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It Happened on a Train (The Brixton Brothers #3)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  356 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Retired private detective and current seventh grader Steve Brixton has a new career: taking out the garbage on Wednesdays for five bucks a week. But it’s hard to leave the old game behind, and on a train trip down the California coast, Steve finds himself pulled back into sleuthing. Soon he’s in over his head in four feet and eleven inches of mystery involving a fleet of ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 01, 2011 Marfita rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
This is number three in the Brixton Brothers series - I've missed number two and the hints in this one are tantalizing. There is always the chance that after a brilliant beginning, a series may start to fade, but Barnett has done it again! If only he wrote some similar stuff for adults! Aw, who cares? I'll read these!
The Brixton Brothers series is a must-read for anyone who enjoyed series such as The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and/or the Boxcar Children when they were young. Those books don't stan
Oct 14, 2015 EmilyChen rated it it was amazing
It Happened On a Train by Mac Barnett was a good book. It was about a kid detective name Steve Brixton. He is traveling on a train with his mom's boyfriend Rick and his best friend Dana. Steve is not a big fan of Rick because Rick does not think that Steve is capable of solving mysteries. This is not true because Steve has solved many cases that has stumped the police. Steve no longer wants to be a sleuth because in his last case, he found out that his favorite author who taught him everything ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Betty-Ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I had picked up the first of this new mystery series last year for my school library. Mysteries are always a popular genre with all my students and I’m always trying to find a new series. I did not take the time to read that one, called The Case of the Case of the Mistaken Identity even though it features crime-fighting librarians! So when I was browsing the public library shelves, I picked up this newest title.
The hero is Steve Brixton, an amateur detective. He has read all 58 titles in the Bai
Mar 14, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
I'm not done yet ... but I already like this one. It's utterly ridiculous (the discussion on whether or not they should climb on top of the train, for one) ... but that's sort of the point. Irony, and all. Kids still think it was funny, even though they don't get all of the sarcastic bits.

pg 59
"But if Steve wanted to walk away from danger, he was walking in the wrong direction.

pg 107
"Don't call me chum," said Dana.

pg 143
Steve had never worn a shower cap before, but suddenly wearing one seemed ve
Miss Pippi the Librarian
Steve Brixton is finished with being a detective. After discovering the ghostwriter's secret, he is set on throwing away the entire Bailey Brothers series and his own detective agency. Yet, a mystery catches his attention during a train ride. He agrees to come out of retirement, just this once.

The mystery, the danger, the humor! I love the Brixton Brothers books. Every time a another book appears, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Barnett writes a story that can be enjoyed by children and adu
Cameron G.
Dec 14, 2012 Cameron G. rated it really liked it
December 14, 2012

I recently finished the book It Happened on a Train by Mac Barnett. When the Vandaark's prize collection of cars goes missing they hire a private dective to protect a car that they are transporting on a train. Steve Brixton just happens to be on this same train when he notices strange going-ons such as disapearing girls, a windowless, sealed off train car, and more. He ends up making new friends to help solve the case and finds out what happened on a train. I like this book bec
Nov 22, 2011 paula rated it it was amazing
Read and reviewed by both of my kids:

Zhou: I like how it's about car theft, because I don't think there are a lot of kids mystery books about car theft, and I like how there's a triple agent, so Mr. Vanderdraak doesn't realize that his cars are being stolen by -
YNL: Wait, are you telling me who done it?
Z: Oh! I guess I am. Anyway, they all go to jail.

