I received a free copy of this book, thanks to Minotaur Books at St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.
It is the spring of 1923 and the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple is on her way to a stately home in Scotland to research her next article for Town and Country. On board the Flying Scotsman, the famous London-to-Edinburgh train, Daisy meets an old schoolfellow, Anne Breton. Anne, along with all of her relatives, is en route to visit the deathbed of the family scion and notorious miser, Alistair McGowan. As it currently stands, Alistair’s will leaves the entire family fortune to his brother Albert, and the rest of the family is rushing to his side, each hoping to convince him to change his will in their favor.
Daisy, meanwhile, has her hands full taking care of Detective Inspector Alec Fletcher’s young daughter Belinda, who ran away from home and stowed away aboard the train. She barely has time to take notice of the intricate family feud taking place all around her–that is, until Albert McGowan is found murdered on the train and Daisy is surrounded by an entire family of suspects.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Detective Fiction
Murder on the Orient Express, anyone? I’m fairly sure that allusion was the author’s intention. But the story only shared a few common characteristics from Christie’s work.
Both books are set in around the same era, Murder on the Flying Scotsman in 1923 and the Murder on the Orient Express in 1932. Throughout the book, the former reflected on the racism and sexism some people had to go through that was rampant in those times, something I found starkly missing in Christie’s works after hearing that they had a racist undertone sometimes.
As for our protagonist, Daisy Dalrymple is a strong-spirited and kind young lady who happens to have a knack of stumbling onto murder wherever she goes. As far as Murder on the Flying Scotsman is concerned she didn’t come off as a busybody(unlike SOME protagonist I just read about). The girl knew when to keep her business to herself, although I can’t vouch for the other books in the series.
There were so many aunts, uncles and cousins it all seemed like jumbled earphone wires to me. I’m just not very good at keeping up with who’s who. The romantic element between Ms. Dalrymple and Chief Alec Fletcher of the Scotland Yard was sweet and enjoyable. And the bromantic dynamic between the Alec and his comrades in the force was a welcome addition to the book! Where there’s bromance, there’s a bit of humor guaranteed. I also particularly appreciated the multi-facetedness of some of the characters, it made it all the more realistic.
As for the murder plot, it was a bit weak. I guessed the culprit fairly early on before the damning clue was even mentioned. There’s less of the theatrics that Poirot’s known for and the neatly packaged solution I so enjoy.
Murder on the Flying Scotsman, first published in 1996 and now being reprinted again by the same publisher, Minotaur Books, written by Carola Dunn is a quick-read, realistic mystery novel, its characters touching on deeper topics now and then(which I love), while managing to sneak in a bit of heart-thumping romance and the warmth of camaraderie.
Parental Guidance: 12+
Violence – A murder scene, some description of murder methods. Nothing gruesome.
Sex – Slight sexual tension between two characters.
Religion – None
Profanity – Mild
Should You Get This Book?:
Get it if:
- You’re just want a light/quick read.
- Mysteries with more warmth is what you prefer
- You like a dash of romance in your cuppa mystery
- You want a glimpse of life in the 1920s
Don’t get it if:
- You expect the precision and surprise solution found in Agatha Christie’s many works
Read An Excerpt
‘If Mahomet will not come to the mountain,” Alec said philosophically, standing up as Piper reappeared, “then the mountain must needs go to Mahomet.’
(How interesting to include a mention of the Prophet Muhammed[peace be upon him]!)
‘The Indians aren’t exactly savages, Anne. They were writing books and building cities when our ancestors lived in mud huts and painted themselves with woad.’