Mystery books have a unique way of captivating young readers, encouraging their curiosity and critical thinking skills.
In this blog, we’ll introduce you to some of the best mystery books specifically curated for middle schoolers.
These thrilling tales will keep young minds engaged and eager to uncover the truth behind each captivating mystery.
Whether your child is an avid reader or just starting to explore the world of books, this list offers a diverse range of mysteries that will spark their imagination and love for reading.
So, let’s dive into the suspenseful and intriguing world of mystery literature for middle schoolers!
45 Best Mystery Books for Middle Schoolers
“The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin
This book presents a clever and engaging puzzle mystery revolving around the peculiar will of the eccentric millionaire Samuel W. Westing.
As heirs gather for the reading of the will, they find themselves entangled in a challenging game that requires them to solve riddles and ultimately uncover the secret behind Westing’s death.
The story is filled with twists, turns, and a diverse cast of characters, each with their own secrets and motives.
“Holes” by Louis Sachar
Set in a harsh boys’ detention center, “Holes” blends mystery, adventure, and a touch of magical realism.
The protagonist, Stanley Yelnats, is sent to Camp Green Lake, a detention center where boys are forced to dig holes daily. The plot weaves together Stanley’s present struggles, his family’s curse, and the history of the camp.
The novel explores themes of justice, destiny, and the interconnectedness of past and present.
“From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg
This novel is a captivating museum-based mystery that follows siblings Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, who run away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Their adventure turns into a mystery when they become engrossed in uncovering the secrets of a beautiful statue. It’s a story about self-discovery, family, and the joy of learning.
“The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart
In this novel, a group of gifted children is recruited for a secret mission at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. The children are selected for their unique skills and intelligence and are tasked with stopping a nefarious plot.
The story is a thrilling adventure filled with puzzles, perils, and the power of teamwork and intellect.
“Greenglass House” by Kate Milford
Set in a smugglers’ inn during a winter storm, “Greenglass House” is a mystery that unfolds in a cozy, intriguing setting.
The story revolves around Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, who encounters a series of unusual guests, each with a story connected to the inn’s past.
As objects begin to go missing, Milo and his friend Meddy unravel a series of clues and tales that reveal the inn’s secrets.
“Chasing Vermeer” by Blue Balliett
This novel is a mystery centered around the theft of a famous Vermeer painting.
Two middle school students, Petra and Calder, become entangled in the investigation, using their wits and problem-solving skills to follow a trail of clues.
The story is a blend of art history, intrigue, and clever puzzles, encouraging readers to see the bigger picture and appreciate the beauty of art.
“Nancy Drew” series by Carolyn Keene
The “Nancy Drew” series is a classic collection of mysteries featuring the iconic teenage detective Nancy Drew.
Known for her intelligence, courage, and resourcefulness, Nancy solves various mysteries, from mysterious disappearances to haunted mansions.
Each book presents a new case, filled with suspense and adventure, making it a staple series for young mystery enthusiasts.
“The Hardy Boys” series by Franklin W. Dixon
“The Hardy Boys” series follows the thrilling adventures of teenage detectives Frank and Joe Hardy.
The brothers tackle a range of mysteries, from uncovering criminal plots to solving historical riddles.
Known for their bravery, cleverness, and knack for getting into tight situations, the Hardy Boys series is a timeless collection offering suspenseful and action-packed stories for young readers.
“Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein
This novel is a game-based mystery set within the extraordinary library of the eccentric Mr. Lemoncello.
The story follows a group of children who must solve a series of puzzles and riddles to find their way out of the library.
It’s a perfect blend of adventure, humor, and a celebration of books and libraries, making it a perfect read for middle schoolers who love puzzles and games.
“The Name of this Book Is Secret” by Pseudonymous Bosch
This book marks the beginning of a mysterious and humorous series that centers around two adventurous friends, Cass and Max-Ernest.
They stumble upon a secret and find themselves on a thrilling journey involving a magician’s notebook, a survivalist group, and a mysterious potion.
The novel is noted for its unique blend of humor, suspense, and secret codes, making it an intriguing read for young mystery lovers.
“The London Eye Mystery” by Siobhan Dowd
This mystery novel involves the disappearance of a child and a race against time. When Ted and Kat’s cousin Salim disappears on the London Eye, the siblings embark on a frantic search across London.
Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, uses his analytical skills to unravel the clues. It’s a compelling story that combines family dynamics, the challenges of different ways of thinking, and a gripping mystery.
“Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer” by John Grisham
John Grisham’s “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer” introduces a legal thriller suited for a younger audience.
