Thursday 11 November 2021


Book review: The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris [blog tour]

I've been on a murder mystery kick this year, devouring the likes of Agatha Christie (of course), Richard Osman, Sophie Hannah (who's written new stories featuring Hercule Poirot), and Anthony Horowitz (Magpie Murders, Moonflower Murders). So when I heard about The Dublin Railway Murder, which is a mystery based on a real-life Victorian murder, needless to say I was immediately intrigued. 

It's 13 November 1856 when George Little sets off for the Broadstone railway terminus in Dublin where he is chief cashier. He tells his family that he will be home for supper that night, but he hasn't accounted for the extra cash that will come through his office that day from the Mullingar Fair, which keeps him in late. This is nothing to concern his family, however, as George is a diligent employee and often stays behind to make sure he finishes all his tasks for the day. But when he doesn't come home at all, alarm bells start to ring. 

The next day day his sister goes to the terminal to ask after George, explaining he didn't spend come home the night before. When his employers start their investigation, they find George's office still locked from the inside. Something he would often do when working late at night by himself. However, when they finally manage to enter his office through one of the windows, George hasn't fallen asleep as they'd hoped. He's dead; severely beaten and his throat cut so deeply that it's a miracle his head is still attached to his body. 

George Little was an unassuming and well-liked man, and none of the cash from that day seems missing, so who would kill him? And the mystery continues, because while the office door was locked from the inside... the key is missing. It's the start of a nearly year-long investigation by Ireland's most experienced detective and super sleuths from Scotland Yard. But can they find out whodunnit? 

George Little's murder gripped the Irish nation in the 19th century and it's gripping readers once more in this impeccably researched retelling by author Thomas Morris. Told in clear, chronological sections such as 'the murder', 'the investigation', 'the suspect', and 'the trial', Morris recounts the fateful events surrounding George's death in minute detail – giving readers all the tools they could possible want to try and crack the mystery before the authorities do.

For the shorter 'murder' section in the book this level of descriptions is very welcome, as it sets the scene, introduces pivotal characters, and creates the seemingly unsolvable mystery that ripples at the edges of the horrible event that served as a catalyst for the story. But as the investigation moves into 1857, and the number of characters steadily increases, the plot starts to deviate from a clear-cut direction and the retelling feels like it's dragging the story out. 

While I was on the edge-of-my-seat for the first half of this book, for the second half it was difficult to stay focused. I finished the story because I desperately wanted to know whodunnit, but the inevitable conclusion felt disappointing. For a book with such a powerful premise, and a well-plotted build-up, that's a real shame. If you love murder mysteries, Victorian settings, and very detailed descriptions of events, then this is the book for you. But if you prefer something a bit more fast-paced with a jaw-dropping end, then this isn't it. 

The Dublin Railway Murder by Thomas Morris is published today (11 November 2021) by Vintage Publishing and you can purchase your copy now from your favourite book shop.

Blog tour stops for 'The Dublin Railway Murder' by Thomas Morris

This review for 'The Dublin Railway Murder' is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure you check out the other stops!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me by the publisher, but this has not impacted this honest review.

1 comment:

Share Button