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The Highland Falcon Thief

(Adventures on Trains #1)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  809 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Harrison Beck is reluctantly joining his travel-writer Uncle Nat for the last journey of the royal train, The Highland Falcon. But as the train makes its way to Scotland, a priceless brooch goes missing, and things suddenly get a lot more interesting. As suspicions and accusations run high among the passengers, Harrison begins to investigate and uncovers a few surprises al ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 30th 2020 by Macmillan Children's Books
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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 ·  809 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Check out my spoiler-free interview with authors M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman:

I did not see that coming!

The Highland Falcon Thief is the first book in a brand new series - Adventures on Trains. I do like trains, and I like mysteries, and I like mysteries set on trains, so already I knew I was going to have fun with this one. And reader, I had so much fun!

We follow Hal who joins his uncle on the last journey the Highland Falcon is ever going to make. Not only that, b
Schizanthus Nerd
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
All aboard!
Uncle Nat is a travel writer who loves trains and is thrilled to be a passenger on the Highland Falcon’s final journey. It’s the summer holiday and Hal is not looking forward to spending four whole days on board a train with his weird uncle.
‘I don’t like trains. They’re boring.’
Hal isn’t bored for long as it turns out there’s a jewel thief on board and he’s quickly caught up in the action.
‘Often the best place to hide something is in full view.’
On board the Highland Falc
♡ jules ♡
I absolutely adored this one. It's one of those middle grade books that will stick with you and you probably will always keep in your heart. It's a tale of friendship, mystery, bravery and loyalty.
I absolutely adored the mystery part, it reminded me a lot of murder on the orient express without the murder and with smart 12 year olds that will make you question your intellect as leads.

I can't wait to keep reading their adventures on their beloved trains, and I'm really happy I finally read this.
Daisy May Johnson
This is such a lot of fun. I went into The Highland Falcon Thief thinking well, I am ancient and absolutely have no interest whatsoever in trains, and I came out and realised that I loved it. There is a scene, for example, where they fill up the train with water (this is a thing!) and it is pretty much one of the best scenes I have read for a long while. It's breathless, visceral and genuinely good storytelling - and one that actually made me look up steam-trains on Youtube for the first time in ...more
Amélie Boucher
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Such an amazing mystery! Fans of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express will love this fun middle grade adventure.

I love stories set on trains. There is something about the mode of transportation that fascinates me, and I think it's the perfect setting for a great mystery. The limited range of suspects, the fact that everyone is stuck together and cannot escape... I live for these adventures. So it is no surprise that I absolutely loved this one. The atmosphere was perfect. I was on the
Belles Middle Grade Library
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I really loved this book! What a great story full of mystery, adventure, & an amazing train! It’s The Highland Falcon Thief’s last journey before becoming a museum. Hal’s mom is sending him to take its last journey w/his Uncle Nat who is a journalist, while she prepares to have his baby sister. Hal thought he was going to be bored to tears-boy was he wrong lol He makes friends w/a girl named Lenny who is a stowaway lol People are complaining about their jewelry going missing, so he & Lenny ...more
Alicia Bayer
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun little mystery novel for middle grade readers. Hal is invited to join his uncle, a travel writer, on the last voyage of a historic steam train. He's apprehensive at first since there are not supposed to be any other kids and he can't use his electronics. Then he makes a friend who's not supposed to be there and gets caught up in a mystery when a jewel necklace goes missing. This will be a great read for kids who love trains or mysteries.

I read a digital ARC of this via Net Galley.
John Moore
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant read from start to finish with fab illustrations!
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was so much fun! A book I did not know I needed but now I am craving more! I am so glad this is part one in a series because I have a feeling it might become a favourite. The writing flows perfectly, the characters are all intriguing and the illustrations compliment it all wonderfully.

I didn't see all the twists coming and those I did just made me read on to see if I was right. Throughly enjoyable read which I highly recommend. Agatha Christie for kids! :)
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is our kids book of the month - a who dunnit set on board a steam locomotive called the Highland Falcon. Hal's mum is going to hospital to have a baby and finds himself on the locomotive with his journalist uncle, as it takes its final journey before retiring to the transport museum. Mid journey, some priceless jewels go missing, so Hal with the help of a stowaway called Lenny set out to solve the mystery before the end of the journey. A great read, I'm sure this will be a hit in our store. ...more
Julie Bramhall
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle Grade 8-12
Keeps you guessing until the end.

