Murder on the literary express - top 10 train thrillers

Forget about Harry’s Hogwarts Express. Forget about those Railway Children, and Thomas the Tank Engine. Forget about The Polar Express too. The best books about trains are ones involving dirty deeds done dirty cheap. For more than a century, mystery writers have been drawn to trains, railways and stations because they are wonderful places to set a crime - hordes of strangers, multiple destinations, people fleeing from the past or looking for a fresh start. You may never make eye contact with a fellow train passenger again after reading some of these thrillers.

Top 10 train thrillers

By Patricia Highsmith
A gripping psychological thriller from 1950 that proves you can meet dangerous people on trains.
By Ethel Lina White
Another thriller (1936) about meeting a stranger on a train - Hitchcock turned it into The Lady Vanishes.

By Agatha Christie
First published in 1933, Hercule Poirot has a mystery to solve after Mr. Ratchett is stabbed 12 times.
By Graham Greene
Published a year before Murder on the Orient Express, this is a thriller set on the Orient Express.

By Andrew Martin
Published in 2002, a British murder mystery set in the golden age of steam.
By Dick Francis
A classic thriller where the Jockey Club’s Tor Kelsey takes a transcontinental train journey across Canada.
By Émile Zola
Published in 1890, this thriller is set on the railway between Paris and Le Havre.
By Agatha Christie
Elspeth McGillicuddy sees a woman strangled in a passing train and Miss Marple investigates.
By Christopher Isherwood
A 1935 novel set in pre-War Europe with a chance meeting on a train. Also read Goodbye to Berlin.

By John Godey
A New York subway train is hijacked in this thriller from 1973 that became a move a year later.


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