- Author Michael Crichton
Set in Victorian London, this book tells the eponymous tale of an ambitious plan to rob a gold from a bank safe on a train. The story takes you from the initial planning, through to the problems and delays that occurred, through to the actual mission. There’s also a quick note at the end about bringing the criminals to justice.
Mr Pierce is our main character, I am loathe to call him the hero of the story, given the nature of the crimes. He plans the whole affair, takes part in most of it, and is organised and calm under pressure. There’s only one point where things don’t go to plan, which is pretty impressive, and he manages to battle through. There are plenty of other characters involved, but they are all incidental to our train robber extraordinaire.
The writing felt different to any other book I have read before, but I don’t know if it is a style known to crime stories. It’s told as though you were relating the story to a friend, although with far more detail. Crichton is a master at setting the scene and giving enough background information to aid understanding but not so much you fall asleep.
There’s a lot of Victorian “crime-speak” and whilst some of the sentences are translated for you, sometimes it’s just left for you to get the drift of what’s going on. Nevertheless, it’s a great tale, told well, with characters as large as the crime itself.