Night Train to Paris by Manning Coles (1952)

Staid businessman Edward Logan knew nothing about top secret plans, and when Russian spies show up searching for them, decided it was no business of his. But what if they decide to come back, looking for him? His brother Laurence knows better how to deal with these things. So, off he pops on the overnight sleeper train to Paris. And those Russians—they haven’t found what they were looking for, so now they’re looking for Logan. When he doesn’t get off of the train in Paris, Laurence concerned, until he finds that Edward was put off, and not voluntarily. 

I’d never read anything by Manning Coles, so when this showed up in the recommendations on that website that sells everything under the sun, it sounded interesting so I decided to give it a try. Very glad that I did. `    

This is the fifteenth book in the Coles series featuring British Intelligence agent Tommy Hambledon. That the book was written so deeply into the series worried me a little. My fears though were soon dispelled as the story doesn’t depend on any of the previous books. Actually, Hambledon’s role, for the majority of the story, is more peripheral. The story centers on Laurence Logan, prodigal son and former French Foreign Legionnaire, a confident and intelligent individual who could front a spy series himself.

While a murder does occur, and several deaths soon follow, this is not a murder mystery. It’s a spy thriller about what happened to those secret plans. Laurence and his allies race against Russian spies to find them, and Tommy Hambledon follows in their wake hoping to bag the plans from whoever gets there first. While much of the plot depends on coincidence, there is a great deal of wit in the characters, dialogue, and incidences.

My main criticism is not about the story at all, but about the ebook edition which was so badly edited (or not edited at all) that it often took a bit of decoding, which broke the flow of the narrative. 

The place whore sleepers are booked is a brightly lighted room with a long counter, in general arrangement exactly like a bar only with clerks instead of bartenders and not a bottle in sight.

“whore sleepers”! Seriously now?

I don’t normally read spy thrillers, or thrillers of any kind, but this was really highly entertaining. Not a great book, but it’s an enjoyable read, and I can see myself coming back to Coles in the future.

My Judgment – 3.75/5

Prior Rulings – Bev @ My Reader’s Block

Vintage Mystery Extravaganza – 2013 Scattergories – #19 Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Calendar of Crime – November #7 Book title has word starting with “N.”

3 thoughts on “Night Train to Paris by Manning Coles (1952)

  1. Pingback: Real Neat Blog Award II – Superfluous Reading

  2. I have read a few of the Coles’ books. The first 5-6? If you decide to return to these earlier books I would definitely recommend reading books 1 and 2 in chronological order. I did not, typical me, and yes I really enjoyed them, but I think a reader gets more out of them doing them the proper way round. As I got to the later books I did think the quality dipped, so it is interesting to read your comments on a really late one.

    1. I’ve been looking at picking up least the first few. It would be interesting to see how they compare, especially considering the primary protagonist in NTtP wasn’t Hambleton.

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