Mystery books have the incredible ability to captivate young readers’ imaginations, taking them on thrilling adventures full of suspense, puzzles, and intrigue.
In this blog, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best mystery books that are perfect for kids of all ages, promising hours of suspenseful reading and exciting sleuthing.
From daring detectives to curious young heroes, these stories are sure to keep young minds engaged as they unravel the secrets within the pages of these captivating mysteries.
So, if you’re looking for some fantastic mystery books to ignite your child’s love for reading, look no further—our list has something for every young detective in the making!
56 Mystery Books For Kids
The Hardy Boys Series by Franklin W. Dixon
“The Hardy Boys Series,” written by Franklin W. Dixon, follows the thrilling adventures of teenage brothers, Frank and Joe Hardy, as they solve various mysteries and crimes.
Set in the fictional town of Bayport, these books blend danger, suspense, and action, making them captivating for young readers. Over the years, the series has evolved, keeping the stories fresh and exciting while maintaining its classic charm.
Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene
The “Nancy Drew Series,” authored by Carolyn Keene, features the daring and resourceful Nancy Drew, a teenage detective who solves mysteries. Known for her intelligence, courage, and independence, Nancy has become a role model for generations of young girls.
Each book in this series presents a new mystery, ranging from haunted mansions to hidden treasures, all solved with Nancy’s sharp wit and keen observational skills.
The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Gertrude Chandler Warner’s “The Boxcar Children Series” centers around four orphaned siblings – Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny – who initially live in an abandoned boxcar. The series follows their adventures and mysteries they encounter and solve.
Praised for its themes of resourcefulness, independence, and perseverance, the series has become a beloved classic for young readers.
Encyclopedia Brown Series by Donald J. Sobol
Donald J. Sobol’s “Encyclopedia Brown Series” features Leroy Brown, known as “Encyclopedia” for his intelligence and range of knowledge. Each book consists of several short mysteries that young Brown solves, often helping his detective father crack the toughest cases.
The series is unique in that it invites readers to solve the mystery themselves before revealing the solution at the end.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
“The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart is a captivating novel about four gifted children, recruited by the eccentric Mr. Benedict to stop a global crisis. The children, Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance, use their unique talents and intelligence to solve puzzles and face challenges.
This story is a blend of mystery, adventure, and humor, appealing to readers who enjoy brain teasers and teamwork.
The Secret Seven Series by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton’s “The Secret Seven Series” focuses on a group of seven children who form a secret society dedicated to solving mysteries.
The series is known for its sense of adventure and camaraderie, as the children encounter various mysteries and use teamwork, intelligence, and bravery to solve them. The books are set in a quaint English village, adding charm to the exciting plots.
The Famous Five Series by Enid Blyton
“The Famous Five Series” by Enid Blyton is about a group of four children and their dog who embark on numerous adventures, often stumbling upon mysteries and solving them.
The series is celebrated for its depiction of outdoor adventures, camaraderie, and the thrill of unraveling secrets, making it a timeless favorite among children.
Cam Jansen Series by David A. Adler
The “Cam Jansen Series,” written by David A. Adler, features a young girl named Cam, short for “Camera,” due to her photographic memory. Cam uses this unique ability to solve mysteries that she and her friend Eric encounter.
These books are ideal for young readers, providing a blend of mystery and education, as Cam’s adventures often involve interesting facts and logical problem-solving.
A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy
“A to Z Mysteries” by Ron Roy is a series of children’s mystery novels, each titled after a letter of the alphabet and featuring a corresponding mystery. The series follows three young detectives, Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose, as they solve various crimes in their small town.
These books are celebrated for their clever plots, engaging characters, and educational value, as each story incorporates different aspects of geography, history, and culture.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
“The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin is a unique and engaging mystery novel that revolves around the death of the wealthy Samuel W. Westing and the bizarre will he leaves behind.
The will sets in motion a game for sixteen heirs, challenging them to solve the mystery of Westing’s death. The book is well-known for its intricate plot, diverse cast of characters, and the clever puzzles that readers are invited to solve alongside the heirs.
The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
“The Name of this Book is Secret” by Pseudonymous Bosch is the first in a series of adventure and mystery novels. It follows two young protagonists, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they investigate a magician’s notebook and stumble upon a secret society.
