The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

I am behind a bit on posting my September reading reviews but this book, and the rest of my Orilium readings, are too good to not talk about. This one, a middle grade mystery on a train through England and Scotland was excellent adventure I needed.


SYNOPSIS

In The Highland Falcon Thief: Adventures on Trains #1, a middle-grade series starter from MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman, a young boy is swept up in an investigation to uncover the perpetrator of a jewel theft.

When eleven-year-old Harrison “Hal” Beck is forced to accompany his travel-writer uncle on the last journey of a royal train, he expects a boring trip spent away from video games and children his age.

But then Hal spots a girl who should not be on board, and he quickly makes friends with the stowaway, Lenny. Things get even more interesting when the royal prince and princess board for the last leg of the journey—because the princess’s diamond necklace is soon stolen and replaced with a fake! Suspicion falls on the one person who isn’t supposed to be there: Lenny.

It’s up to Hal, his keen observation, and his skill as a budding sketch artist to uncover the real jewel thief, clear his friend’s name, and return the diamond necklace before The Highland Falcon makes its last stop. from The Storygraph

A boy and a girl are running toward the reader with a artistic red train in the background.

MY THOUGHTS

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did but the story grabbed me and did not let go. It might be that I haven’t travelled in years (thanks Covid!) but the idea of riding on a train across England and Scotland…..sigh. It would be a dream come true. If there could also be a mysterious series of jewelry thefts and I could make a new best friend, well, you can see why I loved this book so much. Thankfully, this is the first in a series called Adventures on Trains so there will be more rail riding in my future.

I’m not sure why I picked up this book. Honestly, the cover is a little deceptive because the train itself is a major character and….I mean, do you all see a train on this cover? This is highly stylized. Honestly, I sort of thought the kids were the thieves based on the cover art.

Instead of thieves, Hal and his new bestie Lenny, are the perfect people to figure out who has been stealing all the jewels, including the princess’ own heavily-guarded diamond necklace. The train ride gave that delicious feeling of pressure – everything must be solved before the end of the line. And, like a train trip, the slow chugging of the first few chapters gives way to the heavy speed as the mystery, and the pressure to solve it, builds.

I loved that Harrison, Hal, leaned on his own artistic abilities and Lenny had her knowledge bank to help figure out the mystery. The children also depended on Hal’s Uncle who supported and allowed independence in enviable equality. This is one of those rare middle grade books that has adults present in the kids’ lives.

The one other part I loved about this book is that it is a middle grade story featuring a character that doesn’t love to read. If you are seeking a middle grade story for a reluctant reader, or, like me, you just crave some travel, this book was fantastic fun.


ORILIUM

This book fulfills my trip to Obsidian Falls since it was a mystery!


Tell me, please! If you could take any vacation right now, how would you travel?


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