The Lost Luggage Porter: A Jim Stringer Mystery

by Andrew Martin

From the author of The Necropolis Railway and The Blackpool Highflyer comes another atmospheric thriller of sabotage, suspicion and steam.  It's Jim Stringer's first day as an official railway detective, working from York Station for the mighty North Eastern Railway Company.  On the station platform, Stringer meets the Lost Luggage Porter, humblest among the railway's employees.  He tells Jim a tale which leads him to the roughest part of town, a place where the police constables always walk in twos.  Again, with the help of his brilliant and fearless wife, Jim is off on the trail of pickpockets, 'station loungers' and other small fry of the York underworld.  But then, in a tiny, one-room pub with a badly smoking fire Stringer enters the orbit of a dangerous, disturbed villain who is playing for much higher stakes.

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780156030748
  • ISBN-10: 0156030748
  • Pages: 320
  • Publication Date: 01/07/2008
  • Carton Quantity: 30

Also available in:

About the Book
About the Author
  • About the Book

    From the author of The Necropolis Railway and The Blackpool Highflyer comes another ingenious thriller featuring Jim Stringer. It is winter 1906 and Jim has been promoted from sleuth to official railway detective for York station. His first day on the job, the mysterious Lost Luggage Porter, "a human directory to everything in York," tips him off to a group of railway thieves. Jim is instructed by his Inspector to infiltrate their gang and is drawn along into their plot to carry out a robbery and make their getaway across the Channel. Soon Jim finds himself swept off to Paris with the thieves, his plight made even worse when threats are made against his wife. Can Jim get to get to her before the villains do?
    UK Praise for The Lost Luggage Porter:

    "Page-turning, confidently written…" – Guardian

    "The atmosphere of neglected streets…dingy saloon bars, supper of boiled bacon and pickles, and dismal, unceasing rain are splendidly evoked." – Telegraph

    Related Subjects

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts

    Chapter One


    In York Station, the gas lamps were all lit.


               It was a wide, grand place. Birds would fly right through under the mighty span, and that roof kept most of the rain out too, apart from the odd little waterfall coming down through gaps in the glass.


               I was on the main through platform on the ‘up’ side – number four, although it was the number one in importance, and crowded now, as ever, and with a dark shine to all the polished brass and the black enamel signs, pointing outwards like signals as you walked along: ‘Gentlemen’s Waiting Rooms First Class’, ‘Ladies’ Waiting Rooms First Class’, ‘Refreshment Rooms’, ‘Left Luggage’, ‘Station Hotel’ and ‘Teas’.


               No lost-luggage place in sight, however, although I knew that York, as the head station of its territory, did boast one, and that practically any article left on any train in the county came through it.


               Wondering whether it was on the ‘down’ side, I stepped on to the footbridge, into the confusion of a hundred fast-moving railway clerks, all racing home towards supper and a glass of ale. A goods train was rumbling along beneath. It was a run-through: dirty, four-coupled engine with all sorts pulled behind. I leaned out from the footbridge to take the heat and the smoke and steam from the chimney: the soft heat, and the sharpness of the smell . . . I’d heard of blokes who gave up the cigarette habit but one whiff of the smoke and they were back at it . . .


               Half a dozen banana vans came towards the end, the rainwater still rolling off them, and finally the guard, leaning out of his van like a man on a boat. A telegraph boy came trotting over the bridge, and I put a hand out to stop him, thinking he’d know me as a Company man like himself but of course he didn’t, for I was in ordinary clothes. The kid pulled up sharpish all the same.


               ‘Any idea where Lost Luggage is, mate?’ I asked.


               ‘Down there, chief,’ he said.


               But he was pointing to Left Luggage – the one on Platform Four.


               ‘No,’ I said. ‘Lost . . . Lost Luggage.’


               The lad took a step back, surprised.


               ‘Lost Luggage is out of the station, chief,’ he said.


               ‘Not too far, I hope,’ I said, mindful of the teeming rain.


               ‘Over yonder,’ he said, putting his arm out straight in a south-easterly direction. ‘Out the main exit and turn right. What have you lost, chief? I’ll keep my eyes skinned.’


               ‘Oh, nothing to speak of.’


  • Reviews


    "The best sleuth that 200 years of the railways have ever produced." —The Independent (London)


    "Martin’s debut, loaded with railway lore, pairs a lively, often macabre look at turn-of-the-century London with a bang-up mystery." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)