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Edward Marston

Author of The Railway Detective

157+ Works 8,497 Members 230 Reviews 16 Favorited

About the Author

Marston also wrote under the pseudonym The Amateur Angler.
Disambiguation Notice:

aka Conrad Allen, Martin Inigo, Keith Miles, A.E. Marston

Image credit: Simon Whitfield


Works by Edward Marston

The Railway Detective (2004) 415 copies
The Excursion Train (2005) 314 copies
The Queen's Head (1988) 272 copies
The Railway Viaduct (2006) 237 copies
The Wolves of Savernake (1993) 225 copies
Murder on the Lusitania (1999) 220 copies
The Iron Horse (2007) 206 copies
The Merry Devils (1989) 204 copies
The Trip to Jerusalem (1990) 174 copies
The Ravens of Blackwater (1994) 173 copies
The Roaring Boy (1996) 156 copies
Railway to the Grave (2010) 154 copies
Blood on the Line (2011) 153 copies
Dragons of Archenfield (1995) 152 copies
A Bespoke Murder (2011) 134 copies
The Nine Giants (1991) 131 copies
The Mad Courtesan (1992) 129 copies
The King's Evil (1999) 127 copies
Murder on the Mauretania (2000) 127 copies
The Silent Woman (1994) 120 copies
The Stationmaster's Farewell (2012) 118 copies
Peril on the Royal Train (2013) 101 copies
A Ticket to Oblivion (2014) 100 copies
The Frost Fair (2002) 98 copies
A Christmas Railway Mystery (2017) 97 copies
The Hawks of Delamere (1998) 94 copies
The Fair Maid of Bohemia (1997) 92 copies
The Amorous Nightingale (2000) 90 copies
The Laughing Hangman (1996) 90 copies
The Parliament House (2006) 90 copies
The Wildcats of Exeter (1998) 89 copies
The Owls of Gloucester (2000) 88 copies
Murder on the Minnesota (2002) 87 copies
Murder on the Celtic (2007) 85 copies
The Painted Lady (2007) 85 copies
The Vagabond Clown (2003) 83 copies
Murder on the Salsette (2005) 81 copies
The Devil's Apprentice (2001) 80 copies
The Foxes of Warwick (1999) 78 copies
Shadow of the Hangman (2015) 76 copies
The Bawdy Basket (2002) 76 copies
Murder on the Marmora (2004) 75 copies
Timetable of Death (2015) 75 copies
The Serpents of Harbledown (1996) 74 copies
Signal for Vengeance (2016) 73 copies
The Repentant Rake (2001) 73 copies
Murder on the Oceanic (2006) 73 copies
The Lions of the North (1996) 71 copies
Murder on the Caronia (2003) 71 copies
The Princess of Denmark (2006) 66 copies
Five Dead Canaries (2013) 65 copies
Soldier of Fortune (2008) 64 copies
The Stallions of Woodstock (1998) 64 copies
The Malevolent Comedy (2005) 62 copies
The Elephants of Norwich (2000) 61 copies
The Circus Train Conspiracy (2017) 60 copies
The Wanton Angel (1999) 60 copies
The Counterfeit Crank (2004) 60 copies
Marco Polo (1982) 59 copies
An Instrument of Slaughter (2012) 59 copies
Deeds of Darkness (2014) 54 copies
Steps to the Gallows (2016) 53 copies
Drums of War (2009) 53 copies
Fear on the Phantom Special (2019) 49 copies
Fire and Sword (1770) 47 copies
Points of Danger (2018) 45 copies
Under Attack (2017) 39 copies
Dance of Death (2015) 39 copies
Fugitive from the Grave (2018) 37 copies
Under Siege (2010) 36 copies
A Date with the Executioner (2017) 33 copies
The Enemy Within (2016) 32 copies
Bullet Hole (1986) 31 copies
The Unseen Hand (2019) 29 copies
Tragedy on the Branch Line (2021) 28 copies
A Very Murdering Battle (2011) 25 copies
Double Eagle (1987) 22 copies
Murder in Perspective (1997) 17 copies
Rage of the Assassin (2020) 17 copies
Bermuda Grass (2002) 16 copies
Saratoga (2005) 15 copies
Valley Forge (2006) 13 copies
Orders to Kill (2021) 12 copies
Murder, Ancient and Modern (2005) 12 copies
Saint's Rest (1999) 11 copies
The Warrior Kings (1978) 9 copies
Green Murder (1990) 8 copies
Honolulu Play-Off (2004) 7 copies
The Devil's Crown (2017) 7 copies
Dragon's Teeth (1973) 7 copies
We'll Meet Again (1982) 6 copies
Skydive (1987) 5 copies
Flagstick (1991) 4 copies
Flames (1995) 4 copies
Arabian Adventure (1979) 4 copies
Ambridge Summer (1975) 4 copies
Günter Grass (1975) 3 copies
Snowstorm (1988) 3 copies
Wraak! 3 copies
Fever (1995) 2 copies
Virus 2 copies
New Blood (1995) 2 copies
Spoils of War (1980) 2 copies
Hogmanay Homicide (2008) 2 copies
Coma (1997) 2 copies
The Honourable Member (1986) 2 copies
Overdose 2 copies
Days in clover (1892) 2 copies
Melanie (1988) 1 copy
Bev (1989) 1 copy
Tariq (1989) 1 copy
Seabird (1987) 1 copy
Old Bag Dad 1 copy
Emergency (1995) 1 copy
Target (1995) 1 copy
Bon Voyage 1 copy
Skip 1 copy
Blind Eyes 1 copy

