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It is Autumn 1856 and trains are making the population more mobile. Brighton has become one of the main destinations for recreation. The increase in rail traffic has coincided with a rise in derailments and the death. When the Brighton Express is derailed, killing the driver and eleven passengers and injuring many more, the railway company conducts a cursory investigation.
Their assumption is that the train driver was going too fast causing the train to go off the tracks. Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck doesn’t agree with their findings. He knows the driver was a very careful man who was proud of his job and his safety record. Colbeck cannot believe the driver would have made such a basic error.
Colbeck and his sergeant find evidence missed by the Railway investigators which sends them on a path to uncover the true culprit and the motive.