TOP TEN DETECTIVE STORIES FOR KIDS by Karen Perry
A detective stories are actually a subset of the mystery genre. And readers love the behind the scenes view of the story they get in following a main character who is a detective. This list is my personal Top Ten Detective Stories where one or more characters are actively trying to learn skills to become a detective.
Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
“I, Nate the Great” can find no better beginning reader series, especially featuring the watchdog Fang. Series began in 70’s, over 20 books.
Jack Russell, Dog Detective by Darrel and Sally Odgers
In the first volume, Dog Den Mystery, Jack solves the problem of his missing squeaker bone and blanket. Cute and funny. Series has about 10 books.
The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case by Alexander McCall-Smith. Sequel coming in Oct ’13: Mystery of Meerkat Hill.
A picture book story that introduces Precious and how she decided to become a detective. The audio is narrated by Adjoa Andoh – wonderful!
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Recently reprinted by Puffin, this classic series of a boy helping solve crimes for his police chief father still has the ability to rivet readers.
Judy Moody, Girl Detective (#9) by Megan McDonald
Judy is in a sleuthing mood and snoops until she finds a mystery to solve. References lots of Nancy Drew mystery titles. Fun and typical Judy.
Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison
OK, Gilda wants to use her psychic powers to detect but this is quite a frightening and funny first case. Series has over half a dozen titles.
100-year-old Secret (Sherlock Files) by Tracy Barrett
Xena and Xander Holmes, Sherlock’s great-great-great grandchildren arrive in London and are scarcely settled into school when they receive a note to go to the Dancing Men Pub and the adventures begin. Four books in series so far.
Middle School Titles
Enola Homes Mysteries by Nancy Springer
In the first installment of this series, The Case of the Missing Marquess, we meet Enola, younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. Her mother is missing and she is trying to apply what she knows of detecting methods to find her. Enola squirms her way around many issues facing women in the 1880s and we learn interesting details about her older brothers. Half a dozen books in the series.
Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson
Set in a world where fairy tales are fact, the two Grimm sisters are sent to live with their grandmother Relda Grimm and find that the famous fairy tales written by their ancestor are really case files. Book 9: The Council of Mirrors was just published.
Death Cloud (Sherlock Holmes, the Legend Begins) by Andrew Lane
Tutored by American Amyus Crowe, fourteen-year-old Sherlock has been placed for school break with his strange aunt and uncle in the Hampshire countryside when two unexplained deaths occur. Crowe helps Sherlock develop his powers of observation and detection. Following are Rebel Fire, Black Ice and, due out in Oct 2013, Fire Storm.
Karen Perry is a retired school librarian who now has the title of Reviewer, Books for Youth at Greensboro News and Record in Greensboro, NC.
Great list – thanks. I have a Jack Russell – had no idea that the series existed. I will be reading it soon!
What a fun list! I’m not familiar with some of these, but I loved Nate the Great books when my son was younger. Thanks for sharing such useful information.
Two other suggestions are :
Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders by Kevin Sylvester.
Eye of the Crow: The Young Sherlock Holmes by Shane Peacock.
Oh, lots of new to me recs. I loved Encyclopedia Brown as a kid (but somehow forgot about him until just now). Thanks!
These are great, definitely books I gobbled up as a kid. But for today’s generation, I highly recommend Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mystery series for middle-grade readers. Flavia has an absolutely fantastic voice, a mix between chemistry genius and curious 11-year-old with a bicycle named Gladys.
Great mix! Encyclopedia Brown is a must-have for those who like detective stories. May I also recommend THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin for grades 4 and up? Brilliant book, brilliant mystery – will always be one of my favorites. 🙂
My eight year old is going into third grade and she loves the Three Cousins Detective Club mysteries as well as the A to Z mysteries. Just two more choices to add to the list. Happy reading to children everywhere!
Thanks for this. Printing it off.
Kids do love mysteries – thanks for compiling this excellent list!
I’d also like to remind readers that Seymour Simon’s new series of updated mysteries, EINSTEIN ANDERSON: SCIENCE GEEK is also a good choice for middle grade readers. And, it’s particularly unique because each chapter book combines fiction and nonfiction – a fictional mystery plus a related project or experiment for kids to try. Learn more in Seymour’s Nerdy Book Club blog from earlier this summer: https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/mystery-solved-fiction-meets-nonfiction-in-einstein-anderson-science-geek-by-seymour-simon/#comment-16417
I agree with Aileen – happy reading to children everywhere!
Liz Nealon, Publisher, StarWalk Kids Media
do u have detective books for middle aged readers?
i agree with all the words
thank you i also recommend B magical by Lexi Conner