Associated Works

The Mammoth Book of New Historical Whodunits (1993) — Contributor — 138 copies
The Best British Mysteries 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 129 copies
Crime Through Time: Original Tales of Historical Mystery (1997) — Contributor — 128 copies
The Mammoth Book of Roaring Twenties Whodunnits (2004) — Contributor — 117 copies
Past Poisons (2005) — Contributor — 110 copies
Much Ado About Murder (2002) — Contributor — 98 copies
Malice Domestic 6 (1997) — Contributor — 93 copies
Shakespearean Detectives (1998) — Introduction — 78 copies
Crime Through Time II (1998) — Contributor — 78 copies
The Best British Mysteries (2003) — Contributor — 77 copies
The Mammoth Book of Jacobean Whodunnits (2006) — Contributor — 75 copies
Royal Whodunnits: Tales of Right Royal Murder and Mystery (1999) — Contributor — 70 copies
Murder Most Medieval: Noble Tales of Ignoble Demises (2000) — Contributor — 65 copies
The Best British Mysteries 2006 (2005) — Contributor — 63 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries (2008) — Contributor — 61 copies
The Mammoth Book of Dickensian Whodunnits (2007) — Contributor — 57 copies
Murder Through the Ages (2000) — Contributor — 54 copies
The Mammoth Book of Comic Crime (2002) — Contributor — 47 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 7 (2010) — Contributor — 38 copies
The Sunken Sailor (2004) — Contributor — 31 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 8 (2011) — Contributor — 28 copies
The Best British Mysteries 4 (2006) — Contributor — 25 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 10 (2013) — Contributor — 21 copies
Royal Crimes (1994) — Contributor — 17 copies
Green for Danger (2003) — Contributor — 16 copies
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 11 (2014) — Contributor — 13 copies
AZ Murder Goes Artful (2000) — Contributor — 10 copies
Crime on the Move (2005) — Contributor — 4 copies
Past Crimes: Perfectly Criminal 3 (1998) — Contributor — 4 copies
Missing Persons (1999) — Contributor — 2 copies
Limited Options | Bullet Hole | Presumed Dead (1987) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Legal name
Miles, Keith
Other names
Inigo, Martin
Allen, Conrad
Marston, A.E.
Garland, David
Mountjoy, Christopher
Marston, Edward
Wales, UK
Places of residence
Wales, UK
Kent, England, UK
Oxford University (Modern History)
Cutler, Judith (wife)
Crime Writers Association
Short biography
Keith Miles, aka Edward Marston and Martin Inigo, came from Wales to read Modern History at Oxford. He has been a university lecturer, radio, television, and theatre dramatist, and in addition to writing has worked as an actor, director, and dramatist. He is the author of two mystery series, one Elizabethan in background, the other revolving around the Domesday census of 1086 A.D., and has written mysteries with golf and sports backgrounds under his real name as well as Murder in Prespective, 1997. His Elizabethan novel, The Roaring Boy, was a 1996 Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee for Best Novel. The author is a well known host and raconteur at mystery events and is the 1997 Chairman of the Crime Writers Association. When not travelling or fulfilling speaking engagements, he lives in rural isolation in Kent.
Disambiguation notice
aka Conrad Allen, Martin Inigo, Keith Miles, A.E. Marston



