Daring Detectives

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Daring Detectives

Fantastic detective novels for every young super sleuth

Mystery and intrigue are compelling components of every genre of literature whether it's written for children or adults. There is something in human nature that longs to solve the puzzle or at least be along for the ride. That is one of the reasons detective and mystery novels are great choices for reluctant or beginner readers. They have also stood the test of time remaining popular from the time of Sherlock Holmes to Encyclopedia Brown and up to the Mysterious Benedict Society. Whether you are just trying on your detective cap or simply looking for something to read now that you've finished every iteration of Nancy Drew, this list is for you.

Friday Barnes Girl Detective  by R.A. Spratt

Friday Barnes is very much a Harriet the Spy type of heroine. She sees everything around her and has the brains to put those observations to use solving crimes and other mysteries at her boarding school. Friday's investigative skills and her unflappable nature make this book an absolute pleasure to read. For another spunky girl detective story try Detective's Assistant which tells the story of Nell Warne who goes to live with her detective aunt right before the start of the American Civil War.


Mr. and Mrs. Bunny -- Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath

This is by far the strangest, and arguably, the funniest book on this list. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are the quintessential quirky married couple who are looking for a nice marmot free spot to enjoy bunny society. Enter Madeline who's hapless parents have unfortunately been kidnapped by foxes. Lucky for her the Bunnies have recently decided to become detectives - matching fedoras and all.

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Not for the faint of heart, this action packed ghost tale tells the story of Lucy Carlyle as she joins Lockwood and Co. detective agency in London. Lockwood and Co is one of many agencies, run by children (as only children can see the ghosts) charged with solving the mystery behind each fretful ghost and putting it safely to rest. Stroud does a wonderful job of creating a complex, believable world as well as writing characters that are extremely compelling. If you liked this series try Constable and Toop which is similarly a ghost tale about a government employee who is charged with communicating with the deceased in order to satisfy whatever need is keeping them in the living world. Just like Lockwood and Co. this book is very creepy so be warned!

Under the Egg by Laura Fitzgerald

Theo's beloved grandfather passes away leaving her the sole caretaker of her sick mother. Luckily he also leaves her a painting which could be worth a lot of money. Unluckily Theo suspects her grandfather may have stolen it from his employer the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With the help of a few friends Theo embarks on a hunt for clues to her family's past that takes her to some very unexpected places.  For another fast paced family history detective story try Three Times Lucky about Moses Lebeau who is looking for the mother who gave her up for adoption while simultaneously trying to solve a murder case in her small North Carolinian town.

Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence

Someone or something is killing off the dogs on Flavia's street and she teams up with three other children to find the culprit. The first book in the Roman mysteries series, this book is a quick fun read set in ancient Rome. It is a great stepping stone from early chapter books like A to Z Mysteries and Cam Jansen to longer more advanced mystery novels.