Theodore Boone is a 13-year-old with dreams of becoming a great trial lawyer. He finds himself in the middle of a high-profile murder trial in his town, where he must use his legal knowledge and investigative skills to uncover the truth. This novel presents a captivating mix of courtroom drama and mystery.
“Spy School” by Stuart Gibbs
In “Spy School,” readers are introduced to a middle schooler named Ben Ripley who is recruited for a secret spy school by the CIA.
Despite his mundane life, Ben suddenly finds himself in the world of espionage, learning spy skills, and unraveling mysteries.
The novel is filled with humor, action, and suspense, offering a unique take on the life of a young spy-in-training.
“The Secret Keepers” by Trenton Lee Stewart
“The Secret Keepers” is a tale that combines magic, mystery, and adventure. It follows Reuben, a young boy who discovers an extraordinary antique watch with magical powers.
He embarks on an adventure filled with danger and intrigue as he delves deeper into the watch’s secrets and the history of the city. The story is richly imaginative, with well-developed characters and a compelling plot.
“Book Scavenger” by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
This novel revolves around a book-centered mystery adventure. Twelve-year-old Emily and her new friend James get caught up in a scavenger hunt involving hidden books and puzzles that lead to an unsolved mystery.
The game turns dangerous as they realize they are not the only ones searching for these books.
The story is a delightful mix of adventure, cryptography, and literary references, making it a perfect read for young book lovers and mystery enthusiasts.
“Sammy Keyes” series by Wendelin Van Draanen
The “Sammy Keyes” series features a sassy and resourceful young detective, Sammy Keyes.
She’s known for her wit, bravery, and her knack for getting into trouble while solving crimes. Each book in the series presents a new mystery, from school-related drama to neighborhood mysteries, all solved by the clever and intrepid Sammy.
The series is celebrated for its engaging storytelling and strong, likable protagonist.
“The Egypt Game” by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
“The Egypt Game” brings ancient mysteries to life through the imaginative play of a group of children. Set in a small California town, April Hall and her friends create “The Egypt Game,” a detailed, imaginative world in an abandoned yard.
Their game becomes increasingly real as they delve into Egyptian culture and rituals.
However, when strange events and a local mystery begin to mirror their game, the line between play and reality blurs, leading to an adventurous and suspenseful story.
“City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau
This novel presents a fascinating mystery set in the underground city of Ember, built as a last refuge for the human race.
As the city’s lights begin to flicker and supplies run low, two young residents, Lina and Doon, discover cryptic messages that may lead to salvation.
Their journey to decipher the messages and find a way out of Ember creates a gripping narrative filled with adventure and the quest for a brighter future.
“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick
“The Invention of Hugo Cabret” is a unique blend of visual and textual storytelling, following the life of an orphaned boy named Hugo who lives in the walls of a Paris train station.
His survival depends on keeping the station’s clocks running while trying to fix an automaton left by his late father.
The book’s mystery unfolds through a combination of text and intricate illustrations, leading to a magical tale of discovery, friendship, and the power of dreams.
“Enola Holmes” series by Nancy Springer
In the “Enola Holmes” series, Enola, the younger sister of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, takes the lead in solving mysteries.
Set in Victorian London, Enola uses her wit, disguises, and cleverness to unravel various cases, often outsmarting her famous brother.
These books offer a fresh perspective on the Holmes universe, presenting a strong female protagonist and thrilling adventures.
“The Puzzling World of Winston Breen” by Eric Berlin
This book is about Winston Breen, a young puzzle enthusiast who finds himself in the middle of a real-life mystery. When he discovers a hidden puzzle on an old box, it leads him and his friends on an adventure filled with riddles and brain teasers.
The story cleverly integrates puzzles into the narrative, inviting readers to solve them alongside Winston, making it an interactive and engaging read for puzzle lovers.
“Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage
Set in the small town of Tupelo Landing, “Three Times Lucky” follows the life of Mo LoBeau, a rising sixth-grader, who, along with her best friend Dale, runs a detective agency.
When a murder occurs in town, Mo becomes involved in solving the mystery. The story is filled with humor, suspense, and a cast of quirky characters, painting a vivid picture of small-town life and the secrets it can hold.
“Murder Most Unladylike” by Robin Stevens
This novel introduces a boarding school murder mystery set in 1930s England. The story follows two schoolgirls, Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, who form a detective club.
When Hazel discovers the body of a teacher at their school, the two girls take it upon themselves to solve the murder. The book combines the charm of a historical setting with the intrigue of a whodunit, creating a compelling read for young mystery fans.
