A body in the snow vaults ambitious Jim Stringer into another perilous adventure.
With Christmas 1909 nearing, North Eastern Railway Company detective Jim Stringer banks on an expected promotion to detective sergeant come the first of the year. His wife Lydia, a New Woman, and their cheeky but sickly son Harry also expect to move up in the world—a necessary move, since Harry’s medical expenses require either Jim’s promotion or Lydia’s assuming a part-time secretarial post. Under pressure, Jim’s dispatched to apprehend footballer Donald Clegg for assault, but the tough, aka “Cruncher,” eludes him. While Jim is riding the train home after his failure, a blizzard strikes. When a dead body is discovered on the tracks, Jim immediately tags it a felony and moves to take charge of the investigation. But an officious local cop named Crystal, bristling at what he considers Jim’s challenge to his authority, presses to rule the corpse an accident victim. Integrity demands that Jim investigate, a decision supported by The Chief, who’s well aware of his reputation in solving murders. At length Jim traces the killing to the Travelling Club, a group of passengers with their own train car and a roster thick with missing members. His headlong pursuit of the killer jeopardizes both his promotion and his life.
In Jim’s fourth adventure (The Lost Luggage Porter, 2008, etc.), Martin again shares his infectious passion for trains, wrapped in a nifty caper.