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Kidnap on the California Comet

(Adventures on Trains #2)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  986 ratings  ·  135 reviews
After his adventure on the Highland Falcon, amateur sleuth Hal Beck is excited to embark on another journey with his journalist uncle. This time, they're set to ride the historic California Comet from Chicago to San Francisco.

Hal mostly keeps to himself on the trip, feeling homesick and out of place in America. But he soon finds himself drawn into another mystery when the
Paperback, 266 pages
Published September 3rd 2020 by Macmillan Children's Books
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Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  986 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Gavin Hetherington
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Check out my spoiler-free interview with authors M. G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman:

Another exciting mystery starring Harrison "Hal" Beck and his Uncle Nat, but this time we have gone stateside!! Hal and his uncle have travelled all the way to the United States of America to travel on the California Comet, but once again, Hal finds himself embroiled in a mystery, but this time involving a kidnapping.

I loved the first book, The Highland Falcon Thief, so much for the atmosp
Sep 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Highly addictive, fantastically written and beautifully illustrated. This series is filled with hijinks, travel, mystery and wonderful characters. It’s a truly delightful read for readers young and old and I loved every page.
Belles Middle Grade Library
Wow such an amazing sequel! There is so much action & adventure packed into such a short trip! So good. We are back w/Hal & Uncle Nat. This time they are traveling across America on the California Comet. This time there is a kidnapping to solve. We have some brand new friends for this trip as well. Marianne, & siblings Hadley & Mason. I absolutely loved the siblings. The girl is a magician & the boy is a master w/voices & impersonations. They help Hal, & have the adventure of a lifetime together ...more
Nov 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3.5 stars! Another fun train adventure! Didn’t love this as much as the first one but still it was very entertaining and a quick read! 🚂
Mary Neverland

Just another cute and fast adventure, this one for me was more predictable than the first one but it was still enjoyable.

Can't wait for the next book in this series
Feb 26, 2022 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

A fun installment but I did guess early on a major part of the "plot twist" hense it losing half a star.
Jul 20, 2022 rated it liked it
This story was a good continuation of the Adventures On Trains series, but for me didn't quite have the impact that the first book, Highland Falcon Thief, did. I felt that the first book was very clever, it had strong Agatha Christie mystery vibes and I loved Lenny, who made the story interesting and fun.

But Lenny was not in the California Comet story, adding in siblings Mason and Hadley instead, who I felt were more of a vehicle to listen to Hal and help him solve the mystery, rather than being
Amélie Boucher
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Such an amazing sequel to The Highland Falcon Thief! The only reason why it's not getting a full-on five stars is because I sort of guessed the ending. Not everything about it, but some of it.

I cannot wait to read the next book in the series!
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series is so much fun! Packed full of action, adventure, mystery and fun, this is the perfect book for any reader. You can’t help getting caught up in the story and whisked away on the adventure with Hal, Uncle Nat and their friends. Reading this book made me once again want to go on this train journey. Mason and Hadley are great new characters who bring a different dynamic to the story and special skills that become important to the story. All of the characters are nicely fleshed out so th ...more
Daisy May Johnson
There's a lot to love in Kidnap on the California Comet. It's a richly adventurous sequel to The Highland Falcon Thief and I enjoyed every inch of it. This series is starting to have such a gorgeous texture; it reads like a little bit like Agatha Christie, a little bit like an older Famous Five (but with a damn sight more nuance and tact), and a little bit 'let's all just go on an adventure' and I love it. It's a really strong series and the quality of it is marked: these are excellent stories, ...more
Ariel • The Book View
This middle-grade mystery was the perfect read for sleuths both young and old!

I loved getting to know Hal, the new Sherlock Holmes for kids. He has a magnetic personality that helps him to make new friends (and colleagues?) wherever he goes. In this book, he's joined by two new characters who assist him in figuring out where our missing girl is, and who did the kidnapping.

Something I particularly loved about this book was that it was a mystery to me all the way through. There are just enough clu
Bethany Sawford
Another fast paced adventure with Hal and Uncle Nat. A mystery, loveable characters (some purposefully not so much intertwined with detailed descriptions, aided by Hal’s artistic talents.
Jun 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED IT !!! This book surprised me in every way. I have never read any mysteries set in trains before. Reading this book was a great experience for me. I am looking forward to read more books like this. Till the climax I had no idea what is going to happen. The ending was amazing. I liked the descriptions of the view from the train the most. It felt as if I am travelling on California Comet with Hal and Uncle Nat. The writing style was capturing. The illustrations gave life to the story. I re ...more
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hal and his Uncle Nat are off on another amazing train journey, this time across America. Lots of mystery and adventure as Hal and his new friends realise there is something strange going on. With his clever drawings and problem solving mind, he earns the nickname Sherlock da Vinci, which is very apt for him!
Jun 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This was on the summer reading challenge list chosen by our stock team.
The story appealed to me, trains, a bit of mystery.
Well written, intriguing, although I did work out the how and why but not the who before the end of the book
The rest of the series are on my reading list when they become available I will definitely be listening to them .
Aug 29, 2022 rated it really liked it
I think it’s apt that I finished this on a metro! These are such great adventures filled with mystery, intrigue and gorgeous train journeys (that definitely make me wanna go on more trains!). I love Harrison - he’s so smart! I didn’t see the twist coming and I’m an adult, so I bet for kids this is a real fun thing! I loved the illustrations throughout (you can’t beat an illustration in my eyes!). Can’t wait to get the next one read now!
May 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent detective mystery from this brilliant team! Hal is back with more mystery and intrigue, this time aboard the California Comet.
EC Freiberg
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a good mystery. I didn't solve it before the book told me, but it was fun to read! ...more
Mar 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book ever!!!!!
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is like an Agatha Christy but for children.
Once on board the California Comet the pace of the story picks up just like that of a train journey & what a ride this adventure is. I absolutely love the way that the authors take the reader down one line of thought before quickly pulling the 'points' and then you are off on another track. I also loved the way that little hints were slowly revealed almost in the way that you'd take the wrapper off one of the Cassis Réglisse Noire (blackcurrant liquo
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kidnap on the California Comet is the second book in the 'Adventures on Trains' series for middle grade readers and it is just as brilliant as the first installment. The plot follows Hal and his Uncle Nat as they go on the California Comet and embark on a train adventure across America. While on the train, they come across a whole host of interesting characters and when one of them is kidnapped, Hal and his new friends investigate.

