Ticket to Ride by Janet Neel: Book Review

I recently finished reading Ticket to Ride by Janet Neel.

Author details taken from the book:

Janet Neel is the nom de plume of Baroness (Janet) Cohen of Pimlico, who sits as a Labour peer in the House of Lords. She started out as a solicitor, then went into the Board of Trade, then to Charterhouse Bank. Her first novel, Death’s Bright Angel, won the John Creasey Prize, and Death of a Partner and Death Among the Dons were both shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger.

From the publishers’ blurb:

On the beach, west of Kings Lynn, a dog discovers eight bodies—all young and male, with their identifying papers removed; all suffocated to death and hastily dragged through the mud to their temporary graves.

Jules Carlisle, the youngest and most recently qualified member of Paul Jenkins Solicitors, knows very little about illegal immigration and would like to keep it that way. But when she takes on the case of Mirko Dragunoviç, an illegal immigrant claiming his brother is one of the eight found dead, she finds herself intrigued by his plight and concerned for his welfare.

Although Mirko has knowledge of the human traffic operation that was bringing his brother to the United Kingdom, he’s reluctant to talk, leaving Jules torn between protecting him and following correct procedure.

But it seems the case is even more complicated than she first suspects. It isn’t long before Jules finds herself drawn inexorably into great danger, and back into the territory of the abused childhood she thought she had escaped forever….

My thoughts:

This is a complicated murder mystery with much detail about illegal immigrants from both the legal and personal viewpoints. I thought it was maybe too detailed. Its strength lies in the characterisation. Jules stands out as the most rounded character, with details of her earlier life revealed as the story unfolds, but the other characters are also believable, from her adopted mother, a peer in the House of Lords, to Gwyn Jones, the Welsh social worker. As well as the deaths that pile up (not much graphic detail) there is also a bit of romance and the involvement of MI5 is a further complication. From a relatively slow start, the pace picks up towards the end, which is fast and furious. I was surprised by the ending, which I hadn’t foreseen at all.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Other books by Janet Neel include 7 books in the Francesca Wilson and John McLeish series:

  • Death’s Bright Angel
  • Death on Site
  • Death of a Partner
  • Death Among the Dons
  • A Timely Death
  • To Die for
  • O Gentle Death


3 thoughts on “Ticket to Ride by Janet Neel: Book Review”

  1. Margaret – Thanks for this fine, thoughtful review. I agree that it’s possible for a book to have too many complications. Still, this one sounds really intriguing, and I’ll probably give it a go. Thanks for calling it to my attention;; I hadn’t thought of Neel’s work just lately and I should…

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  2. I want to read her. I checked out her first book and started it but I had to return it to the library unfinished (though not a reflection on her writing at all). I liked the characters and reading this post reminds me I need to go back and get it and give it a proper go. I think these are OOP over here but my library has all seven books, which is nice to know I won’t get started and then not be able to get hold of the rest of the books!

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  3. I love the Francesca Wilson series and I’m sorry she’s stopped writing those. I’ve got this book out of the library at the moment but I’m not sure if I’ll get to it before it’s due back. I don’t think what you say about it is going to make me move it higher up the pile. I would hate to be disappointed by someone whose writing I’ve always previously enjoyed.

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