Blood on the Tracks
Authors: DavidBrandonandAlan Brooke Publisher: TheHistoryPress w. www.thehistorypress.co.uk ISBN: 9780750982696 Price: £12.99(PB)
In Blood On The Tracks: A History of Railway Crime in Britain, writers David Brandon and Alan Brooke combine their two main interests – social history and the history of crime – to detail the crimes that have been committed on British railways over the last two centuries. They have clearly enjoyed researching these cases, which range from trespass to assault and murder (the latter taking up much of the book, in two main chapters, one looking at pre-1900 offences, and one looking at 20th century ones). There are some fascinating cases – some solved, and some, sadly not – and lots of detail about what it was like using the railways in Victorian and Edwardian times, for example.
The final chapter is on how railway crime has featured in film and literature and, in a way, it is a shame that this is relegated in such a way; having the book as a more unified history of railway crime in both fact and fiction would have been more satisfying. The inclusion of an image and caption relating to the murder of actor William Terriss in 1897 is also a mistake, as he was not – despite what the writers assert in the image caption – murdered outside Covent Garden tube station (the plaque they use for illustration even states the murder location was outside the Adelphi Theatre; and Covent Garden station hadn’t even been built at the time when Terriss was killed).
Readitfor: Anaccountofthevaried offencescommittedinandaroundthe railways