On the Bookshelf...

The Railway Murders

JE Ellis

When a film shoot on Wharfedale’s vintage railway turns into a grisly crime scene, DCI Oldroyd’s idyllic visit to the countryside with his partner Deborah is well and truly stopped in its tracks. One of the film’s stars has been shot dead in a train carriage while the cameras rolled outside. But nobody else went in—or came out. Has the killer really pulled off the perfect, impossible crime? Scouring the victim’s past for clues, Oldroyd soon unearths a string of heartbroken lovers and a mountain of unpaid debts, each adding to the growing list of suspects. But before he can determine who the culprit is, there’s the small matter of figuring out how they did it. A potential connection to a previous tragedy offers Oldroyd a much-needed lead… Whoever the perpetrator is, they are ruthless and determined to avoid detection, and when a railway worker starts joining the dots, they are quickly silenced—for good. But as Oldroyd gets ever closer to the truth, it’s only a matter of time before he is given a chilling warning to back off. Perhaps Deborah should have stayed somewhere safe…

I must admit to having a soft spot for JR Ellis and his Yorkshire Murders series. There's a charm about the books that's akin to having a hug. They all have murders, but like in the fiction of the twenties, these aren't graphic. The Railway Murders is no different. A solid story that lets you escape the world.

This book is centred on the fictional Wharfedale railway. Whilst a film is being made, an actor is murdered in a locked carriage, and no-one can work out how and who did it. Enter DI Oldroyd, who has a history of solving unfathomable cases. Along with his team, he sets out to find the murderer. Whilst staying with his partner near the scene, she is kidnapped and Oldroyd is forced to leave the case to his team.

Like I say, I like this series of books. Oldroyd's team is fiercely loyal. They assist Oldroyd, yet he is the driving force behind the team. It's him that solves the way the murder is committed, albeit with the indirect thoughts of others. This works well, Oldroyd is like Poirot and Miss Marple, a detective that gets results. I guess these fall into the cozy murders' genre, yet the writing makes the places come alive. The Yorkshire settings set the books in the real world and make for interesting reading when you know the places they've been to.

All in all, a first class read. It doesn't break what isn't broken, just continues doing what it excels at, a delightful story with a positive ending. I can recommend this series of books to anyone who enjoys cozy murders. They are a timeless series that keeps giving good storylines with a cast that are very likeable. If you haven't discovered these, then why not?

Thanks to Netgallery and Amazon Publishing for the eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Review by
AJ Steel
March 31, 2023

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