Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Highland Falcon Thief

Leonard, M.G. and Sedgman, Sam.
The Highland Falcon Thief (Adventures on Trains #1) 
July 28th 2020 by Feiwel & Friends 
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Hal Beck is lucky enough to accompany his uncle, a travel writer, on the last journey of the fabled train, the Highland Falcon. The train has a rich history, royal connections, and his uncle has traveled on it before and written about it. Hal isn't quite prepared for how fancy the train is, and ends up borrowing a suit that used to belong to a prince. He is the only child on the train, or so he thinks until he meets Lenny Singh, the daughter of the engine driver, who has stowed aboard, in part because the beans on jacket potatoes her dad makes for tea are so awesome. There are problems aboard the train, however; there is a rash of jewel thefts, hitting everyone from Lady Lansbury, who is on the train with her pack of Samoyeds, to the princess herself. Luckily, Lenny knows the train, and Hal has a great eye and sketching ability. Suspicion for being the "Magpie" who steals the jewels falls on many of the travelers. Will Hal and Lenny be able to solve the crime before the end of the journey?
Strengths: While this is set in the modern day, it reminded me a bit of Beil's Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandit, which I loved, and had a very strong feel of a classic 1920s mystery like those of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, or Patricia Wentworth. (I'm a huge fan of British mysteries!) There are some nice modern twists, and a fast-paced, interesting mystery.
Weaknesses: I did wonder at the beginning if this were set in the past, but younger readers will just assume a present day setting.
What I really think: Sadly, my students are not as excited about British mysteries as I am, but this is definitely worth a look if Steven's Wells and Wong mysteries are popular in your library.
Ms. Yingling

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