The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Publication Date: 30 January 2020

The Blurb

Adventures on Trains is a major mystery series from the prize-winning M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman. First stop, The Highland Falcon Thief, a breathless train journey full of deceptions, puzzles and clues to solve.

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 are suddenly a lot more interesting. As suspicions and accusations run high among the passengers, Harrison begins to investigate and uncovers a few surprises along the way. Can he solve the mystery of the jewel thief and catch the culprit before they reach the end of the line?

Cover and internal illustrations by Elisa Paganelli

The Review

Steam-powered sleuthing abounds in this atmospheric mystery where you feel yourself carried along for the ride aboard The Highland Falcon.

The abundance and history of the unique setting is captured perfectly through rich language and captivating illustrations. An eclectic cast of characters bring a mix of humour and heart, along with mystery and menace.

Hal’s ability to notice, and record, the small details through his sketches mean that clues and red herrings mount up as the train chugs through the English countryside, the Scottish Highlands and back again.

His relationships with his Uncle Nat and Lenny grow with the mystety into firm friendships, with trust and teamwork at their hearts.

Steam-fans will delight in the carefully researched details of the train, and how it works, included in a way that adds a depth to the story without ever slowing the pace. It is the attention to the nostalgia and romance of this form of travel that makes Hal’s initial boredom and bemusement on boarding change to curiosity and a passion that matches his Uncle Nat’s so believable.

My son would have adored this when he was in primary school – it’s perfect for stretching younger readers wanting a longer, more challenging read.

Great for fans of:

Huge thanks to Jo and Macmillan for sending me a signed copy. Roll on September, so I can board the Californian Comet with Hal and Uncle Nat.


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