“The Clockwork Sparrow” by Katherine Woodfine
Set in an opulent Edwardian department store in London, “The Clockwork Sparrow” merges mystery with the glamour of a bygone era. The protagonist, Sophie Taylor, starts a new job at the store and soon finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the theft of a valuable artifact, the Clockwork Sparrow.
As Sophie and her friends delve into the mystery, they uncover a deeper plot, filled with danger and intrigue. The novel offers an engaging blend of history, mystery, and adventure.
“The Crossroads” by Chris Grabenstein
“The Crossroads” is a haunted mystery that combines ghostly happenings with an intriguing puzzle.
The story follows Zack Jennings, who moves to a new town and discovers that his family’s new house is near a crossroads haunted by the spirits of those who died there in a tragic accident years ago.
As Zack uncovers the history of the crossroads, he encounters chilling supernatural events, leading to a thrilling and spooky adventure.
“The Wig in the Window” by Kristen Kittscher
This novel features young spies who uncover a local mystery. Best friends and amateur sleuths, Sophie and Grace, start spying on their neighborhood and stumble upon something sinister in the home of their school counselor. Their investigation leads them into a complex mystery that tests their friendship and detective skills.
The story is a blend of suspense, humor, and the thrill of espionage at a young age.
“The Shadows” by Jacqueline West
“The Shadows” revolves around a house filled with secrets hidden in its paintings. When Olive and her parents move into the old house, Olive discovers that the paintings are gateways to another world.
As she explores this world, she uncovers dark secrets and meets mysterious inhabitants. The novel blends fantasy and mystery, creating a captivating story about art, magic, and hidden realms.
“The Apothecary” by Maile Meloy
Set in the 1950s, “The Apothecary” is a novel that weaves together mystery, history, and magic.
The protagonist, Janie Scott, moves to London where she befriends Benjamin, the son of a local apothecary.
When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, they embark on a dangerous mission, involving ancient books, magical potions, and a plot that threatens the world. The story is an enchanting mix of historical fiction and magical adventure.
“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” tells the story of Nobody “Bod” Owens, a boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard.
After his family is murdered, Bod is granted sanctuary among the supernatural residents of the graveyard.
As he grows up, he learns about the living world and his family’s killer, leading to a blend of mystery, fantasy, and a coming-of-age tale.
The novel is both eerie and heartwarming, exploring themes of life, death, and belonging.
“The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)” by Ellen Raskin
This quirky and complex mystery follows the bizarre disappearance of a man named Leon (or Noel).
The story is filled with wordplay, puzzles, and a series of eccentric characters, all connected to Leon’s disappearance.
The protagonist, Mrs. Carillon, embarks on a whimsical journey to solve the mystery, which leads her through a series of absurd and humorous situations.
The novel is a playful and cleverly written mystery that engages young readers in lateral thinking and problem-solving.
“The Maze of Bones” (39 Clues series) by Rick Riordan
“The Maze of Bones” is the first book in the 39 Clues series, which combines adventure, mystery, and a global treasure hunt.
When Amy and Dan Cahill’s grandmother dies, they are given a choice: take a million dollars or embark on a search for 39 Clues that lead to an unimaginable power.
Their choice plunges them into an adventure that takes them around the world, solving puzzles and uncovering family secrets. The series is known for its fast-paced action and educational elements.
“The Screaming Staircase” (Lockwood & Co. series) by Jonathan Stroud
Set in an alternate London where ghostly hauntings are a common problem, “The Screaming Staircase” introduces Lockwood & Co., a small agency run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood, with his team of talented young agents.
They take on cases involving dangerous and malevolent spirits. The novel combines ghostly mysteries with humor and action, creating an engaging supernatural adventure with a unique twist on the traditional detective story.
“The Secret of the Old Clock” (Nancy Drew) by Carolyn Keene
This book introduces the iconic female detective, Nancy Drew, in her first mystery, “The Secret of the Old Clock.”
Nancy, a resourceful and courageous eighteen-year-old, is determined to help the Turner family find a missing will.
Her investigation leads her to confront dangerous situations, uncover hidden secrets, and solve the intriguing mystery. It’s a classic that has inspired generations of young readers with its blend of adventure and intelligence.
“The Tower Treasure” (Hardy Boys) by Franklin W. Dixon
“The Tower Treasure” is the inaugural book in the Hardy Boys series, featuring the detective brothers Frank and Joe Hardy.
In this first case, the boys investigate the theft of a valuable treasure from the Tower Mansion. Using their deductive skills and bravery, the Hardy Boys navigate through clues and danger, determined to solve the mystery.
This book sets the stage for a long-running series that has captivated young mystery lovers for decades.
“The Case of the Missing Marquess” (Enola Holmes) by Nancy Springer
This novel is the first adventure of Enola Holmes, the younger sister of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.