The book is notable for its engaging narrative voice, quirky humor, and the blend of mystery and fantasy elements that captivate young readers.
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
“Chasing Vermeer” by Blue Balliett is a mystery novel that intertwines art history and detective work. It follows two friends, Petra and Calder, as they try to solve the theft of a famous Vermeer painting. The book is praised for its intelligent plot, the incorporation of puzzles and codes, and its ability to make art history intriguing for young readers.
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
“The London Eye Mystery” by Siobhan Dowd presents the story of Ted and Kat, whose cousin Salim disappears after boarding the London Eye. Ted, who has a unique way of thinking due to his Asperger’s Syndrome, uses his analytical skills to trace Salim’s last known movements.
This novel is noted for its sensitive portrayal of neurodiversity and for presenting a compelling, logic-driven mystery.
Sammy Keyes Series by Wendelin Van Draanen
The “Sammy Keyes Series” by Wendelin Van Draanen features a young, spirited girl detective, Sammy Keyes, who has a knack for stumbling upon and solving various mysteries.
The series is known for its strong, smart, and resourceful protagonist, along with engaging plots that deal with real-life issues, making it both entertaining and relatable to young readers.
The 39 Clues Series by Various Authors
“The 39 Clues Series” involves various authors who contribute to a multi-volume narrative following siblings Amy and Dan Cahill. This series is a combination of adventure, mystery, and history, as the characters travel the world solving riddles and puzzles linked to their family’s past.
The series is unique for its integration of books, online games, and collectible cards, creating an interactive experience for readers.
The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin
“The Puzzling World of Winston Breen” by Eric Berlin centers on a young boy, Winston Breen, who loves puzzles of all kinds. When he finds some strange wood pieces in an old desk, it sets him off on an adventure filled with riddles and puzzles.
The book is celebrated for its interactive puzzles embedded in the story, allowing readers to solve them alongside Winston, making for a uniquely engaging reading experience.
Geronimo Stilton Series by Geronimo Stilton
The “Geronimo Stilton Series,” authored by the titular character Geronimo Stilton, is a delightful series for young readers, featuring the adventures of Geronimo, a journalist and editor for the fictional newspaper The Rodent’s Gazette. Set in New Mouse City, Mouse Island, the series is known for its humor, engaging stories, and unique typography and design, which make the books visually appealing and easy to read.
The series covers various genres, including mystery, where Geronimo finds himself solving puzzles and uncovering secrets.
Theodosia Throckmorton Series by R. L. LaFevers
“Theodosia Throckmorton Series” by R. L. LaFevers centers around Theodosia, a smart and resourceful girl who has a knack for detecting ancient curses and magical traps.
Set in the early 20th century, Theodosia spends her time in the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London, where her parents work.
The series blends mystery, history, and fantasy, as Theodosia uncovers ancient artifacts and battles dark forces, making it an enthralling read for young adventurers.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
“Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage is a captivating mystery novel that introduces Mo LoBeau, a rising sixth-grader in the small town of Tupelo Landing.
The story follows Mo and her best friend Dale as they investigate a murder that has rocked their small community. Known for its Southern charm, witty humor, and vivid characters, the book provides a delightful mix of mystery, adventure, and humor.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
“From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg is a beloved classic that tells the story of Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, siblings who run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. They become fascinated by a mysterious statue, leading them to the eccentric Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
The novel is a mix of adventure and mystery, celebrated for its rich storytelling and the memorable experience of living in a museum.
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
“The Egypt Game” by Zilpha Keatley Snyder follows a group of children fascinated by ancient Egypt who create an elaborate game in a storage yard. The story turns mysterious when strange occurrences and a serious crime affect their game.
This novel is known for its imaginative play, well-developed characters, and for blending real-life issues with the intrigue of a child’s game.
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
“Greenglass House” by Kate Milford is set in a smuggler’s inn where 12-year-old Milo Pine and his parents live. The story begins as unexpected guests arrive during winter vacation, each with a strange, secretive story. Milo and his friend Meddy embark on a mysterious adventure, uncovering the inn’s past and the secrets of the guests.
The book is noted for its atmospheric setting, complex plot, and charming characters.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
“Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein is an exciting tale about a group of children who must find their way out of the extraordinary library of the eccentric game maker, Luigi Lemoncello.
