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I read this series around 2013-2015. It centered around two friends who had their own detective business. I remember the second book in the series had had a picture of the characters on top of a train. And I believe the cover of the third book had one of the characters holding something over their face. I also remember in one of the books has a client pay for their detective services using a valuable old penny.

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There's The Brixton Brothers Series by Mac Barnett, published 2009-2012. The cover of the third book, It Happened on a Train has children on top of a train, and the fourth book's cover might match what you remember as the third one's:

book cover

book cover

From the fourth book: Danger Goes Berserk:

“It’s a penny,” said Steve. “Look, I wasn’t going to take the case for fourteen dollars and sixty-three cents, and I’m not going to take it for fourteen sixty-four.”

Brody just laughed. “That’s not just a penny, Mr. Detective Man. That’s my mint-condition 1914-D penny, and it’s worth six hundred sixty-eight dollars and seventy-five cents.”

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I don't know about the specific cover art you mention, but this series sounds like it could be Encyclopedia Brown.

The main character, Encyclopedia Brown, is a ten year old boy who runs a detective agency out of his garage, and is often helped by his friend Sally Kimball.

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  • I feel like the only matching bits are the detective work and that the expense is nominal (25 cents for Encyclopedia Brown). Feb 11 at 6:05

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