Books

Top 5 literary train journeys, selected by Christine Mangan

Romance, espionage and murder – the great fictional train journeys have it all. These are five of the best, chosen by author and scholar Christine Mangan

Steam train going over a viaduct

Image: Roland Lösslein on Unsplash

The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel

An engaging psychological thriller about two lovers reunited years after an affair gone wrong. The question of will-they-or-won’t-they speak to one another looms as the train departs from the countryside, growing ever closer to Paris.  

The 10:30 from Marseille by Sebastien Japrisot 

A night train from Marseille to Paris, with all the elements of a classic mystery novel: a dead body in a compartment, a murder without any apparent motive and a detective determined to catch his killer.  

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Dread Journey by Dorothy B Hughes

As she boards a train bound for New York, Kitten Agnew is scared. Despite being a well-known Hollywood actress, she knows that her star is waning and that Viv Spender, the man who discovered her, means to snuff it out.  

The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White

Socialite Iris Carr makes the journey from an unnamed corner of Europe back home to London. Things become complicated upon the disappearance of fellow Englishwoman, Mrs Froy. The problem? No one else claims to remember Mrs Froy.  In fact, they deny she ever existed at all.

Stamboul Train by Graham Greene

Oft-labelled as a thriller or spy novel, this ultimately presents readers with a gripping tale of intertwining lives set aboard a train journey from Ostend to Constantinople. 

The Continental Affair book cover

Christine Mangan’s The Continental Affair is out on 3 August (Bedford Square, £16.99). You can buy most of these titles from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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