This is the ninth book in the Railway Detective series set in the 1850s. A very popular local stationmaster in Exeter, Joel Heygate, disappears and his charred body is found at the base of a Guy Fawkes Day fire when it burns out. A number of people have obvious motives, including a local criminal who had sworn vengeance against him, the victim's own estranged brother, and Joel's own successor as stationmaster who had been a rival for the position when Joel was appointed. The eventual culprit and their motive turns out to be completely unexpected, and could not be worked out by any reader in advance as new factors are introduced near the end of the plot. There is also an amusing sub-plot where Inspector Colbeck's future widowed father in law Caleb Andrews is pursued by two rival widowed sisters. At the end of the story Colbeck and Madeleine are married at last. I enjoyed the story as usual, though I felt the resolution of the plot was a bit of a cheat.… (more)
john257hopper | 3 other reviews | Jan 11, 2024 |
A spate of robberies in jewellery shops in London ends when an officer is shot. Charged with investigating, the case is personal for Marmion as the shot officer is his daughter's fiancee. The evidence points to a gang of Irish Nationalists who seem to be led by a retired actress. However one of the gang is keen to silence the officer permanently so it is a race against time to find them whilst war rages in France.
I hadn't read any of the other books in the series but that didn't seem to matter as I slipped into the characters easily. I really liked the setting in the London police during World War 1, the book is well-researched and evocative. Essentially it is just a police procedural with a twist, but it is a solid one.… (more)
pluckedhighbrow | Nov 13, 2023 |
One of those books where I could excuse the weak points if the finale impressed. And it... was pretty poor. Very very rushed and the explanation of the crime felt unearned from an emotional, logical and in story detective work standpoint.

The book has 2 subplots running in parallel to the main one and having pretty much no connection - as well as solving the murder, there's the detective's superintendent dealing with what seems to be PTSD and the detective's artist wife getting a commission for a painting. Both kind of fluff out - the latter at least gets a conclusion although it includes a strange sequel hook but the former mostly consists of everyone being worried about him spacing out a lot and it seems the author otherwise doesn't really know how to handle it - it ends with him returning to one of the sites where he got kidnapped and almost murdered and then just... being ok? what? and that's the end of the plot? because that helped him come to terms with it? after him basically not opening up before? i don't know. The ending of the art plot is also kind of hilariously weird - so someone wants to commission her and there's some investigation because people feel suspicious for some reason well the ending is he only supports women artists? and a bunch of them live in a house he owns or something? and it's implied he treats them like a... harem??? or something??? it's not actually clear at all what's going on

The writing is... competent. A lot of the characters are pretty empty - having 1 or 2 obvious traits at best - which is frustrating especially when the *main character* is maybe the worst at this! We obviously spend the most time with him yet we never really get a hint of any emotion, any particular desires. He never shows any sign of being the exceptional detective people say he is either. He's just... totally empty. At least we know his sidekick loves beer, if nothing else. The other character who feels pretty empty is the murder victim. Sure, we get some descriptions about how great and powerful he was and yet... it really doesn't add up to much. Especially when the ending appears to entirely contradict the imperious nature that's the only real personality trait he's given. The bland characters really shows up in the dialogue too - I can't say it's *wooden* but there's never any sparkle and only rarely does it really convey emotion above retelling of facts. There's also the occasional tendency to just sprinkle in weird "facts I learned about Norwich and railways from wikipedia" that don't really fit. There's a genuinely laughable part where the detective's father-in-law's main trait is that the only railway he likes is the LNWR and so he gets really mad at the idea of his daughter painting a GWR locomotive for some reason and this fuels a significant amount of sideplot drama! It's just not how any human acts.

