Bestselling author A.L Tait shares her top 22 mystery novels for tweens.
When you’re a mystery reader, there’s no such thing as too many books. Take it from me.
My love affair with mystery novels began a million years ago with The Secret Seven and The Famous Five, through Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, and continues today with Ian Rankin’s Rebus, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch, Jane Harper’s Aaron Falk, and countless others.
I love mystery stories. Which is probably why I’ve now written one, The Fire Star (A Maven & Reeve Mystery), which combines several of my greatest loves: mystery, history, rebellion and secret societies.
I mean, how can you go wrong?
As a co-host, with Megan Daley and Allison Rushby, of the Your Kid’s Next Read community, however, I can confidently say that I am not alone in my love of mystery novels. One of the most popular requests we get is for recommendations of new mystery series for kids in the 10-14 age group.
I’ve compiled a list here of some of the group’s most popular recommendations, combined with some new titles and some that I just love. Look for the * to find Australian authors.
I hope you find enough here to keep your young mystery lover satisfied. At least for a little while.
22 mystery novels for tweens
22 mystery novels for tweens – 10+
Stella Montgomery Intrigue series by Judith Rossell *
This beautiful illustrated trilogy is set in Victorian England and features an eleven-year-old orphan named Stella Montgomery. Classic mystery with a touch of whimsy.
The Girl, The Dog, The Writer series by Katrina Nannestad *
Clementine is a shy and unusual child. Tobias is the world’s vaguest crime novelist. Together they fall into mystery and adventure, travelling the world, one book at a time.
Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens
This series, starring schoolgirls Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, combines boarding school and murder mysteries – what more could you ask for?
The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
Carter doesn’t believe in magic – he’s a street magician and he knows that magic tricks are just tricks. But when Carter has to flee everything he knows, he teams up with five like-minded kids to use their magical talents to solve crime.
When This Bell Rings by Allison Rushby *
Eleven-year-old Tamsin lives next door to famous author Edie St Clair. When Edie goes missing, Tamsin finds herself drawn – literally – into a world of unexpected danger. Perfect for kids who love mystery stories AND books.
Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall *
Twelve-year-old Iris has been sent to Spain on a mission: to make sure her elderly and unusual aunt, Ursula, leaves her fortune – and her sprawling estate – to Iris’s scheming parents. But from the moment Iris arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she realises something isn’t quite right.
Kat Wolfe Investigates series by Lauren St John
When Kat Wolfe starts a pet-sitting agency to make pocket money, her troubles begin. The owner of her first client, an Amazon parrot, vanishes from his fortified, gadget-filled mansion, leaving a half-packed suitcase and a mysterious parcel. Ideal for animal- and mystery-lovers.
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
11.32am. Ted and his sister Kat watch their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye. The pod rises from the ground, high above the city. Thirty minutes later, the pod lands and the doors open. Everyone exits – everyone but Salim. With the police baffled, it’s up to Ted and Kat to find out what happened.
The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens
The sequel to the London Eye Mystery, this time Ted has to solve the mystery of a painting stolen from the Guggenheim Museum.
Winterhouse series by Ben Guterson (ill. Chloe Bristol)
Orphan Elizabeth Somers’s malevolent guardians ship her away over the holiday break to the Winterhouse Hotel owned by the mysterious Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms – most notably its massive library. It’s not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge, his sinister family, and a fateful curse
Theodore Boone series by John Grisham
He might be only 13 years old, but Theo Boone thinks he’s a lawyer. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk – and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom. But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than he expected, when he’s suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial.
Verity Sparks series by Susan Green *
Thirteen-year-old Verity Sparks is good at finding lost things, but will she be able to uncover the truth about her own past?
Masterminds series by Gus Korman
An action-packed series about a group of kids who discover they were cloned from the DNA of some of the greatest criminal masterminds in history for a sociological experiment.
The Book Of Chance by Sue Whiting *
Chance is in Year 7 and thinks she has it all – a loving mother, dog Tiges, best friend and almost-sister next door. But when a reality TV team makes over her house, she discovers newspaper cuttings from the past that cause her to question the world as she knows it and everyone in it.
The Ateban Cipher novels by A. L. Tait*
What’s the secret of the book, and why is it so valuable? These are the questions Gabe must answer when a dying man hands him a coded manuscript with one instruction: take it to Aidan. Gabe is hurled into a quest that takes him beyond his monastery home and into a world of danger, intrigue and adventure.
Agatha Oddly series by Lena Jones
Thirteen-year-old Agatha Oddlow has been a detective for as long as she can remember – she’s just been waiting for her first big case. And nothing gets bigger than saving the City of London from some strange goings-on.
Grace’s Secret by Louise Park *
When twelve-year-old Grace trades her tropical home in Western Australia for a faraway castle, Victorian costumes and a village trapped in time she thinks it’s the fresh start she desperately needs. But unsolved problems have a way of following … A map of the castle’s secret passages sends Grace on a time-travelling mystery that will challenge her very existence and all that she loves.
Friday Barnes series by R. A. Spratt *
When girl detective Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery she uses the reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country, Highcrest Academy. On arrival, Friday is shocked to discover the respectable school is actually a hotbed of crime.
22 mystery novels for tweens – 12+
The Janna Chronicles by Felicity Pulman
Janna’s life is shattered when her mother Eadgyth, a healer, dies suddenly, and Janna suspects poison. With so many suspects – from the posturing apothecary to the vengeful priest, from the jealous midwife, who might know Eadgyth’s secrets, to Dame Alice’s young attendant, who isn’t telling all she knows – Janna will need all her courage and skill to bring the murderer to justice.
The Fire Star (A Maven & Reeve Mystery) by A. L. Tait *
When the dazzling jewel known as The Fire Star is stolen, Maven, a maid, and Reeve, a squire, have just three days to find it. They’ve only just met, but when the problems pile up – an ill-fated romance, rebellion in the air, even murder – Maven and Reeve have to rely on each other, or lose everything.
Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer
When her mother disappears, Enola Holmes, 14-year-old sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, runs away to become a fugitive private detective herself. The first book is now a Netflix film starring Millie Bobby Brown and Harry Cavill.
22 mystery novels for tweens – 13+
The Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson
A compelling series full of murder and two interwoven mysteries, starring true-crime aficionado Stevie Bell in her first year at prestigious Ellingham Academy.
A.L. Tait is the author of three series full of action, adventure and mystery for middle-grade readers, including The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher and The Maven & Reeve Mysteries. Find out more at allisontait.com.
And visit Your Kid’s Next Read to find a huge and friendly community all ready to help you find the next great book for your young reader.