Opium dens, brothels, saloons, corruption and wealth are found in Vancouver in 1899.
Back from the gold fields John Lansdowne Granville finds that his distinguished name and privileged background are not a lot of help when you are broke and hungry. Granville is spending almost the last of his funds on a drink in Beaver Tavern, a tavern near the Vancouver docks, when Sam Scott his former partner and friend walks into the tavern.
Scott sees that Granville is not in the best of shape and takes him for a meal and offers him a job. Scott has been hired to guard the silk trains. There are special railcars to carry the silk and it is important that the cars are not tampered with while in the rail yard. Vessels with exotic names like Empress of India carry the silk from the orient. Silk is insured by the hour at great expense and it is very important that the trains get loaded and arrive at their destination with no delay.
On the first night on the job Scott and John, halt an attempt to sabotage one of the trains. The culprits are let go with their promise that they will leave town immediately. On that same night, the two find a man that has just been murdered. His name is Clive Jackson and his reputation is not good. When the police arrive on the scene, Scott is immediately arrested although there is no proof that he did the crime. Scott’s arrest ends Granville’s new job. The police in Vancouver in that time were very corrupt. John determines to free Scott but Scott is very uncooperative. John realizes that Scott is holding back something but he can’t figure out what.
John goes forward with his investigation with his new sidekick Trent Davis, a young boy he has picked up along the way. John has resorted to gambling, a vice he swore he would never participate in, to make money to keep going.
The investigation takes John into the homes and offices of some of the shakers in the Vancouver community. He meets Emily Turner, a very intelligent, inquisitive woman, who is determined to assist in the investigation even at her own peril and her father’s wrath. Emily and her good friend Clara find it very exciting to feel that they are assisting an accused murderer. Emily’s father does not find it so amusing.
The Silk Train Murder takes the reader on an adventure in the town of Vancouver during the year 1899. The fact that opium is legal during that time is amazing. The devastation that the drug brings about is horrible. The things that Emily and Clara dare to do are humorous and shocking for that period. I enjoyed the very exciting story set forth in this book as well as reading about what was expected of women during that era.
REVIEWED BY PATRICIA REID
Thanks for visiting!