Call for Recommendations

January 22, 2011

I am looking for books in which people get murdered on trains. Also books in which people have to survive in the wilderness. Preferably published before, say, World War II.

Also children’s timeslip novels, any period. Those are the ones where kids sort of unintentionally go back in time. Like, a character gets into the elevator in her apartment building, only instead of it bringing her to her floor, it brings her to the 1880s. Or sometimes, when a character gets up in the middle of the night, there are Native Americans wandering down a trail where the laundry room should be. If anyone can identify either of those, by the way, I’d really appreciate it, because I can’t remember the titles or authors.


  1. Time at the Top by Edward Ormondroyd is probably the elevator one you are thinking of. The author also wrote David and the Phoenix.

    • Yes! That’s definitely it. Thanks.

      Is David and the Phoenix good?

      • I liked David & the Phoenix when my mom read it to us when we were little. I recently downloaded it from Gutenberg, started reading it, got sidetracked and never got back to it. I have always preferred books about girls rather than boys, and I don’t remember any girl in this one. I really liked Time at the Top.

  2. Hanging Out with Cici is about a teen girl, Victoria, who hits her head I think? in Grand Central after having a big fight with her mom and wakes up in the 1940s, and a girl her age, Cici, takes pity on her and brings her home—whereupon Victoria realizes that Cici’s mother is her own grandmother, and thus Cici, this fun rebellious teen, is her own mom. It was also made into an Afterschool Special.

    Murder on trains, you know, there’s a lot of Christie about that. Not just Murder on the Orient Express but also The Mystery of the Blue Train.

    • That sound like exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for. Thanks!

      I’ve got Murder on the Orient Express, but I’m not sure if I’ve read The Mystery of the Blue Train, but I appear to have a copy, so maybe I have? I’ll probably reread them both.

  3. Mary Roberts Rinehart’s The Man in Lower Ten is about a murder on a train, although I haven’t read it yet.

    • I have, and I love it. It’s my favorite of her straightforward mystery novels.

  4. Rhinehart’s travel book about Glacier might loosely fit the survival in the woods category. Isabella Bird wrote a book about her travels in the Rocky Mountains often alone which was unheard of for a woman back then. She had some close calls if I remember right. I must have read a train book but nothing jumps to mind at the moment.
    I’ll try and remember the name of a children’s time travel book that features an older sister and younger brother going back to the past to meet their ancestors. The lastest it would be is mid to late 1970s since my sister got the book then.

    • I found the name of that children time travel book that I mentioned. “The Ghosts” by Antonia Barber.

    • Also check out a book called Fog Magic, I think I have vague memories of reading it as a kid. The description certainly fits your time slip requirements. A version is available for the Kindle.

      • Thanks for all the recommendations. Fog Magic and The Ghosts both look like things I’m going to want to check out.

        I am familiar with Isabella Bird, because my mother loves women’s travel memoirs, but that isn’t really what I’m look for right now.

  5. Compartment K by Helen Reilly has a murder on a train. It’s technically part of a series but the focus isn’t really on the inspector. It’s from 1955 so might not be online.

    I used to love reading time-travel books. I’m not sure how many are that old, but Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce was one of my favorites.

    • Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer is about a girl who goes to stay with her maiden aunt. While there, in her dreams she goes back to the girl who used to live at the house. Mirror of Danger by Pamela Sykes also features two girls in a house at different times, but is a bit more sinister (it’s a YA book). I think one of Edward Eager’s books involved time travel, but I’m not sure which one. Ruth Chew wrote several short children’s books where they go back in time, like Summer Magic and the Magic Coin.

      • Edward Eager’s The Time Garden, Knight’s Castle, and Seven-Day Magic all involved time travel. The kids in The Time Garden actually went back and met their own parents (who were in the first two books)in one adventure. The kids in Eager;s books all really liked E. Nesbit’s books, some of which also involved time travel.

        • If the kids in Eager’s books were Nesbit fans, that explains why I used to get the two mixed up. Eager was the one with the book where the kids land in the middle of Ivanhoe, though, right?

      • that’s a pretty comprehensive collection of recs. thanks!

  6. Not as early as you usually prefer, but another Aggie with a train link is “4:50 from Paddington”, a/k/a “What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw”. And here is a link you might like, if you are into trains, mysteries,& murders.

    • Yeah, I’ve read that, and it’s really not train-focused enough for me. It’s one of my favorite Miss Marples, though.

  7. The Root Cellar, by Janet Lunn, is a YA time travel book that is pretty good. It came out in 1985 or so.

    • Ooh, that sounds like exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for.

  8. “Stranded in Arcady” by Francis Lynde (PG here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34009) is a survival in the wilderness romance (with an utterly crazy reason for being in the wilderness in the first place) published in 1917.

    The same author wrote a few novels involving trains and murders (and romance), though they mostly involve building railways, so may not be quite what you’re after.

    • I’ve just started this and it is AMAZING. It’s almost too ridiculous to be real. Thanks!

      • Wait till you get to the denoument!

  9. […] Redeeming Qualities by Redeeming Qualities – “Call for Recommendations“ […]

  10. I’d like to second the recommendation of Tom’s Midnight Garden, and add one for another moving time-travel book, A Traveller in Time by Allison Uttley. This one concerns a young girl who spends a summer with relatives and finds that she can travel back and forth between her time (late Victorian) and the 16th century, where she becomes involved in the Babington Plot, one of many which attempted to replace Queen Elizabeth with Mary, Queen of Scots. This was written in 1939, but I read it in the 60s (yes, I’m old) and I believe it would stand up very well today. Gorgeously written, and extremely evocative.

    • I know and love A Traveller in Time, and yes, it has definitely stood the test of time.

  11. _The Lady Vanishes_ (aka _The Wheel Spins_) by Ethel Lina White.

    Elizabeth Foxwell
    Managing Editor, _Clues: A Journal of Detection_

    • Thanks! My train trip is over and dome with now, but that’s something I’d been interested in anyway.

      Incidentally, I really enjoy The Bunburyist.

  12. “Charlotte Sometimes” by Penelope Farmer is a good time slip book.

  13. The Time Garden by Edward Eagar is a time travel fantasy. Excellent book; all his children’s books are very good.

    • Not exactly the sort of thing I was looking for, but yeas, Edward Eager is pretty great.

  14. This is probably a bit late now, but in case you are still looking for children’s timeslip books – have you come across Charlotte Sometimes (1969) by Penelope Farmer? It has a Wikipedia entry.

    I found you via SBTB and expect to be coming back – I like obscure Victorian novels by women.

    • Someone else mentioned Charlotte Sometimes as well, and it does sound really good. I’m keeping an eye out for it.

      Welcome to Redeeming Qualities! The focus here tends a little more toward the Edwardian than the Victorian, but I skip around.

  15. I coincidentally came across a review by Jo Walton of Charlotte Sometimes. http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/05/time-travel-and-the-bewilderment-of-childhood-penelope-farmers-charlotte-sometimes#more. No more spoilers than the back of the book, she says.

    • Okay, that review has convinced me. I’ve just ordered the book.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: