I’m a fan of the STARK HOUSE “Black Gat” series of reprints. The latest book in the series is Bert and Dolores Hitchens End of the Line, one of the railway detective mysteries from the 1950s. The Lobo Tunnel disaster, a deliberate “accident” where the train hit an obstruction in the Tunnel, remains an unsolved case. Two unlikely railway cops, John Farrel–a veteran detective with a drinking problem–and Calvin Saunders–a talented but inexperienced investigator–are assigned to the Lobo Tunnel cold case six years after the incident. Farrel and Saunders focus on the conductor, Parmenter, who has just served a five year sentence in a Mexican prison.
I enjoyed the detailed description of Peg Parmenter, the conductor’s troubled teen-age daughter. Peg wants to reconnect with her father, but senses that he is withholding information from her. As Farrel and Saunders unravel the sabotage scheme, the suspense ratchets up. From Page One End of the Line stays on track to take the reader on a wild ride. GRADE: B+
RAILWAY MYSTERY SERIES:
F.O.B. Murder (Doubleday CC, 1955); UK: 1957, American Bloodhound no. 154
One-Way Ticket (Doubleday CC, 1956); UK: 1958, American Bloodhound no. 193
End of Line (Doubleday CC, 1957); UK: 1958, American Bloodhound. no. 216
The Man Who Followed Women (Doubleday CC, 1959); UK: 1960, American Bloodhound no. 332
The Grudge (Doubleday, 1963); UK: 1964, American Bloodhound. no. 466