Mystery Book List for Elementary, Tweens, and Teens!

Calling all mystery lovers!

Mystery book list for all ages! Whether or not you’re planning to see Murder on the Orient Express this month, you likely have a mystery fan in the house. What can they read when they’ve exhausted the library’s stash of Boxcar Children, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys?

Read on!

Mystery Book List for Elementary, Tweens, and Teens!

Three Lists

We’re putting these lists in one post because, honestly, “reading level” lines get very fuzzy with mysteries. Age ranges are only a suggestion. Voracious readers will likely read up; slower readers may want to ponder an easier title as they figure out clues.

Per usual, titles are linked to RR reviews where applicable. As always, we recommend reading reviews to determine appropriateness for your family!

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Elementary List

The Elementary list targets elementary school-aged kids (~ages 6-10) who read independently, but aren’t quite ready for more complex fare. Most strong readers will age up easily into the Tween list, but do read reviews first if your child is on the younger side.

Tween List

The “Tween” list is geared to middle school kids (~ 10-14 age range) who enjoy the usual middle grades fare and have a wide range of interests (even if they’re older/younger). These titles are a bit more complex than those on the elementary list.

Stand Alones
Series Titles

Teen/Adult List

The “Teen” list is geared to kids ages 12 and up–and their parents!–who are fully hooked on the “mystery” genre, appreciate a certain level of sophistication in their reading, and won’t be bothered by occasional language or innuendo; many of the books on the teen list are actually adult novels, so look for them in your library’s adult mystery stacks rather than in the Teen or YA stacks.

*note: Some of the series listed below have the first-in-the-series identified. None of them “must” be read in order for the individual mysteries, but these authors do a great job of developing their characters as the series progress. You might consider reading in order!

  • Lois Lane series by Gwenda Bond (YA)
  • Nobody’s Secret by Michaela McCall (YA)
  • Steeplejack by A. J. Hartley (YA)
  • The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy (YA)
  • York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (YA)
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones (Brother Cadfael mysteries) by Ellis Peters (set in Medieval England) (Adult)
  • Agatha Christie’s mysteries (Adult)
  • Daughter of Time/Allen Grant series (and others) by Josephine Tey (Adult)
  • Father Brown mysteries by G. K. Chesterton (Adult)
  • Inspector Felse (series) by Ellis Peters (set in modern, postwar England) (Adult)
  • Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allen Poe (Adult)
  • The 39 Steps by John Buchan (Adult)
  • The Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody series) by Elizabeth Peters (set in archeological dig sites in Egypt) (Adult)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles and others by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (Adult; this is the official “first” mystery novel!)
  • The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (series) by Alexander McCall Smith (Adult)
  • The Red House by A. A. Milne (Adult); yes–the same author as Winnie-the-Pooh!
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Adult)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Von Orczy (Adult)
  • Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey series) by Dorothy Sayers (Adult)

OK, Mystery Lovers, which of your favorites did we miss? We love adding to our lists! Or, you can tell us which of these are already on your personal favorites list. Let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget–you can get the updated list in your inbox by signing up below.

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Betsy

Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.

18 Comments

  1. Debbie on November 8, 2017 at 4:36 am

    What do the asterisks denote in the tween list? They don’t seem to be series starters, as in the teen section.

    • Our Team Betsy on November 8, 2017 at 5:48 am

      Great question, Debbie! They simply refer to “starred reviews”–books (or series) that we think are the best of the best in their genre. (Your comment alerted me to the fact that I forgot to link two of those to our existing reviews–that may have helped!).

  2. Julie Zilkie on November 10, 2017 at 6:26 am

    We really love the series by Alan Bradley . I believe the first one is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. They have a 11 year old sleuth named Flavia as the main character, but are considered adult books. Very, very clever!!

    • Our Team Betsy on November 10, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Trent Jessup on December 30, 2018 at 12:55 am

      I “second” Julie’s nomination of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novels. They’re some of the best-written fiction I’ve ever read, and definitely “clean” reads!

  3. The Warren & the World Vol 5, Issue 44 ‹ Story Warren on November 11, 2017 at 3:00 am

    […] Read more. […]

  4. Holly on October 26, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Ooh, a little late to the game but I was looking for age-appropriate spooky books for my sister’s classroom, and these are perfect! I would also suggest “My Favorite Thing is Monsters,” which is a graphic novel featuring a 10-year old protagonist.

    • Mystery Book List for Elementary, Tweens, and Teens! Janie on October 29, 2018 at 7:40 am

      Thanks, Holly! We loooove recommendations!

  5. Gifted Mother on March 16, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    My advanced 5.5 year old is reading If the Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid and really likes it. I’ve also been reading it to ensure it is appropriate since she is so young and also love it! It is much deeper and more exciting than we initially hoped for, plus there are two more in the series she can continue with. Thanks!

    • Mystery Book List for Elementary, Tweens, and Teens! Janie on March 18, 2019 at 4:54 am

      Thank you for commenting! We would just add a timely warning that even if we like the first book in a series, we can’t guarantee that subsequent volumes will come with no cautions. Here’s hoping that this one will prove true all the way through!

  6. Charlee on November 26, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    I am 13 and have read books from all 3 lists. Why are the adult/teen separated from the tween books?

    • Our Team Betsy on November 26, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      Great question, Charlee! As we mentioned above, the teen list is a bit more sophisticated (most of the titles are actually adult titles). They may contain more mature subject matter, more challenging vocabulary, and/or more complicated plots than the average 10- or 11- year old is ready to read. In contrast, the tween list is firmly in the “kids’ camp” with younger protagonists, easier reading levels, and less mature subject matter. But mysteries are hard to quantify, and most people read mysteries with little to no regard for the target audience!

  7. Lyla on March 19, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    I am 13 and looking at these lists I notice that in the teen/adult books are marked. I have only looked at the ones marked ‘teen’ but are the ones marked ‘adult’ appropriate for me?

    • Our Team Betsy on March 19, 2020 at 3:36 pm

      Not necessarily. Adult, in this case, simply means they are marketed to an adult audience and not specifically a “young adult” audience. In other words, you’d find them in the regular adult shelves at your local library instead of in a teen section.

      • Lyla on March 26, 2020 at 4:35 pm

        Thank you!

  8. Lyla on April 9, 2020 at 11:53 am

    I just finished ‘Nobody’s Secret’ a few weeks ago. It was great and I was hooked from chapter 1. after that and a few other books I read one called ‘Dead girls Don’t Lie’ which was VERY good and probably one of my favorite books of all times. Its a great murder mystery and I feel like more people need to enjoy it!

  9. Sandra K. Fairchild on May 7, 2020 at 7:09 am

    Ngaio Marsh.

  10. Linda M. on June 30, 2020 at 3:37 am

    A clean series for tweens/teens and is suited for both boys or girls is The Fuller Creek Series. It is Christian based so it’s very clean. The web for the series is at https://www.fullercreekseries.com/

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