On 9 July 1864, after an evening with relatives, Thomas Briggs walked through Fenchurch Station and entered carriage 69 on the 9.45 Hackney-bound train. Little did he know that he was travelling into history ...
A few minutes later, two bank clerks entered the compartment. As they sat down, one of them noticed blood pooled in the buttoned indentations of the cushions. Then he saw blood smeared all over the floor and windows of the carriage, and a bloody handprint on the door. Ladies in the adjacent carriage complained that their dresses had been stained by spurts of blood entering their window while the train was in motion.
But there was no sign of Thomas Briggs. The only things left in the carriage were his ivory-knobbed walking stick, his empty leather bag - and a hat that, stangely, did not belong to Mr Briggs ...
So begins a breakneck-paced, fascinating Victorian true crime story - a story that obsessed the nation and changed rail travel for ever. With formidable narrative skill, Kate Colquhoun evokes the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian rail travel, and uncovers long-buried secrets from one of the most gripping murder investigation of that age.
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