This is a really clever and engaging children's story - as an ad
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series! First my little transport nerd heart is so happy (trains may not be my thing, but it still worked so well!) and you can see a real love of it through the pages.

Second, while I was sad we only kept Nat and Hal from the first book, the new characters were super fun! I loved how impressed they were with Hal, too, and quite rightly so!

The mystery here is more complicated than the first book, and while I suspected a couple of small things throughout and picked up a couple not long
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
I read this is one day in the midst of a reading slump so suffice to say I very much enjoyed it. Its making me want to go on a train holiday (once this pandemic insanity is over) and I absolutely adored all of the descriptions in this book. As with book 1 the illustrations are beautiful and add so much to the story. The characters are strong and the plot engaging. I didnt work it all out until it was revealed so total plus for me.
Amy Rush Da Silva
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Real rating: 4.5 stars

I recieved this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read the first book in the Adventures On Trains series, The Highland Falcon Thief earlier this year and loved it. So, it would come as no surprise that I was incredibly excited to read book two – Kidnap On The California Comet. I couldn’t wait to see what adventure and crime Hal would have to solve next.

Kidnap On The California Comet follows Hal and his Uncle Nat as they travel across the pond t
Sifa Poulton
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

KIDNAP ON THE CALIFORNIA COMET is another cosy mystery set on a train full of illustrations that help solve the mystery. I love the mix of pictures and prose to tell the story, because it really helps to visualise the characters and setting.

Hal makes two new friends, Hadley and Mason. The twins have such a fun dynamic, with their teasing and brimming energy.

I loved the magic
Zoe L.
This series is just shaping out to be lots of fun and lots adventure. The perfect combination for middle grade books! And really any “grade” book for that matter. But the characters, the atmosphere, and the plot all come together to create a story that will leave you turning the pages as fast as you can.

It takes a certain style of writing to make a middle grade book have that extra…. oomph… to make all levels of readers enjoy it. You know what I mean? And these two authors certainly did that. I
Izzy Smith
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
The twists in this book, the turns in this book, the excitement of this book was just incredible.

saw this one in Waterstones and immediately knew that that was the book I need most right now. and I found it a coincidence that it was set in October half term ;)

(-maybe don't read on if you want a few, very small, that could give you hints to the case, spoilers...-)

ok, Marianne, wow, I found her so selfish XD I felt so sorry for her parents and Ryan. I bet that would be horrible especially for Ry
Sarah Corcoran
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is the holidays and Hal's Uncle Nat has asked him to come with him on the California Comet. A classic American train journey from Chicago to San Francisco.
As soon as Hal arrives at the great central station in Chicago, complete with a sketchbook, the adventures start to happen. He can't sketch quick enough trying to get all the little details onto the page. He makes friends with Hadley, who wants to be a magician and her brother Mason, who loves to impersonate Hal's English accent. But there
Kidnap on the California Comet is a second book featuring Hal on train adventure by this duo. It's a lot of fun and mysteries; this time Hal travels with his uncle to Chicago to embark on a unforgettable train journey to San Francisco, during which he meets fascinating individuals, new friends, and innovative billionaire. When the billionaire's daughter is kidnapped, Hal gets tangled into the mystery of solving the crime. Alongside that, there's fun facts about trains and much more, and the book ...more
Kristina Watts
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that I can see children sneakily reading ahead if it is a class novel or school reader, or keeping reading well past their bed time. 'Kidnap on the California Comet' is a bit like a Poirot novel, but aimed at the younger generations.
This is the second book in the Adventures on Trains series, but don't worry if you haven't read the first one, you will still utterly enjoy this one. Here Hal, who happens to love trains and has a talent for sketching, journeys with his Un
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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 (6 books)
  • The Highland Falcon Thief (Adventures on Trains, #1)
  • Murder on the Safari Star (Adventures on Trains #3)
  • Danger at Dead Man's Pass (Adventures on Trains #4)
  • Sabotage on the Solar Express: Adventures on Trains
  • The Arctic Railway Assassin (Adventures on Trains #6)

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