Full review on Pink Me:
Hilarious. Of course. Mac Barnett's story has a million little moments that are entirely like the key moments of a wide variety of famous suspense novels and movies. And it is so fun to have one sneak up on you. Steve is still incredibly ridiculous, but also charming. And it really does all happen on a train.
Nov 16, 2011 Brett rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile-mystery
Continues to be a very entertaining send-up of the Hardy Boys & other such antiquated but well-loved mystery series for kids. Mac Barnett's comedy will have adults chuckling as well as kids - but for slightly different reasons.
Jonathan H.
Feb 20, 2012 Jonathan H. rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit, fiction
Steve Brixton is at it again — well, he wants to retire but people just keep dragging him back into detective work. So now he's trying to solve a mystery about car thieves, all while aboard a moving train. Action! Adventure! Romance! More silly advice from the Bailey Brothers!
Oct 25, 2011 meg rated it really liked it
mac barnett sure knows how the bring the lolz right outta me. at this rate i'll never get tired of the brixton brothers.
Timothy M
Jan 10, 2013 Timothy M rated it it was amazing
I recently finished It Happened on a Train by Mac Barnett and it is now my favorite book. When "retired" 12 year old detective Steve Brixton goes on a train trip for school he runs into Claire Marinner who leads him to a secret train car owned by the Vanderaak Family. They lead Steve on a crazy adventure. Meanwhile, someone"s trying to kill Steve, a priceless car is stolen, and some people are acting suspiciously. Steve and his chum Dana Villalon must get to the bottom of things! This book is ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ncbla, mysteries
He may be in the seventh grade, but Steve Brixton is one smart boy. Having been disappointed at what he has learned about the author of his favorite detective series, The Bailey Brothers, and having been grounded by his mother for his stretching of the truth in an earlier book, Steve has retired from detective work. [This is the third title in the series.]But like anyone who is good at something, Steve just can't help himself and is pulled into doing detective work once again when he is on a ...more
Feb 15, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was ok
7th grader Steve Brixton, retired detective, takes on a new case for the sake of a girl when he and his best friend Dana find themselves on a 7 hour train journey. A local multi-millionaire has hitched his custom-designed classic train car (just like those in the Bailey Brothers mystery books, Steve's favorites) to the modern train just to transport his newest antique car back home. He's had six other antique cars stolen, and he's determined this one will make it. He hired a detective to guard ...more
Dec 08, 2011 Heidi rated it it was amazing
I confess I was one of those kids who devoured any mystery I could get my hands on, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, and Trixie Belden. I have lots of fun memories reading these books, often more than once. Maybe that's why I enjoy reading Barnett's Steve Brixton mystery series. These books are so clearly a spoof on those other formulaic books that I get a big kick out of reading them. What is so amazing is that Barnett manages to spoof the Hardy Boys without his stories being formulaic in ...more
Nov 25, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: baya-review
Not many middle grade novels begin with a hero who is disillusioned, retired and taking out the trash. But that is how we meet Steve Brixton in the third installment of the Brixton Brothers Mysteries. This light-hearted spoof of old mystery books brings us a twelve year-old former detective who no longer wants to play the game. Of course, mysteries can't help but fall in his lap. This one involves car thieves, a train, a young lady (who is NOT his girlfriend!), kidnapping, questionable decision ...more
Mar 06, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book #3 of the Brixton Brothers Mystery series. These books are so enjoyable for light reading and I love the innuendos and puns linking the series to the Hardy Boys series and also to important wealthy people in history.

Twelve year-old Steve (who has no siblings, by the way, but thought that it sounded way cooler to call his detective agency Brixton Brothers) has given up being a detective after his disappointment in his last case. But trouble just seems to follow him. On a trip to San
BAYA Librarian
Mar 11, 2012 BAYA Librarian rated it liked it
Not many middle grade novels begin with a hero who is disillusioned, retired and taking out the trash. But that is how we meet Steve Brixton in the third installment of the Brixton Brothers Mysteries. This light-hearted spoof of old mystery books brings us a twelve year-old former detective who no longer wants to play the game. Of course, mysteries can't help but fall in his lap. This one involves car thieves, a train, a young lady (who is NOT his girlfriend!), kidnapping, questionable decision ...more
Jul 12, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
"Danger is how sleuths know they're on the right track." As this third installment in the Brixton Brothers series begins, Steve has retired from the detective business. Feeling the sting from the realizations of the last case, he just doesn't have the heart to go on. He even agrees to participate in the Model UN at school which requires them to catch a train to San Diego. And, as the title infers, that's where it all begins. Steve runs into Claire on the train, has conversation with her and then ...more
May 09, 2012 M. rated it really liked it
So far my favorite of the Brixton Brothers series, a mystery/parody of the Hardy Boys series. Steve Brixton's favorite books are the Bailey Brothers mysteries, and Steve himself, 12-year old somewhat retired professional detective, makes sure always to consult the Bailey Brothers' Dectective Handbook when confronting clues, bad guys, and even nosy onlookers.

(By the way, there isn't a brother--Steve just thought it sounded better to suggest one when naming his detective agency.)

