Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery: a Novel / Michael Crichton, 266 p.

Thanks to Kara for this recommendation, a charming reminder of Crichton's terrific storytelling abilities.  A fictional account based on the Great Gold Robbery of 1855, the story is full of the elements that make heist tales appealing: ridiculous costumes, devious mistresses, prison breaks, and improbable stunts.  The bonus here is the seamless weaving of Victorian history into the narrative, most of it selected with an ear for the fantastic, grotesque, or both.  Best of all is the underworld lingo.  I don't know if Crichton's dialogue would stand up to the OED, but it sure makes for fun reading: "...he speaks a wave lag from Liverpool, and he can voker romeny."  (He had a Liverpool sailor's accent and he spoke criminal jargon.)

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