Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Spies in the train

No, no this title is not about a personal meeting, I never met a spy in a train. This is about trains and railways in fiction, more precisely in spy fiction. Because I am reading a spy thriller at the moment and it is in my mind a lot. I was thinking about an old post I wrote, when I was saying that the trains were perfect setting for crime stories, as it mixed motion and claustrophobia, it struck me that train travels are also perfect for spy thrillers. Not only do they allow characters to travel while being able to socialize and move freely in a relatively wide (or at least long) enclosed place, they can also provide great opportunities for dramatic confrontation. On the top of a wagon for instance. Or in a compartment. Also, it is far easier to conceal secret documents than a shipment of illegal drugs, diamonds or a briefcase full of cash. So a spy should feel more at ease in a train than a criminal smuggling goods. It is also quite practical if one wants to get rid of a corpse quickly: you throw it off the train. Of course, modern trains are not as glamorous as old ones, but still. That might be something to ponder about as I prepare for my creative writing workshop. On a side note, this picture is from the National Railway Museum of York, as you might have guessed.

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