When Enola’s mother mysteriously disappears, she embarks on a journey to find her, using her own considerable detective skills. Along the way, she becomes involved in the case of a missing marquess, outwitting her famous brother and unraveling a complex web of clues.
The book is a thrilling blend of mystery and empowerment, set in the Victorian era.
“Room One: A Mystery or Two” by Andrew Clements
Set in a small town, “Room One” is a gripping mystery novel about a young boy named Ted Hammond, who loves solving mysteries.
When he sees a face in the window of an abandoned house, Ted becomes entangled in a real-life mystery involving a family hiding from a dangerous past. The story explores themes of curiosity, compassion, and the importance of community, all woven into an intriguing mystery.
“The Case of the Secret Tunnel” by Holly Webb
Part of the Maisie Hitchins series, “The Case of the Secret Tunnel” involves young Maisie, an aspiring detective, who lives in Victorian London.
In this mystery, Maisie investigates the strange happenings at her grandmother’s boarding house, leading her to discover a secret tunnel and a plot involving stolen goods.
The novel combines historical details with a curious and determined young protagonist, making for an engaging mystery for young readers.
“The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee” (Origami Yoda series) by Tom Angleberger
This book is a unique addition to the Origami Yoda series, where a paper fortune teller in the shape of a Wookiee seems to give advice that actually works.
The students at McQuarrie Middle School must solve the mystery of how the Fortune Wookiee is so insightful, while also navigating the usual challenges of middle school life.
The story is a mix of humor, mystery, and the creativity of origami, making it a fun and quirky read.
“The Blackthorn Key” by Kevin Sands
“The Blackthorn Key” is a historical mystery novel set in the 17th century. It follows Christopher Rowe, an apprentice to a master apothecary. When a series of murders and a cryptic message threaten his master’s life, Christopher finds himself at the heart of a dangerous puzzle.
The novel is filled with codes, puzzles, and historical details, offering an exciting and intellectually stimulating adventure for young readers.
“A Spy in the House” (The Agency series) by Y.S. Lee
This novel is the first in The Agency series, set in Victorian-era London. It features Mary Quinn, a young woman rescued from the gallows and recruited into an all-female detective unit.
Her first assignment involves infiltrating a rich merchant’s house to uncover a scheme. The book blends mystery, espionage, and historical fiction, presenting a strong female protagonist and a vivid portrayal of Victorian society.
“Ghost Squad” by Claribel A. Ortega
“Ghost Squad” is a supernatural adventure and mystery novel that follows the story of Lucely and her best friend, Syd.
When they accidentally awaken malicious spirits in their town, the pair, along with Lucely’s witch grandmother, must use their courage and wit to save the town.
The story combines elements of Dominican folklore with a modern-day setting, creating a thrilling and magical narrative that explores themes of friendship, family, and bravery.
“Knightley & Son” by Rohan Gavin
This novel introduces a unique father-son detective duo, Alan and Darkus Knightley. After Alan Knightley, a famous detective, wakes up from a four-year coma, he and his son Darkus embark on solving mysteries together.
Their first case involves a series of bizarre incidents linked to a sinister book. The story is a mix of mystery, adventure, and family dynamics, offering an intriguing and witty take on the detective genre.
“Liar & Spy” by Rebecca Stead
“Liar & Spy” is a contemporary mystery set in an apartment building in New York City. The story revolves around Georges, a middle-school boy who moves into a new apartment and befriends Safer, a boy who runs a spy club.
As they spy on a mysterious neighbor, Georges begins to question what is true and what is part of Safer’s game. The novel explores themes of friendship, trust, and dealing with change, all woven into a compelling mystery.
“The Candymakers” by Wendy Mass
“The Candymakers” is a sweet and intriguing mystery set in a candy factory. The story follows four children – Logan, Daisy, Philip, and Miles – who participate in a national candy-making contest.
As the contest progresses, each child reveals their secrets and the mystery behind the contest itself unfolds.
The novel combines the allure of a candy factory with the suspense of a mystery, creating a delightful and engaging story for young readers.
“The Secret of the Old Mill” (Hardy Boys) by Franklin W. Dixon
Another classic adventure in the Hardy Boys series, “The Secret of the Old Mill” features detectives Frank and Joe Hardy investigating counterfeit money circulating in their town.
Their investigation leads them to a mysterious old mill, which is rumored to be haunted. As they delve deeper, they uncover a plot that is more dangerous than they anticipated.
This book continues the tradition of the Hardy Boys series, offering suspense, action, and the timeless appeal of a good old-fashioned mystery.