. He has since worked as a freelance journalist for a number of publications while writing novels, sta

Other books in the series

Jim Stringer (9 books)
  • The Necropolis Railway (Jim Stringer, #1)
  • The Lost Luggage Porter
  • Murder at Deviation Junction (Jim Stringer, #4)
  • Death on a Branch Line (Jim Stringer, #5)
  • The Last Train to Scarborough (Jim Stringer, Railway Detective, #6)
  • The Somme Stations
  • The Baghdad Railway Club
  • Night Train to Jamalpur