The story combines elements of a classic library adventure with modern technology and games, creating a captivating, puzzle-filled plot that encourages problem-solving and teamwork.
The Sherlock Files Series by Tracy Barrett
“The Sherlock Files Series” by Tracy Barrett features siblings Xena and Xander Holmes, who discover they are descendants of Sherlock Holmes and inherit his casebook of unsolved mysteries.
The series follows their adventures in modern-day London as they solve the cases their famous ancestor couldn’t. The books blend historical elements with contemporary settings, offering young readers a fresh take on the classic Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
“The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” by Joan Aiken is set in an alternative history of England, where wolves roam the countryside. The story focuses on cousins Bonnie and Sylvia, and their friend Simon, as they battle their conniving governess and a sinister plot to steal their inheritance.
This novel is renowned for its blend of historical fiction and adventure, featuring brave and resourceful characters, and a thrilling plot full of danger and suspense.
The Children of Green Knowe Series by Lucy M. Boston
“The Children of Green Knowe Series” by Lucy M. Boston revolves around an ancient, magical house called Green Knowe.
The series, rich in history and supernatural elements, follows various children who visit the house across different periods, encountering the spirits of those who lived there in the past. These stories are celebrated for their enchanting blend of fantasy, history, and mystery, creating an atmospheric and timeless world for readers.
The Red Blazer Girls Series by Michael D. Beil
“The Red Blazer Girls Series” by Michael D. Beil features a group of clever, resourceful girls who attend St. Veronica’s, an all-girls school in Manhattan.
The series begins with “The Ring of Rocamadour” where the girls stumble upon a real-life mystery involving a missing ring and a cryptic puzzle. This series is noted for its engaging mysteries, dynamic characters, and the incorporation of puzzles and riddles that engage the reader’s mind.
The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E.L. Konigsburg
“The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World” by E.L. Konigsburg tells the story of Amadeo Kaplan, who, along with his friend William Wilcox, discovers a mystery in the home of a retired opera singer.
The book explores themes of art, history, and heroism as the boys uncover secrets from the past. This novel is known for its thought-provoking plot, rich characters, and the way it interweaves art history into a compelling narrative.
The Secret Series by Enid Blyton
“The Secret Series” by Enid Blyton follows the adventures of siblings Peggy, Mike, Nora, and their friend Jack. The series starts with “The Secret Island,” where the children run away to live on an island.
Each book presents a new adventure and mystery, often involving criminals and secret missions. The series is renowned for its sense of adventure, camaraderie among the children, and the excitement of living in secret locations.
Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
“Half Moon Investigations” by Eoin Colfer is about Fletcher Moon, a 12-year-old certified detective, nicknamed “Half Moon” due to his small stature. Fletcher finds himself entangled in a serious crime investigation in his school, where he must navigate through a web of lies and deceit.
This novel is known for its humor, clever plot, and the unique perspective of a young detective in a school setting.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series by Maryrose Wood
“The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series” by Maryrose Wood is about a young governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, who is hired to educate three children that were found living in the wild.
Set in Victorian England, the series combines mystery with humor and adventure as Penelope unravels the mystery behind the children’s past and the secrets of Ashton Place. These books are noted for their witty writing style and the delightful blend of historical and fantastical elements.
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
“The Blackthorn Key” by Kevin Sands is set in 17th century London, following Christopher Rowe, an apprentice to a master apothecary. The story delves into a world of codes, puzzles, and conspiracies after a series of murders threatens the apothecaries.
Christopher must use his wits and knowledge to solve the mystery. The book is celebrated for its historical detail, engaging narrative, and the blend of mystery and adventure.
The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius
“The Murderer’s Ape” by Jakob Wegelius is a unique story told from the perspective of Sally Jones, a highly intelligent gorilla. The plot revolves around Sally Jones’s journey to prove the innocence of her friend, the Chief, who is wrongly accused of murder.
Set in various exotic locations, the story weaves elements of adventure, mystery, and deep emotional connections. It’s known for its rich storytelling, intriguing characters, and a narrative that challenges the boundaries of traditional children’s literature.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
“The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill is an enchanting tale that blends fantasy and mystery. It tells the story of a young girl named Luna, who is accidentally imbued with moon magic and raised by a witch named Xan.
