The Woman in Carriage 3 by Alison James

The Woman in Carriage 3

Posted on May 26, 2023 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 4 Comments

Intrigued by the idea of a perfect murder (and we all know there is no such thing), I readily agreed to read and review The Woman in Carriage 3 by Alison James. I quickly settled in to read about ordinary people meeting on a train and whose lives would alter when a passenger died during their commute.  


The Woman in Carriage 3 by Alison JamesTitle: The Woman in Carriage 3
Author(s): Alison James
Published by Bookouture on May 22, 2023
Pages: 286
Genre(s): Psychological Thriller
Source: Publisher
Format: eArc
Purchase: Amazon

An ordinary journey. A shocking secret. And the perfect murder…
Hattie travels on the 18:53 train home every night. She sits in the same seat, in the same carriage, and sees the same people. The unwritten rule is you don’t talk to your fellow passengers, but Hattie has been watching them all for months now to distract herself from her own troubles.
Then one night a commuter suddenly drops dead. And the terrible accident changes everything.
In the aftershock of the tragic death, the group of strangers huddled around the two tables in carriage 3 strike up a conversation. Boundaries are shattered, connections are made and Hattie becomes tangled up in the lives of her fellow passengers as they travel to and from London every day.
But Hattie has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. The ordinary people on her ordinary journey all have dangerous secrets. When another commuter is killed, Hattie suspects someone in carriage 3 is responsible. Who can she trust? And is the truth closer to home and more dangerous than she could have guessed?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.



The Woman in Carriage 3 introduces readers to twenty-nine-year-old Harriett aka Hattie, whose life is a train wreck. She’s always drunk, can’t hold down a job, lives with her parent and engages in casual sex with strangers. She travels on carriage 3 on the 18:35 train every evening. Hattie and the other passengers in carriage 3 are strangers. However, when a passenger suddenly dies, they bonded over the tragedy and soon began exchanging messages in a WhatsApp group. The growing friendship between this group of people from carriage 3 appears to be going well. Then one of them died while on the train. At first, it appeared to be death by natural causes, but then further investigation revealed murder. Who did it and why?

The story started out slow and gradually built up, keeping the reader wondering when Hattie would come to her senses. Although advertised as an addictive thriller, the story did not thrill me in the least. However, it made curious me to see if Hattie would finally get her life together and recognise she was being played. 

It wasn’t hard to see where the story was going in terms of the mystery. After all, the suspect list was quite short. Also, my radar went up immediately with the appearance of two of the characters. I theorized these two were up to no good. Throughout the story, they proved my theory. James introduce an odd red herring, which unfortunately did not work as intended, as it was blatantly obvious as to whom the perpetrators were.

Although not the thriller I hoped The Woman in Carriage 3 would be, and despite the predictability, I still enjoyed the story. After all, I read it in less than a day.


Story Evaluation
World Building
Writing Style
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star




The Woman in Carriage 3

About Alison James

Alison James was born in the Cotswolds but spent most of her formative years abroad. She studied languages at Oxford, then became a journalist and author, returning to university after her two children to take a law degree. After a three-year stint as a criminal paralegal, she worked as a commercial copywriter and then a TV storyliner, before coming full circle to write fiction again.

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