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The Rome Express by Arthur Griffiths
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The Rome Express

by Arthur Griffiths

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First published in 1896, this is a fairly short fictional account of nine people aboard an express train sleeping car most of whom awake near the end of their journey from Rome to Paris to learn that one of their number has suffered death by a stab wound to the heart. Two are French businessmen, two are English brothers- a General and a clergyman- two are women- an attractive widow and her maid. The conductor, a Dutchman named Groote, has made trouble for the widow and her maid by insisting that the maid not be in the sleeping car too much as she has no sleeping car ticket. Two other men are aboard, one of whom is the dead man. The police inspectors arrive at the Paris train station, the Gare de Lyon, and present the reader with a delicious comedy of errors as they apply their rigid methods in an attempt to find out what happened. In the midst of this the General and the lovely widow, already friends for some months ( having met in Rome) discover that they love each other. An artful blend of narration, misdirection, and well-timed revelations maintain interest to the end of this diverting story. ( )
  markbstephenson | Jun 2, 2010 |
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Before "The Orient Express" there was... The Rome Express. The very words conjure up a romantic time when travel, at least for those who could afford a compartment in a first class car, was elegant and refined. One could board the night train in Rome, dine along the way, sleep in comfortable accommodations and wake up at the station in Paris refreshed and ready to go. This is the picture that Major Arthur Griffiths paints in "The Rome Express." Of course, not everything can be expected to run smoothly, especially when a body is discovered in one of the compartments. Who was he? Who was his murderer? The Countess? The English General? His brother the clergy man? The maid who has disappeared? Is the French justice system up to solving the crime?
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