The novel explores themes of love, magic, and the complexity of human nature. It is celebrated for its beautiful prose, complex characters, and the depth of its magical world.
Book Scavenger Series by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
The “Book Scavenger Series” by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is centered around Emily and her friend James, who engage in a city-wide book scavenging game.
When they find an unusual book, they find themselves in the middle of a mysterious and dangerous puzzle. The series is known for its clever integration of puzzles and ciphers, its celebration of literature, and its engaging adventures that cleverly blend fiction with real-life literary culture.
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
“Liar & Spy” by Rebecca Stead is a captivating story about Georges (the ‘s’ is silent), a middle-school boy who moves into a new apartment building and meets Safer, a boy who runs a spy club. As Georges becomes involved in Safer’s espionage missions, he learns about trust, friendship, and the complexities of human relationships.
The novel is praised for its realistic portrayal of adolescence, its subtle mysteries, and its thought-provoking themes.
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
“The Candymakers” by Wendy Mass is a sweet and intriguing tale set in a candy factory, where four children – Logan, Daisy, Philip, and Miles – compete in a national candy-making contest. As the story unfolds, secrets are revealed, and the children learn about friendship, loyalty, and the art of candy making.
This book is beloved for its imaginative setting, its complex and interwoven plotlines, and its delightful descriptions of candies and confections.
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
“The Goldfish Boy” by Lisa Thompson is a touching story about Matthew, a boy with obsessive-compulsive disorder who spends most of his time watching his neighbors from his window.
When a toddler goes missing from the house next door, Matthew finds himself at the center of a mystery. The novel is noted for its sensitive portrayal of mental health issues, its engaging mystery, and its realistic and relatable characters.
The Spy School Series by Stuart Gibbs
“The Spy School Series” by Stuart Gibbs follows Ben Ripley, a middle schooler who is recruited into a covert spy school by the CIA. The series is packed with action, espionage, and humor as Ben navigates his way through the world of secret missions and spy training, while also dealing with the usual challenges of adolescence.
The books are popular for their exciting plots, witty humor, and the thrilling world of espionage they portray.
The Griffin Gate by Vashti Hardy
“The Griffin Gate” by Vashti Hardy is set in a fantastical world where Grace Griffin and her family are responsible for maintaining order in their region using a teleportation device known as the Griffin Map.
When a call for help comes from a distant village, Grace defies orders and uses the Map to solve what seems like a simple problem, only to discover a deeper mystery.
This book is known for its imaginative setting, strong female protagonist, and an engaging plot that combines adventure with elements of science fiction and fantasy.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon is a mystery novel narrated by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy with autism. Christopher discovers the dead body of a neighborhood dog and decides to solve the mystery of its death.
The story is notable for its unique perspective, offering insight into Christopher’s mind as he navigates a world that often feels overwhelming and confusing to him. The novel is praised for its portrayal of neurodiversity, its engaging narrative style, and its heartfelt exploration of family and independence.
The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan
“The Detective’s Assistant” by Kate Hannigan is a historical fiction novel based on the true story of America’s first female detective, Kate Warne.
The story follows Nell Warne, a young orphan who joins her aunt, Kate Warne, in solving mysteries in the mid-19th century. This novel is acclaimed for its rich historical context, engaging mystery plots, and its portrayal of strong, intelligent female characters.
The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher
“The Wig in the Window” by Kristen Kittscher is a mystery adventure featuring young sleuths Sophie Young and Grace Yang. When the girls suspect their school counselor of a heinous crime, they find themselves embroiled in a real-life mystery.
The novel is known for its humor, well-developed characters, and for offering a realistic depiction of friendship dynamics among young adolescents.
The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine
“The Clockwork Sparrow” by Katherine Woodfine, set in Edwardian London, follows Sophie Taylor, a young shop girl at the Sinclair’s Department Store, who gets entangled in a mystery involving a precious artifact, the Clockwork Sparrow.
The book combines historical fiction with mystery and is celebrated for its atmospheric setting, engaging plot, and strong female protagonist.
The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
“The Sixty-Eight Rooms” by Marianne Malone is an adventure novel inspired by the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago. The story follows Ruthie and Jack, who discover magical keys that allow them to shrink and explore the miniature rooms.
