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Freeman Wills Crofts

The Mystery of the Sleeping Car Express

Hodder & Stoughton 1956

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PAGE ONE

No one who was in England in the autumn of 1909 can fail to remember the terrible tragedy which took place in a North-Western express between Preston and Carlisle. The affair attracted enormous attention at the time, not only because of the arresting nature of the events themselves, but even more for the absolute mystery in which they were shrouded. Quite lately a singular chance has revealed to me the true explanation of this terrible drama, and it is at the express desire of its chief actor that I now take upon myself to make the facts known. As it is a long time since 1909, I may, perhaps, be pardoned if I first recall the events which came to light at the time. One Thursday, then, early in November of the year in question, the 10.30 p.m. sleeping car train left Euston as usual for Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the North. It was generally a heavy train, being popular with business men who liked to complete their day's work in London, sleep while travelling, and arrive at their northern destination. with time for a leisurely bath and breakfast before office hours. The night in question was no exception to the rule, and two engines hauled behind them eight large sleeping cars, two firsts, two thirds, and two vans, half of which went to Glasgow, and the remainder to Edinburgh. It is essential to the understanding of what follows that the composition of the rear portion of the train should be remembered. At the extreme end came the Glasgow van, a long eight-wheeled, bogie vehicle, with Guard Jones in charge. Next to the van was one of the third-class coaches, in front of it a first-class, and then one of the sleeping cars, all labelled for the same city.

Freeman Wills Crofts

Classic Crime Fiction

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