I have only just discovered the ‘Jim Stringer, Railway Detective’ series of books. In fact I started with the third book in the series, The Lost Luggage Porter (Jim Stringer Mystery) and managed to pick up enough snippets of information about Jim’s earlier life, so that I didn’t feel too deprived about not having read either of the earlier two books.
I commented, in ‘my thoughts about the book’, that I felt that I wanted to read one of the later books in the series, to determine whether the character of Jim was going to mature and grow into his role. So here I am, having just discovered that Andrew is soon to publish the ninth adventure, featuring Jim, so this may be a good place to catch up with him.
SYNOPSIS .. ‘THE BAGHDAD RAILWAY CLUB’
Baghdad in the Great War, and a case of espionage for detective Jim Stringer…
Baghdad 1917. Captain Jim Stringer, invalided from the Western Front, has been dispatched to investigate what looks like a nasty case of treason. He arrives to find a city on the point of insurrection, his cover apparently blown – and his only contact lying dead with flies in his eyes. As Baghdad swelters in a particularly torrid summer, the heat alone threatens the lives of the British soldiers who occupy the city. The recently ejected Turks are still a danger – and many of the local Arabs are none too friendly either. For Jim, who is not particularly good in warm weather, the situation grows pricklier by the day. Aside from his investigation, he is working on the railways around the city. His boss is the charming, enigmatic Lieutenant-Colonel Shepherd, who presides over the gracious dining society called The Baghdad Railway Club – and who may or may not be a Turkish agent. Jim’s search for the truth brings him up against murderous violence in a heat-dazed, labyrinthine city where an enemy awaits around every corner.
It is good to see that Andrew has moved Jim along in his adventures, in a true time-line from 1903 through to 1917, where Iraq is, even back then, on the point of insurrection, with British troops striving to administer an uneasy and volatile peace during the ‘Mesoptamian Campaign’
THE AUTHOR .. ANDREW MARTIN
Andrew Martin grew up in Yorkshire and has built up his series of ‘Jim Stringer, Railway Detective’ books, using Northern characters he can relate to and empathise with, although these days, London is the place he chooses to call home and is where he lives with his wife and family.
All this, a far cry from the career Andrew qualified for, as a barrister, although his change of direction would only appear to emphasize his love of writing.
He has written for several prestigious publications and newspapers, both in staff jobs and in his capacity as a freelance journalist. He has also turned his hand to book editing and writing for radio.
His authorship has taken him from the realms of the short story, through to books with a humorous touch aimed at the ‘weaker’ and undomesticated half of most partnerships .. (that’ll be men to you and I!!) and on, to the novel. There were two stand-alone novels before Jim Stringer came on the scene, however this dour character has dominated Andrew’s writing of late, earning the author several accolades and shortlistings for some serious awards in the field of crime writing.
Publishers, Faber and Faber, have a great question and answer article with Andrew Martin, in their ‘crime writers’ section, so if you have a couple of minutes to spare why not take a look, I found it very informative and interesting.