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

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  179 ratings  ·  45 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 p...more
Hardcover, 277 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Cameron G.
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...more
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...more
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.
Jonathan H.
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!...more
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.
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...more
BAYA Librarian
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
"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
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 i...more
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
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
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 sch...more
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...more
Timothy M
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 ve...more
Bobby Simic
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 peri...more
Laura Salas
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
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...more
Nov 29, 2012 Stven rated it 3 of 5 stars
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.
This was a good book I think, just like the rest in the series. I would recommend reading this entire series to 2nd or 3rd graders and up. I hope there will be a 4th Brixton Brothers and I heard that Mac Barnett is writing a 4th. I liked the 1st and the 2nd in the series so much better. But this entire series is still a great read. Great mystery series and you get hooked and just want to read more!
These books are amusing, but totally ridiculous. After I finished the first book, my son read it and commented on the things the main character did that one shouldn't do (steal a police car, etc). Unfortunately, there is more of the same in book 3. So as long as you are not worried about your child imitating some ridiculous (and/or illegal) behavior, these books are an enjoyable and amusing read.
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.
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.
Lukus Mui
a cool mystery book about a boy named Steve Brixton
Jennifer S
May 26, 2013 Jennifer S rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jennifer by: Cara
Book on CD - Another adorable Steve Brixton tale. I was with Steve on this one, totally thought it was the other PI on the train who was stealing the cars. The little twist was fun in the story. I like that he might have a girlfriend now too.
This one was pretty amazing, especially with Steve running on top of the train in a bathrobe, hahaha. :) Even though I don't like parodies all that much, this one was actually fun. I can't wait until #4 comes out!
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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...
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