AL Martin meets Dionysius Lardner in CambridgeA L Martin, author of Villain of Steam, has a degree in history from Newnham College Cambridge and works as a librarian in Cambridge. She loves old books, steam engines and dodgy characters, which was what drew her to write the book.

“It was easy to write. Lardner was so famous in his day that information about him just fell into my lap wherever I looked” she has said. Ms Martin researched the book in libraries across the UK and pieced together clues that she found on digitised newspapers of the period.

She plays the euphonium in two brass bands and is slightly bipolar. This is her first book.

A life of Dionysius Lardner (1793-1959)