Blood on the Tracks

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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

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