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Martin, Andrew 1962(?)-

Martin, Andrew 1962(?)-

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1962 (one source says 1952), in England.

ADDRESSES:

Home—London, England

CAREER:

Author and journalist. Journalist for the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent on Sunday, and Granta, among other publications. Weekly columnist for the New Statesman.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Young Writer of the Year, Spectator.

WRITINGS:

Bilton (novel), Faber & Faber (London, England), 1998.

The Bobby Dazzlers (novel), Faber & Faber (London, England), 2001.

(Editor) Funny You Should Say That: Amusing Remarks from Cicero to the Simpsons (nonfiction), Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2005.

"JIM STRINGER MYSTERY" SERIES

The Necropolis Railway: A Novel of Murder, Mystery, and Steam, Faber & Faber (London, England), 2002, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

The Blackpool Highflyer, Faber & Faber (London, England), 2004, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

The Lost Luggage Porter: A Jim Stringer Mystery, Faber & Faber (London, England), 2006, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2008.

Murder at Deviation Junction, Faber & Faber (London, England), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

In 2002, Andrew Martin followed up his first two novels, Bilton and The Bobby Dazzlers, with The Necropolis Railway: A Novel of Murder, Mystery, and Steam, his debut novel in a mystery series that follows the adventures of Jim Stringer, a railway man and amateur sleuth. Stringer leaves behind a menial job in rural England at the Yorkshire train station to pursue his lifelong dream of driving locomotives in London. Stringer soon discovers that life in London in 1903 is dirty and hard. He is put to work on the Necropolis Railway, a mysterious graveyard line where the men he works with acquire an immediate distaste for him and suspect him of being a company spy. Things get worse for the young hero (who is only nineteen years old) when he finds out that his predecessors have met their respective demises under suspicious circumstances. With his own life in danger, Stringer and his landlady work together to unravel the motives behind the mysterious deaths. Spectator contributor Andrew Barrow observed, "This book is, as its publishers rightly claim, ‘fabulously rich in atmosphere and period detail.’" The Necropolis Railway "creates an authentic ambience of clattering dread," according to Agony Column reviewer Rick Kleffel. "Martin weaves the dark menace of London expertly into this tale," remarked New Statesman reviewer Matthew Jennings. "Martin's job is not to reflect the present in the past, nor to show off his research skills. Ultimately, that's why The Necropolis Railway succeeds; interested in itself and its own, beautifully constructed world, it [proceeds] from A to B, with some excellent scenery along the way," commended Alex Clark in the London Guardian.

Jim Stringer returns to the rails and amateur sleuthing in Martin's 2004 novel, The Blackpool Highflyer. "Despite his changed circumstances, Jim is much the same—inquisitive but dopey, apt to go off on wild-goose chases and get cracked over the head by members of the criminal classes, who are considerably bigger than he is," observed New Statesman reviewer Hugo Barnacle. The book takes place in 1905, and Jim has left London to return to his native Yorkshire as a fireman on the old Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, which makes routine excursions from Halifax to Blackpool and Scarborough. The plot revolves around an attempted derailment of one of the Blackpool-bound trips. Although the train stops just in time, the one wounded passenger dies while Stringer is attempting to help her. This causes Stringer enough guilt to embark on a mission to discover the saboteur. "One struggles to throw oneself in with Jim's quest," according to a reviewer for the London Telegraph. However, Martin is able to successfully create a rich and lively atmosphere through which Stringer conducts his investigation. "Along the way there are several flavourful scenes in the streets, pubs and music halls of Halifax, Blackpool and Scarborough," Barnacle commented. The reviewer went on to note that the story "is another atmospheric experience, a trip to a lost world in amusing company," he later added in his review.

Martin's third novel in the series, The Lost Luggage Porter: A Jim Stringer Mystery, is a "heavy, clanking, finely wrought adventure story," said Barrow, again writing in the Spectator. The story begins in winter, 1906, and Stringer has returned with a new job as an official railway detective at York station. His new investigation sweeps him off to Paris and then back to York in a story that is "full of memorable images," as Barrow put it. "Unerringly sharp and pioneeringly original, it locks the reader in from start to finish," he commended.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Guardian (London, England), August 10, 2002, Alex Clark, "Single to Brookwood," review of The Necropolis Railway: A Novel of Murder, Mystery, and Steam.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2006, review of The Necropolis Railway, p. 992.

Library Journal, December 1, 2006, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of The Necropolis Railway, p. 99.

New Statesman, November 25, 2002, Matthew Jennings, "Novel Thoughts," review of The Necropolis Railway, p. 53; September 6, 2004, Hugo Barnacle, "Journey to a Lost World," review of The Blackpool Highflyer, p. 55.

Spectator, September 21, 2002, Andrew Barrow, "The Way to the Tomb," review of The Necropolis Railway, p. 44; May 27, 2006, Andrew Barrow, "Under the Shadow of the Minister," review of The Lost Luggage Porter: A Jim Stringer Mystery.

Telegraph (London, England), October 24, 2004, "A Hymn to the Age of Steam," review of The Blackpool Highflyer.

ONLINE

Agony Column,http://trashotron.com/ (October 5, 2004), Rick Kleffel, review of The Necropolis Railway.

Andrew Martin Home Page,http://www.jimstringernovels.com (May 1, 2007).

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