By M. G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman
Hal is thrilled when Uncle Nat takes him on a steam train (the Safari Star) to travel from Pretoria, South Africa, to the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe/Zambia border. This is their third train holiday together and each of their previous trips have led to Hal solving a crime – a kidnapping on the California Comet and a jewel theft on board the Highland Falcon. Maybe it’s time to solve a murder! Although Hal hopes for something to challenge his detective smarts, it’s still a shock when one of his fellow passengers dies on the journey. Despite the death considered to be an accident, Hal’s instincts scream murder, and it’s up to him to solve the crime.
This is a light-hearted fun murder mystery, with a cast of passengers that could have stepped off Agatha’s Christie’s Orient Express, accompanied by a clever plot, with clues nicely placed throughout the story. In fact, you could call it Agatha Christie for kids. It’s a super premise for a series of stand alone adventures, with Hal and train buff uncle travelling the world, and given its light tone, different locations and the challenge of solving the mystery before Hal, it’s a super read for kids. Also it’s illustrated, and I love illustrations!
Favourite thing about the book:
The train route. What a fantastic journey! I’d love to travel on the Safari Star (refurbished, and without the criminals!).
Hal. He is clever, kind and brave, and an extremely talented artist. I’d happily read his other adventures. Chipo the mongoose nearly stole the show though!
While it’s the third book in the series, it’s a stand alone story, so definitely one to read if you come across it, and I will be checking out the others in the series.
TOTP doesn’t like murder (hence his worried expression), he’s more of a fantasy dog, but he still thinks Murder on the Safari Star deserves 9 out of 10 Diamonds.