Monday, August 21, 2023

Death on the Trans-Siberian Express by C.F. Farrington

First Line: It was eight o'clock on Friday morning, and Olga Pushkin was weeping on the arm of her new sofa.
Only Dmitri the hedgehog keeps Olga Pushkin, Railway Engineer Third Class, company in her tiny rail-side hut outside the small Siberian town of Roslazny. When she's not busy taking care of the tracks, she's hard at work on her book, Find Your Rail Self: 100 Life Lessons from the Trans-Siberian Railway. She longs for escape and the opportunity to study literature at Tomsk State University, the Oxford of West Siberia.
But life begins to intrude on Olga. She receives a hurtful poison pen letter, Roslazny experiences a minor crime wave, and then she's knocked unconscious  by a man falling from the Trans-Siberian-- an American tourist with his throat cut and his mouth stuffed with ten-ruble coins. When another death occurs, Roslazny's new police sergeant, Vassily Marushkin, takes on the case, only to find himself arrested as the killer. Olga wants to help prove Vassily's innocence, but how will she do it?
Death on the Trans-Siberian Railway is a book that I wanted to like much more than I did. The mystery was intriguing and kept me guessing, and I did enjoy the setting and cultural insights into Siberian life; however, the author's writing style let his story down. There was too much tell and not enough show. In addition, the pace dragged and didn't show signs of life until past the halfway mark. The-- to me-- all-important cast of characters never really came to life either. Yes, Olga was the best of them all, and I did like getting to know her, but there were too many times when I felt that she was vying for sainthood. Her cretin of a boss, her verbally abusive father, her money pit of a best friend... Olga wants to be all things to all people whether or not they deserve it, and it was exhausting watching her tying herself in knots to please them all.

There is a second book in this series, Blood on the Siberian Snow, but I won't be reading it. I do, however, wish Olga well.

Death on the Trans-Siberian Express by C.F. Farrington
eISBN: 9781472133113
Constable © 2021
eBook, 303 pages
Amateur Sleuth, #1 Olga Pushkin mystery
Rating: C-
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. Oh, sorry to hear this one didn't do it for you, Cathy. The premise sounded interesting, and I can see how the setting and so on would appeal. But pace and writing style matter (*makes notes to self for current manuscript*). Well, at least you gave it a try...

  2. Slow pacing and telling too much rather than showing are never good things...especially in a mystery. Sorry this one wasn't better.

    1. Oh well. They all can't be five-star reads, unfortunately!


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!