By Roha Zaheer
The Train Now Departing, by Martha Grimes, is one of the worst books I have ever read. It’s dull, lifeless, and tiresome. The anonymous main character of the story is a bland woman who lives on inheritance in her house in a small town; she has given up her job as a teacher and spends her days in desperation. A chance meeting with a man who writes travel books leads to her with her very limited human contact. The two have late-afternoon lunches during which his attention to his food outweighs her need for conversation; when they do talk, they laugh. She only picks at the rich food, preferring cheese sandwiches at the railway cafe. Everything about the plot is stale. There is nothing that strikes the reader, keeping the story at a slow pace. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone I know. The fact that the main character doesn’t even have a name shows the reader that the writer has put little to no effort into the plot.