As they uncover secrets and adventures within these tiny worlds, the book captivates readers with its blend of art, history, and magic.
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry
“The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place” by Julie Berry is a Victorian-era mystery featuring seven young ladies at Saint Etheldreda’s School for Girls. When their headmistress and her brother suddenly die, the girls decide to hide the deaths and run the school themselves.
This book is known for its blend of humor, suspense, and a cast of diverse and strong-willed female characters, each with their own unique skills and personalities.
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
“The Boundless” by Kenneth Oppel is an epic adventure set aboard the Boundless, the longest and most luxurious train ever built. The story follows young Will Everett, who is on a thrilling journey across the country.
Filled with fantastical creatures, a traveling circus, and dangerous villains, this novel is celebrated for its fast-paced plot, imaginative setting, and the seamless integration of historical elements with fantasy.
Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein
“Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics” by Chris Grabenstein is the sequel to “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.”
This installment brings back Kyle Keeley and his friends for another series of book-based games and puzzles, this time in the form of an Olympics-themed competition. The novel continues to charm its readers with ingenious puzzles, a love of literature, and a quirky, humorous style.
The Van Gogh Deception by Deron R. Hicks
“The Van Gogh Deception” by Deron R. Hicks is a thrilling mystery that combines art history with suspenseful adventure. The story revolves around a young boy, Art, who suffers from amnesia and finds himself embroiled in a plot involving a Van Gogh painting.
As he tries to piece together his identity, he uncovers a dangerous art forgery scheme. The novel is praised for its fast-paced plot, educational insights into art history, and engaging narrative that keeps readers guessing.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin
“The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)” by Ellen Raskin is a whimsical and cleverly written mystery.
The story follows Mrs. Carillon, who embarks on a bizarre journey to find her husband, Leon, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
The book is known for its unique blend of humor, wordplay, and puzzle-solving, making it an intriguing read for young mystery enthusiasts.
The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart
“The Secret Keepers” by Trenton Lee Stewart is a gripping tale of adventure and mystery. The story centers around Reuben, a young boy who discovers a peculiar watch that grants him invisibility.
He finds himself caught in a city-wide battle against a sinister figure known as The Smoke, uncovering secrets and conspiracies along the way. The novel is celebrated for its imaginative plot, well-developed characters, and the underlying themes of courage and friendship.
The Explorers Club Series by Adrienne Kress
The “Explorers Club Series” by Adrienne Kress is a delightful adventure series featuring a group of brilliant and quirky kids recruited by a mysterious organization known as The Explorers Club.
Each book presents a new adventure filled with danger, humor, and inventive gadgets. The series is known for its entertaining narrative, diverse and relatable characters, and the excitement of exploring unknown territories.
The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
“The Island of Dr. Libris” by Chris Grabenstein follows Billy, who discovers that the cabin he’s staying in for the summer belongs to the mysterious Dr. Libris. When Billy starts reading the books in Dr. Libris’ library, he realizes that the stories come to life on the mysterious island in the middle of the lake.
This novel combines elements of fantasy and adventure, as Billy interacts with famous literary characters and embarks on thrilling escapades.
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls by Holly Grant
“The League of Beastly Dreadfuls” by Holly Grant is a charmingly quirky tale of Anastasia, a girl who is supposedly rescued by her two great-aunts after a tragic vacuum cleaner incident.
However, she soon discovers that her aunts are not what they seem, and she is trapped in their sinister Victorian home. The book is known for its gothic setting, humorous narrative, and the thrilling journey of discovery and survival.
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
“The House with Chicken Legs” by Sophie Anderson is a captivating story inspired by Russian folklore.
It follows Marinka, a 12-year-old girl whose grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides spirits from the human world to the afterlife. Longing for a normal life, Marinka embarks on a journey of self-discovery and adventure.
The novel is praised for its imaginative storytelling, rich cultural background, and themes of identity and belonging.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
“The Parker Inheritance” by Varian Johnson is a mystery novel that interweaves past and present.
The story follows Candice, who discovers a letter that hints at a hidden fortune in her grandmother’s hometown. Teaming up with her new friend Brandon, they delve into the town’s history and uncover deeply buried secrets about race, identity, and a past injustice.
The book is lauded for its engaging mystery, historical depth, and its exploration of important social themes.