York railway station, December, 1925. Detective Inspector Jim Stringer is enjoying a pint in the Parlour Bar before accompanying his wife, Lydia, to a charitable function. But when the couple meet at their regular spot near the footbridge, Jim is alarmed to see a man pointing a revolver in his direction.
His thoughts go spinning back to a hot day at the end of August, when he attended the York Summer Gala in company with his boss, Superintendent Saul Weatherill, aka 'the Chief'. The Chief, a lover of guns, had insisted on taking Jim into a Wild West sideshow. The star of the show was a moody young sharpshooter called Kid Durrant, who spoke like someone who'd come from Arizona via Sheffield (or vice versa).
As Jim watched Durrant displaying his deadeye skills, he little realised how this would be the start of his most dangerous investigation yet.
POWDER SMOKE heralds the return of Andrew Martin's much-loved railway policeman, Jim Stringer.