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by author "Edward Marston" in All Categories
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Orders to Kill
Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
Ada Hobbes has cleaned for Dr Tindall for many years and begins the morning like any other day. But the house is not empty after all. The blood-covered George Tindall is sprawled across the floor. Detective Inspector Harvey Marmion and Sergeant Joe Keedy arrive to a horrific scene. Someone enjoyed killing Tindall, without a doubt. Their investigation takes them out of London and on the trail of three different women as it emerges that Dr Tindall was not the respectable local GP after all, but a bigamist whose third wife had some very interesting connections in the crime fraternity.
London, 1851. With the opening of the Great Exhibition at hand, interest in mounting in the engineering triumphs of the railways, but not everyone feels like celebrating. In an audacious attack, the London to Birmingham mail train is robbed and derailed, causing many casualties. Planned with military precision, this crime proves a challenge to Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck who fights to untangle a web of murder, blackmail and destruction.
When Robert Pomeroy, a young undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, finds a letter slipped under his door in the early hours of a rainy day, he flies into a panic. He hurries to the railway station. But he doesn’t reach his destination alive. Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming are called upon to investigate this tragedy on the railway. It soon becomes apparent that Cambridge’s hopes of success in the forthcoming boat race rested on Pomeroy’s shoulders.
Yorkshire 1855. When Colonel Aubrey Tarleton walks into the path of a speeding train, he is crushed to death on the track. The famous Railway Detective, Inspector Robert Colbeck, is immediately put on the case to determine why such a well-respected man would have resorted to suicide. Tarleton's wife had recently gone missing, but was the colonel responsible for her disappearance? It's up to Colbeck and his trusty sergeant Victor Leeming to uncover the truth.
Following a string of successful performances along the west coast, the Moscardi Circus is travelling by train to Hexham on the Newcastle to Carlisle Railway for their next show. Yet a collision on the track causes pandemonium. When the headless body of a woman is discovered in nearby woodland, Inspector Colbeck is desperate to lend assistance, however a reluctant Superintendent Tallis forbids him from doing so.
Pentonville Prison. Wally Hibbert is serving a long sentence for arson. But after befriending and tricking one of the officers, Hibbert makes an audacious escape. Inspector Marmion, the detective who arrested Hibbert, is warned to watch his back, but it seems that Hibbert has another target in his murderous sights. However, the investigation is mired in confusion, and the identities of killer and victim become increasingly ambiguous.
May 1915. With thousands of Britons fighting in the trenches, a severely depleted police force remains behind to keep the Home Front safe. Scotland Yard is already overstretched when the sinking of the Lusitania sparks an unprecedented wave of anti-German riots and arson attacks. Among the victims is the immigrant tailor Jacob Stein, found dead in his burnt-out shop.
Inspector Marmion and Sergeant Keedy are assigned to the case when the body of a young conscientious objector is found bludgeoned to death. Public sympathy is lukewarm for conscientious objectors with some people even claiming that a "conchie" deserves to die if he won't fight for his King and Country. As the detectives identify one suspect, others pop up in the most unexpected places. Everyone speaks well of Ablatt but is he really the saint they describe?
December 1860. Headed for the morning shift at the Swindon Locomotive Works is an army of men pouring out of terraced houses built by the GWR, a miniature town and planned community that aims to provide for its employees from cradle to grave. Unfortunately, boilersmith Frank Rodman is headed for the grave sooner than he'd expected, or he will be once his missing head is found. Colbeck, the Railway Detective, finds his investigation into Rodman's murder mired in contradictions.
On the shocking discovery of a passenger's body on the Great Western Railway excursion train, Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck and his assistant, Sergeant Victor Leeming, are dispatched to the scene. Faced with what initially appears to be a motiveless murder, Colbeck is intrigued by the murder weapon - a noose. When it emerges that the victim had worked as a public executioner, Colbeck realises that this must be intrinsically linked to the killer's choice of weapon.
Derby Day at Epsom Downs and a multitude of people crowd to watch the races: dukes and dustmen, bishops and beggars, privileged ladies and prostitutes. The gamut of Victorian society, though, is also a hotbed for crime and crooks of all kinds. With the country a-flutter in the run-up to this national occasion, events reach fever pitch when a disembodied head is discovered on a passenger train at Crewe; the first in a murky course of events that takes in murder, fraud and race-fixing.
When the engines finally met, there was a deafening clash and the Brighton Express twisted and buckled, tipping its carriages on to the other line. It was a scene of utter devastation. October 1854. As crowds of passengers rush to make the departure of the London to Brighton Express, a man watches from the shadows nearby, grimly satisfied as the train pulls out of the station. Chaos, fatalities and unbelievable destruction are the scene soon after when the train derails on the last leg of its journey.
1862. A goods train is speeding through the Sapperton Tunnel when it hits a makeshift pen of sheep inexplicably set up near the exit. The animals are slaughtered by the impact whilst the train hits a pile of rocks and is derailed, seriously injuring the occupants. Inspector Colbeck discovers that the shepherd and his dog are missing. Stephen Rydall who owned the sheep is shocked by the occurrence, which further affects him as he is a major shareholder in the Great Western Railway.
June 1917. While German Gotha bombers raid London from above, a man's body is fished from the Thames below. The man had been garrotted and his tongue cut out, and as the killer has taken care to remove identifying items, Detective Inspector Marmion and Sergeant Keedy struggle to name the victim before they can begin properly with their investigation. The list of suspects grows ever longer, and as Marmion wrangles with the case, he and his family must also contend with their anxieties for his now-missing son. The interminable presence of war and pitched battles between rival gangs suggest the Home Front is more insecure than ever before.
Nicholas Bracewell befriends a young beggar who is trying to eke out a living as a counterfeit crank, pretending to have spectacular epileptic fits in order to get money from gullible bystanders. When the beggar is murdered inside Bridewell, Nicholas has to pose as a beggar himself in order to get inside the notorious institution so that he can solve the crime. Counterfeiting of all kinds is exposed.
1860, Wimborne, Dorset. Rebecca Tullidge, miserably married to her callous husband, is having an affair with a railway officer, John Bedloe. Much to her distress, she trips over her lover's dead body on the railway tracks. Determined to win votes for the upcoming election of mayor, Mr Feltham calls for Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Lemming to solve the hideous crime, which takes longer than anticipated.
Halloween 1861. A special train with two carriages steams across the Lake District at night on its way to a place notorious for its record of supernatural incidents. Lighting inside the carriages is poor, and without warning, the lamp goes out in the last compartment of the second carriage, plunging it into darkness. When the special reaches the end of its journey, the passengers pour out on to the station platform. There are almost 60 of them in all, laughing and jostling.
An exquisite silver coffee-pot in the shape of a locomotive is on its way to Cardiff in the care of silversmith, Hugh Kellow. When the coffee-pot is stolen and a murder is committed, Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming are called in to investigate.
Eighteen fifty-nine, St. Mary’s Church, Sponden. A little girl playing hide-and-seek jumps into a freshly dug grave to find a dead man already occupying it. It is the body of Cecile Norton, a senior director of the Midland Railway. Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming travel to Derbyshire to investigate.
1917. The Lotus Hotel offers sanctuary for its exclusively female clientele, attracting the cream of London's society. But a dead body found in one of its rooms is hardly good for business, and when it is discovered that the woman was neither a guest nor a member of staff, the Lotus' reputation as a safe haven is cast in doubt. Inspector Marmion and Sergeant Keedy are dispatched to look into the events at the hotel and soon suspect foul play.