In honor of National Mystery Series Week, here’s a compilation of some of the most timeless children’s mystery series. Check out these titles at your local library!
Nancy Drew, Carolyn Keene
A mild-mannered teenager, Nancy Drew stumbles into mystery upon mystery and solves crimes with wit, gumption, and help from her trusty friends, George and Bess. Follow Nancy as she recovers stolen objects, finds the truth behind spooky phenomena, and foils the crook’s plans! After first appearing in 1930, Nancy Drew has been reborn and revived throughout the years by way of computer games, movies, and updated books with modern story lines.
Frank and Joe Hardy are a pair of ordinary teenage brothers who frequently become tangled within the plots of countless mysteries. Male counterparts of Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys series was created by the same American writer and publisher, Edward Stratemeyer. Both series were penned under ghostwriters Frank Dixon and Carolyn Keene, but the stories were actually contributed by many different writers.
Encyclopedia Brown, Donald Sobol
Boy detective Leroy Brown has a brain full of trivia and operates his own detective agency. Solving the mysteries for the neighborhood children, Encyclopedia Brown picks up sleuthing tips from his police chief father and aides in the solving of many of his father’s police cases! Donald Sobol, author of this acclaimed mystery series, has collected many writing accolades, including a special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his contributions to the genre.
Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh
Eleven year old Harriet Welsch knows that she’ll be a famous writer someday. Dedicating all of her free time to jotting down her most inner thoughts and observations, Harriet strictly follows her daily spy route, spying on her classmates and neighbors. Harriet’s life is somewhat isolated, leaving her to channel her opinions of herself and others into a notebook. Tension ensues, however, when the notebook is discovered by her classmates and Harriet’s secret thoughts come spilling out.
Four orphaned children make a home out of an abandoned boxcar and are eventually taken-in by their long-lost grandfather. As the children visit their grandfather during school holidays and travel to different locations, the Boxcar Children stumble upon mysteries wherever they travel. Including over 100 titles, this mystery series was originally written in the 1920’s by a 1st grade teacher.
Basil of Baker Street, Eve Titus
The mouse version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Basil of Baker Street follows a mouse-detective and his biographer, Dr. Dawson. The sleuthing pair reside in a mouse community built in the basement of 221B Baker Street. Reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, Basil and Dr. Dawson solves mysteries and are in constant pursuit of Basil’s nemesis, the criminal mouse-mastermind, Professor Ratigan.
For more ideas, check out these popular children’s mystery novels:
The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
The Invention of Hugo Cabert, Brian Selznick
Horton Halfpott, Tom Angleberger
The Wizard of Dark Street, Shawn Thomas Odyssey