The main plot suffers badly from having minimal clues happening for most of the book. You could *guess* at the ending, but there's not really much that hints at it. A lot of it feels padded then you're 20 pages from the end and it suddenly kicks into extremely rushed mode without any time to justify what's happening and without wrapping up the other character plots that it had spent a lot of time on. There's a lot to say about this that I can't do without spoilers so obviously this will spoil the end completely

There's 2 people who are actually identified as suspects who we spend a lot of time with, the victim's son and another rich railway involved man. The son is given the priority - he's weirdly cold, clearly concerned most of all with instantly taking over from his dad as MP. The other guy also wants to be MP and a big part of the plot is their drama with each wanting to be nominated by the Tories to become MP. And then at the end it turns out neither of them were involved, we don't get an explanation for any of the son's callous behaviour even though it turns out he was right about the stepmum, and we don't get any kind of conclusion on the MP affair. It feels cheap. It turns out basically all the story we've had in the main plot has been a red herring. It's not even ever shown if either of them had any motive but the plot keeps following them.

It was actually the victim's wife who did it with her "brother" who was actually her lover - he'd hired a murderer from their home island of Jersey who did it and someone paid off the railway policeman to change the points. I can't say there's a single thing in the book which points to this before you find it out. There appears to be very minimal evidence for it even at the end of the book! Before the mad dash of the last 20-30 pages the only thing that could even be said to suggest it is that apparently the victim had been seen sleeping with a sex worker. How does that suggest it? Well apparently the wife was manipulating him by... not having sex with him. And she made him change the will to favour her by saying she'd then have sex with him??? If I understood that part right? So obviously he'd sleep around. Despite the only thing we know about the victim being his imperious attitude and general strength and with-it-ness, he was apparently conned into marrying her when she'd planned all along to eventually kill him and go off with her lover. The thing is, we spend lots of time with her during the book but it's mostly about how hard things are for her and how great her husband was. There's nothing hinting at it or that makes the about face feel earned. It's true she makes an obvious suspect as inheritance is a common motive but that just makes it more frustrating that the reveal at the end isn't earned by investigation - the whole plot is misdirection and red herrings. Early on you're given an explicit scene of the railway policeman involved being dodgy - he claims he was distracted by someone firing a stone from a catapult at his head. He even shows the stone! Except there's no blood on it and he wasn't hurt. This obvious clue, that the detectives explicitly notice, is then ignored.

There's some stuff about the murder that doesn't make much sense, too. How did the two communicate? How did the railway policeman get in on the plan when the man murderer appears to have been in Jersey the whole time? What was going on with the house in Jersey - how did he get the money to rent it, how did he keep it in use as his address? And what's with the bizarre Count Olafian claim that he convinced the victim he owned the house and had a big family there by - I am not making this up - HAVING HIS THEATRE TROUPE PRETEND TO BE HIS FAMILY!! And how on earth did nobody catch on!! The evidence the detective has gathered feels fragile and even with the ending stuff there's no sign at all of how he worked *everything* he says out.

There's also the red herring of a different dodgy railway policeman working with other people to try and solve the murder to get reward money. He has no motive at all but we're treated to many scenes of him acting very suspicious. And then at the end he just gets sent to jail on the basis of having an accomplice following the policemen to try and get ahead of his investigation. It's pretty poor and another pointless piece of misdirection

I kept going through the book and feeling like it was competent enough and I was curious enough to wonder how it would end but it just left a bad taste. Nothing in the book was insultingly bad or anything and it's very readable, hence the 2 stars rather than 1, there's just not much to recommend about it. Just disappointing.

PS as someone who loves trains I felt there were not enough trains in this book. Needs more trains.
… (more)
tombomp | 1 other review | Oct 31, 2023 |

On the plus side, it's a detective story, set in the early days of both the Railways and the Detective Section of the Met Police. The author seems to have done his research, such as having the detective arrive by train into Birmingham at (then correct) Curzon Street, rather than New Street or Moor Street (the current two most frequently used train stations between London and Birmingham).

On the negative side: It read like the author's first novel, which apparently it isnt. The book is riddled with stereotypes: the Irish ex-policeman kicked out the force for drunken fighting who makes his living as a bouncer in a rough pub; the slightly dim-witted and subserviant sidekick; the head of the detective division being harassed by the press and causing friction with his detectives by stopping them doing what they want to do; the well dressed detective who likes bending the rules almost to breaking point.

On the whole, a decent read, but I'm not sure that I'd continue with the series
… (more)
nordie | 29 other reviews | Oct 14, 2023 |



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