Litchfield Reviews End of the Line by Bert and Dolores Hitchens

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“Born Julia Clara Catherine Dolores Robbins, prolific American novelist and playwright Dolores Hitchens began her career as a hospital nurse, and then a teacher, before becoming a successful professional writer. From 1938 until her death in 1973, she published forty books, utilising four nom-de-plumes. Her suspense novel The Watcher was adapted for the television series Thriller in 1960, and Jean-Luc Godard adapted her novel Fool’s Gold into the 1964 film Band of Outsiders.

End of the Line, first published by Doubleday in 1957 and newly reprinted as a mass market Black Gat Books edition from Stark House, is the third in a series of five novels she co-wrote with her second husband, Hubert Allen ‘Bert’ Hitchens, who was a railroad investigating officer.

All the books in the series feature the special agents of a railroad’s Los Angeles division, including regular character John Farrel, a veteran detective with an alcohol problem. Here, the wizened Farrel, a down-at-heel boozehound who lives in a boarding house, is teamed up with the inexperienced but enthusiastic investigator Calvin Saunders, an athletic, fastidious young man who drives a Chevy convertible. Former railroad bull (guard), now department chief, Ryerson, ‘a bear of a man,’ wants the pair to re-examine the Lobo Tunnel wreck, an unsolved case that resulted in sixteen deaths.

Suspenseful and methodical, End of the Line is a worthwhile mystery with a solid plot that is helped along by the understated rivalry between the two well-defined detectives, both of whom try to best each other throughout the course of their investigation. Pursuing clues to the town of Sagebloom, the place where the crash took place, the pair go undercover as section hands, eventually working together like a well-oiled team and following the intriguing tale to an exciting and satisfying conclusion.”

Nicholas Litchfield’s review of End of the Line, an exciting mystery from Bert and Dolores Hitchens, is featured today in the Lancashire Post. You can read the review here.