Blood on the Tracks edited by Martin Edwards

Blood on the Tracks - Various Authors, Martin Edwards

Anthologies are always a tricky business. All the stories in this volume have a common denominator ,a train,trainstation,railroad, train travel…all play a major part in their criminal make up. And it is true that trains and stations create a very special atmosphere. This collection consists of contributions by Athur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L.Sayers,Baroness Orczy,R.Austin Freeman,Will Croft and other highly talented mystery writers. Some of these stories are very good(The Mystery of Felwyn Tunnel,The Man with the Watch,The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway and many others…)and some were,well just average.

But as mentioned before,anthologies are tricky!

 

Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie

Appointment with Death (Masterpiece Edition Poirot) - Agatha Christie

There is not much point in repeating the storyline of this book as every Christie reader knows the story of a horrendous, cruel,terrorising (step)mother and her dysfunctional family. And as this is a Christie, murder must follow . Enter Hercule Poirot, who decides to give Colonel Carbury(a friend of Colonel Race) a helping hand and solve this crime.

I remember reading it as a young creature and thinking,Petra,wow,it seemed so far away,both in distance as in atmosphere. When years later,I finally visited Petra I was, apart from being mightily impressed, overcome by an acute attack of Christie nostalgia.

How fabulous it must have been,travelling in a small group,sleeping in a cave,having diner overlooking those red,orange and of course, pink cliffs and gazing upon this historical and mythical wonder in the sunset.

This was written in 1938 and it is still highly readable(of course our attitude towards”servants” and the original inhabitants has changed, although not all that much…) but notwithstanding this,and a very soppy epilogue, it is always such good fun reading Agatha Christie.

 

Death Spins the Wheel by George Bellairs

Death Spins the Wheel - George Bellairs

An elderly French lady,after spending some pleasant time in the Isle of Man’s brand new casino ,is found shot on the beach. Inspector Littlejohn ,while helping the Archdeacon assembling a conservatory,is asked by the local force to give a helping hand. It is clear that part of the solution is to be found in France,to be precise, in Evian. And everybody knows that old sins have long shadows..think R√©sistance ,betrayal,passion…
The storyline is undoubtedly good,but what makes Bellairs such a wonderful, relaxing read is the rather benign atmosphere,great characters and a sniff of a bygone era.

 

Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville

Weekend at Thrackley - Alan Melville

Six people,five of them lucky proprietors of some fabulous jewellery, and one out of job,out of luck outsider are invited for a weekend at a remote and rather gloomy country house by a mysterious, wealthy collector of jewels and precious stones. They are an Ill-assorted lot waited on by a very lugubrious butler. And then things start to happen,of course…one of the servants is not who he seems to be,a guest disappears,there is a very interesting and well appointed cellar…This is not so much a” who done it” but more of a “how is it going to end”.

But notwithstanding ¬†the great setting(an isolated country house always works for me) it did not impress me all that much. It feels like a not so successful imprint of P.G.Wodehouse. One expects to hear tally-ho any moment. No,not entirely my cup of tea…