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The Highland Falcon Thief

(Adventures on Trains #1)

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  111 ratings  ·  32 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 ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 30th 2020 by Macmillan Children's Books
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Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  111 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
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, but he is the only child allowed on board due to the journey also being part of the royal tour. Jewellery
L.H. 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
Kate Wyver
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Steam trains are so cool!!!!
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
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.
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!
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 Falcon
Tracy Curran
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All aboard! Jump on quickly if you fancy a ride (and a read) full of thrilling adventure and mystery.
My love of children's literature means I am open to reading anything and everything. However, if you asked me what my preferred genre or ideal book is...this is it!
A classic sleuth novel set in a timeless setting.
My memories of watching Poirot with both sets of grandparents dates back to early childhood, when I was probably about six- curious but very
Sarah Corcoran
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: Adventures on Trains: The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman. Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

The Highland Falcon, Britain's famous steam train, is set to depart for one last journey around England and Scotland, calling at Balmoral to collect a Prince and Princess and returning to Paddington. Harrison Beck's Uncle Nat loves steam trains, writes books and articles about travel and trains and he has a ticket for this wonderful trip. Harrison's mum is expecting a
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Edelweiss+ for an ARC of this book for an honest review.

I started reading The Highland Falcon Thief with really no idea about what I was starting. I read the synopsis and thought it sounded like something my girls for Mother/Daughter book club. This story didn't disappoint. It starts with Harrison "Hal" Beck, having to go on a train ride with his journalist/book writer Uncle, while his mother is having his baby sister.

It starts with Hal finding a stowaway in the form of, Lenny.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went into this booking thinking "Hmm, trains, that's a novel concept, not sure I've ever thought much about trains before...", and I've come out of it immediately desperate to book a steam train adventure of my own.

Combining all the best parts of an adventure-mystery, with all the gloriously fascinating details about trains your could possibly imagine, this 'debut' from the collaborative masterminds of M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgeman is an absolute triumph.

A rip-roaring (or, should I say,
Stephen Connor
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A high-speed romp on the Highland Falcon, a one-of-a-kind steam train that is on its final journey. On board are a range of high society figures, royalty, influencers and journalists. And, amongst one of them, a thief.

Jewellery starts to go missing as the train lurches from station to station, and fingers are pointed at Hal Beck, a young boy who is only on the train at the behest of his soon-to-give-birth mum. He has his own suspicions though - he has seen an unfamiliar face lurking in the
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 ...more
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.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this mystery adventure set on a steam trains last voyage.
With a fantastic cast of characters. 5 samoyeds & some questionable guardian skills of an uncle. I thought Hal and Lenny were a great team of detectives trying to work out who was stealing jewellery off the gentry.
A special hilla to the Lady Lansbury who is based on Angela Lansbury, you can see the character as if from a TV screen.
Fun and full of adventure I can't wait for more in this series.
John Feetenby
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
An admirable stab at a golden age style mystery in which two young investigators try to identify a jewel thief at work on a round Britain steam train journey.

It rattles along pleasantly enough, but I thought there were disconnects between the narrative and the train buff info-dumps. Also I didn’t feel that the grown-up characters’ adult motivations blended well with the children’s mystery perspective, but I’m not the target audience here. What do I know?
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
The Highland Falcon is a very different idea for a children’s mystery, harking back to a certain journey Mr Poirot took on the Orient Express. Harrison’s mum is about to have a baby so Harrison goes to spend the weekend with his Uncle who just happens to be writing a travel article about the last journey of the royal steam train ‘The Highland Falcon’. I can imagine children would find it fascinating to read about a royal train, it has a greenhouse, and a library??? Even I (ambivalent about ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great adventure! I really love this kind of crime/adventure middle grade novels, and it was refreshing to read about an adventure on a train. You can tell that the authors had done a lot of research!

I loved the addition of the sketches throughout as well, it really helped to bring the characters to life!
Katie Fellows
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just when I thought I couldn't love M.G Leonard writing anymore, she's triumphed again with Sam Sedgman! A fast paced thriller, this is perfect for anyone who has a Beetle Boy shaped hole in their life!
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant - I really enjoyed this train ride and couldn’t put this book down until I’d discovered the identity of the thief (which I didn’t guess!).
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant adventure story for middle grade readers. Highly highly recommended.
Charlie Watkins
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this - one of the best kids books I've read in ages
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Really fun story:)
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Highland Falcon Thief is pure excellence - I devoured it in less than 12 hours! With a gripping plot and vivid language, this is a fantastic story that keeps you guessing right to the end.
MaryBrigid Turner
A most enjoyable whodunit set on a train. Like all good mysteries it was full of wonderful twists and turns and kept me guessing till the very end. I can't wait for the next Adventure on trains.
John Moore
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant read from start to finish with fab illustrations!
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A full-steam-ahead adventure that had me hooked from the get-go. The Highland Falcon Thief is a middle-grade mystery story set on a steam train. With a high spirit of adventuring and a good-and-proper mystery that unfolds with clues and red-herrings along the course, this is a brilliantly fun story that is sure to be on track to find itself set among the very best in the children’s mystery genre.

Harrison Beck (Hal) ends up aboard the last ever journey of a famous royal steam train ‘The Highland
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Proper fun this! What happens aboard a famous train making its final voyage when things start going missing? Well it’s down to the kids to solve the mystery! With gorgeous descriptions, brilliant characters and an interesting plot, this book was a lot of fun. It was a perfect length too! I can’t wait for the rest of the books in this series!
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Highland Falcon Thief is a fun train journey adventure with a mystery - someone is stealing priceless jewels on board of the last journey of legendary The Highland Falcon steam train. Harrison, who reluctantly came to the journey with his travel writer uncle, gets tangled in the mystery and wants to solve it. The story is fun and interesting, there's a lot of information about trains and railways mixed in and it's easy to see that one of the authors is a train enthusiasts, who really knows ...more
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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 ...more