Ludovic Travers was looking forward to his train journey back from the South of France. Taking a second class carriage – the people there tended to be much more interesting that first class – he gained a lot more than he bargained for. Three different men, all with something about their faces, were his travelling companions, along with two others. And after a long journey, two of them would be dead.
Why was one of his compatriots passing items to a man in the corridor? Why did another have strange red spots on his neck? Who was the other man who walked up and down the corridor? And committed double murder under Travers’ nose? It will take trips from England to France and back again before the truth is revealed.
This was the tenth Christopher Bush title featuring Ludovic Travers and Superintendent George Wharton. It’s a series that, while not perfect, is one that I generally enjoy a lot, with some great titles – my favourite before this was the wonderful The Case Of The Dead Shepherd. And now… it’s still The Case Of The Dead Shepherd. I didn’t really get on with this one at all.
That may be in part to me – as I’ve said before, my concentration is up and down like a slow yo-yo at the moment, and it was definitely down when I read this. It might while have been a perfect storm, as this book does seem to lack a focus.
The opening few chapters, leading up to the deaths in the train carriage are pretty effective, building up a sense of suspicion around the behaviour of everyone in and around the carriage. After that though, something went astray and there’s a lot of Travers following Wharton around as Wharton goes around solving the case.
There’s actually two things (at least) going on in the carriage and it’s a bit odd that one of them just… sort of ends very early on and for some reason, the actual case never really grabbed me. The solution was fairly clued but didn’t strike me as particularly interesting. There’s a lot of proposing theories that get shot down, despite Wharton apparently knowing what was happening at an early stage.
Ah, there are plenty of really good Travers books out there and I can see some people enjoying this, but it didn’t work for me – maybe if my brain was less busy. Never mind.