In this book Stev
Laura Salas
Aug 03, 2016 Laura Salas rated it really liked it
Funny, tongue-in-cheek take on a modern Hardy Boys-style mystery. Steve, the main character, is a huge fan of the Bailey Brothers mystery novels. And Steve is a 12-year-old real-life detective, too. Through a convoluted set of circumstances, Steve, his best friend, Dana, and his mom's boyfriend, Rick, end up on a train, and Steve and Dana end up embroiled in a mystery involving a rich older couple, the Vanderdraaks, stolen luxury cars, private train cars, a sneaky private eye and his cute niece, ...more
Bobby Simic
Aug 31, 2012 Bobby Simic rated it really liked it
Steve Brixton, only child and boy detective of the Brixton Brothers Detective Agency (think about it), decides to hang up his hat and retire from the sleuthing world after the last book's revelations that have left our hero like a ship without a compass. And yet, mystery and danger still manage to find Steve and best chum Dana during a field trip onboard a train that has a master car thief as one of its passengers. But the biggest quandry Steve might have to unravel on this adventure is the ...more
Aug 27, 2016 Teresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, humor
Quite entertaining. In the third book of this series, Steve has retired, at the age of twelve, from detecting, after the author of his beloved Bailey Brothers detective novels has betrayed and disappointed him (See #2). Of course, Steve can't keep himself from detecting., and he's soon trying to figure out what's going on in the mysterious last car of the train he's taking or a school trip. Naturally, he ends up on the roof wearing a bathrobe and shower cap...

I love how Steve is so confident in
Narrated by Arte Johnson (!). Twelve-year-old private detective Steve Brixton is semi-retired after learning the author of his favorite mystery series has a criminal background. But the juices start flowing again during a train trip to San Diego when Steve and his friend Dana meet a wealthy couple whose valuable cars are being stolen. There are plenty of surprise twists and suspenseful chapter endings to keep young readers guessing and becoming fans of the genre. Although Johnson's narration ...more
Elissa Schaeffer
Feb 04, 2014 Elissa Schaeffer rated it really liked it
Brixton Brothers Detective Agency is on hiatus. Permanently. At least according to Steve Brixton, sole proprietor of the agency. He's retired. After the last case he's had it with being a detective and with his beloved Bailey Brothers mysteries. But a mystery lands right in front of him. Can he resist?

Mac Barnett did it again--a laugh out loud adventure complete with suspense, excitement, a mystery, and even a hint of romance. Arte Johnson read for the audiobook and he nails it yet again. Again
Nov 29, 2012 Stven rated it liked it
Recommended to Stven by: Library
A fun book. Steve Brixton is a 12-year-old detective who has styled himself after his fictional heroes in the Bailey Brothers mystery series (which are clearly styled upon the Hardy Boys books of old). But this is the 21st century and he can be a bit out of step with what's really going on around him. Fortunately we agree with the author that this should be amusing. I'll be curious to see what the 12-year-old readers thought of Steve's attitude and foibles.
Kathy Miles
Jul 28, 2016 Kathy Miles rated it really liked it
Without really saying it, this series is a semi-spoof on the original Hardy Boys Mystery series. Plenty of humor along with the mystery as Mac Barnett's detective Steve Brixton sometimes bumbles through some seriously dangerous situations, all the while referring to his ever-present "Bailey Brothers' Detective Handbook". Pretty fun mystery/action/adventure for readers @ the 4th grade reading level.
Judy Desetti
Oct 04, 2014 Judy Desetti rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 3-5
Shelves: mystery, audio
AR 4.0

Great read for Gr 3- 5 who enjoy a mystery. This one is a good title for those readers beginning to enjoy the mystery genre. Similar to the classics of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, but not quite on that level. This was the first one I read from the series and it was fine to read it out of order. If you enjoy it you will want to find and read the others in the series. This has a mixture of humor and mystery which is a great mix for this age range.

Jan 16, 2012 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, childrens
Fun and ridiculous like the first two, but it takes a while to get up to speed. I could have done without most of the first half, which is sad on a book as short as this. There are some wonderful moments and I will definitely continue the series, but this installment doesn't quite make it to favorite status.
Sep 09, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
This series just keeps getting better. A whole lot of fun. Bonus points for a "love interest" (they're 12, okay) with freckles, brown hair, glasses, and sass because we all know that's the very best kind.

Enjoyed the attempted take-down of derivative fantasy series but it wasn't quite as sharp as the on-going detective pastiche.
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Born to non-farmers in a California farming community, Mac now lives near San Francisco. He's on the board of directors of 826LA, a nonprofit writing center for students in Los Angeles, and he founded the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers.
More about Mac Barnett...

Other Books in the Series

The Brixton Brothers (4 books)
  • The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity (Brixton Brothers, #1)
  • The Ghostwriter Secret (Brixton Brothers #2)
  • Danger Goes Berserk (Brixton Brothers, #4)

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