The Branford Boase Award-winning author of the Beetle Boy trilogy launches her new venture, teaming up with novelist and playwright Sam Sedgman for Adventures on Trains, a major new series where each mystery takes place aboard a different train. In the first adventure, Harrison Beck reluctantly joins his travel-writer uncle aboard the last journey of a royal locomotive, travelling from King's Cross up the east coast to Balmoral. When a priceless brooch goes missing, suspicions and accusations run high and Harrison is soon embroiled in the hunt for a jewel thief. It's all enormous fun with an air of old-school adventure. A fabulous, fast-paced ride packed with clues, illustrations and intrigue; Paganelli's illustrations and chapter headers are peppered through the text. Leonard first conceived the idea when her train-loving children were unable to find older fiction with the realism and detail they yearned for. Sedgman, a lifelong train enthusiast, proved to be the ideal writing partner. Acquired by Macmillan in a six-way auction, the title is its biggest Middle Grade launch of 2020, with a marketing plan to match.
This is the first book in the exciting Adventures on Trains series, ideal for independent readers who enjoy a good, old-fashioned mystery. The compelling tale is complemented throughout by wonderful black-and-white drawings, which bring the characters and vintage steam train to life.
Leonard and Sedgman’s characterisations of the motley passengers are ingenious (I love Nat’s “crumpet-coloured raincoat”) and the steam-train nerdery fascinating (you don’t have to be a train lover to love this, but if you are you are in for a treat).
Fans of Agatha Christie, or, more recently, Robin Stevens and Katherine Woodfine’s detective stories, should adore this mystery, which, while doffing its guard’s cap to Murder on the Orient Express, makes a steam trail all of its own. The next tale arrives in September.