A great big heart of a story with warmth, strong characters, detailed descriptions and accurate details that keep you on the edge of your seat. Can't wait for the next one!
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read- May 2020 for Believathon II (Brolly Rail- a book with transportation on the cover)
- I honestly think middle grade mystery is my favourite genre, I've loved every single one that I've read and this was no exception.
Camille Callant
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-a-copy
I enjoyed reading this very much. Proving once again that nothing beats a mystery on a train!
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Steam trains are so cool!!!!
Angela Groves
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure cosy crime joy for the middle graders. Full of mystery, drama, laughs and trains.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: panmacmillan
Eleven year old Harrison Beck is spending four days with his eccentric uncle and author Nathaniel Bradshaw, journeying across the British countryside upon The Highland Falcon, his mother heavily pregnant with her second child. bringing a new sibling for Harrison into the world. Harrison reluctantly boards The Highland Falcon, a steam powered locomotive on her final journey before decommissioned into retirement. Harrison isn't a train enthusiast like his uncle, documenting her final journey but a ...more
Pan Macmillan Australia
As a lifelong fan of red-herring Agatha Christieness (it’s a word!), I picked this up as an easy read about a young man with a talent for drawing and a taste for mystery all aboard a train (Orient Express anyone?). It’s a fun, clever and well-illustrated junior crime book that travels at a fast pace and is sure to keep the reader interested.

This is a great start for a young crime series that I found reminiscent of ’The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie’, with a young sleuth, a seemingly straigh
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
A super-fun middle-grade mystery with steam-trains and samoyeds. I loved it!
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A gripping mystery-adventure with a stolen priceless jewel at its crux, set aboard a very special journey on a steam train of great renown. The main characters are clever, quirky and brave- and very easy to warm to, and their voices and child's-eye observations are well-written. It's an enjoyable blend of all the necessary elements for a great mystery in a classic setting; suspense, friendship, suspicion, accusations, misdirection, and a detective whose skills are wrongly overlooked. There's pl ...more
Laura Noakes
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
As a devoted fan of Maya's BEETLE BOY series, I knew I had to read her latest offering as soon as possible. I adore mysteries, and this one had everything I needed: it was tightly plotted, well researched and TOOK PLACE ON A TRAIN!! The research and innate train knowledge that had gone into the writing of this book was clear to see--and from reading the acknowledgments I am confident in attributing a lot of this knowledge to Sam Sedgman, Maya's talented co-writer and a really exciting talent in ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An ending I did not expect!!

I’m not a huge lover of trains but needless to say it didn’t hold me back from getting completely engrossed. I was recommended this by an eight year old boy that I tutor, who said he absolutely loved it. Therefore, only meant one thing, for me to read it too. It’s great being given recommendations by the kids!!

It’s a very fast paced book with short and snappy chapters that kept you constantly curious as to who the thief on the train is! I had my thoughts throughout as
Astrid Lim
I unexpectedly enjoyed this book so much!!It's a perfect combination of adventures, mystery, and travels - all the good stuff! The characters are intriguing too, and the plot is quite clever for a middle grade book. I also love the illustrations - they are wonderful! And I know more about trains after I read this book. It's like an Agatha Christie story for middle graders XD

Can't wait to read the sequel!!
Reign_ 1982
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was cute, but I knew from the first few chapters who was guilty. But to save it for others..... Howell, was a very smart person. But I would've enjoyed it much better if his uncle would've been the thief. That would have definitely been a good turn of events. Even if it would have been Gordon. ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
An excellent crime caper set aboard the Highland Falcon, making its final journey around mainland Britain. After a spate of jewel thefts, 11 year old Hal is determined to uncover the thief. His plans do not go quite as he expected though. As an obvious homage to Agatha Christie's Murder On the Orient Express this aspect only adds an extra attraction for older readers to this middle-grade story, the first in a new series. Well written, plotted and illustrated it makes for an exciting and involvin ...more
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book full of mystery, intrigue, shenanigans and brilliant characters. This is a perfect mystery book for younger readers in the style of Agatha Christie. The train is every bit a fully fleshed out character as any of the passengers on board and the writing is so good that you can’t help but be overjoyed to learn all the intricacies of a steam engine and it’s inner workings. I can’t wait to read the next instalment and find out what Hal gets up to in America.
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 4,5 stars! What an entertaining, fun and lovely middle grade mystery adventure! I enjoyed every minute! 🥰🚂 And.... 💩😂
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What a classic twisting and turning mystery. I particularly enjoyed trying to work out the thief was and picking up on the little clues as I went along.
Emma Radford
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
8yo (J) and I loved this - amazing! We can’t wait to read the next one.
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was so cute and ideal for adventurous ten or twelve year olds. Also the illustrations are so sweet.
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M. G. Leonard is a writer of books, poems and screenplays. She has a first-class honours degree in English literature and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from Kings College London. She works as a freelance Digital Media Producer for clients such as the National Theatre, and Harry Potter West End, and previously worked as a Senior Digital Producer at the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House and Sha ...more

Other books in the series

Adventures on Trains (3 books)
  • Kidnap on the California Comet (Adventures on Trains #2)
  • Murder on the Safari Star (Adventures on Trains #3)

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