Three Detective Stories Involving London Underground

INTRODUCTION

This  post can be viewed as a companion to the one in which I looked at Sherlock Holmes‘ (lack of) involvement with London Undeground.

THE THREE STORIES

These are two novels and one short story, all of which I either have out on loan or have had out on loan from Norfolk Libraries. In two of the three cases London Underground is central to the the development of the story while in the third the murder takes place in an Undeground Station.

MURDER UNDERGROUND

This is the title of a book by 1930s crime writer Mavis Doriel Hay. The murder itself takes place on the stairs between the ticket office and the platforms at Belsize Park station (of which there are many – only Hampsetad on the entire system is deeper) and all the action is set around this section of the Northern line. The story has many twists and turns, and is a thoroughly good read.

The front cover, showing a 1930s train (that shade of red was known because of its use at that time as "train red")

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A diagram showing the layout of Belsize Park station that appears in the middle of the book.

THE PICCADILLY MURDER

Although unlike the other two books featured in this post the story does not directly involve London Undeground the murder that is the fulcrum of the story takes place in Piccadilly Circus Station.

Remarkably this is a murder mystery in which the murder does not take place until half way through the book, and yet the book is never slow or plodding.

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A MYSTERY OF THE UNDERGROUND

This is a short story by John Oxenham, contained within a compilation of such published under the title Capital Crimes: London Mysteries, assembled and edited by Martin Edwards. This particular story is the second in the novel. Until the very end all of the action in this story takes place on London Underground or at destinations to which trains which can boarded at London Underground stations travel (this designation is necessary, because one incident involves a London & North Western Railway “Outer Circle” service). One other point about station names: the station referred to in this story as Charing Cross is now known as Embankment, the station now called Charing Cross being a fusion of two former stations (more about this in a future post). The northern section of LNWR’s “Outer Circle” (the “Inner Circle” being today’s Circle line) is part of the line that is now the nucleus of London Overground – from Willesden Junction, the extreme point of the system covered in this story it curved round to Broad Street (one of  two main line stations that fused to make today’s Liverpool Street).

The key protagonist (other than the murderer) is a journalist with The Link, who follows the story from the moment it breaks with the first crime, and nearly ends up becoming another victim of the killer.

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GETTING HOLD OF THESE BOOKS

I got all of these books from the library, but for those who prefer to buy:

Capital Crimes

Capital Crimes can be purchased from book depository (free worldwide delivery) for £7.64

Murder Underground

Murder on the Underground can be purchased from book depository  (free worldwide delivery) for £7.64

Murder in Piccadilly

Murder in Piccadilly is available from book depository (free worldwide delivery) for £7.64

 

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