(B) Ages 4-8, (C) Ages 8-10, (D) Ages 10-12, (E) Ages 12-15, (F) Ages 15-18, (G) Ages 16 and up, Booklists, Middle Grades, Mystery, Resources
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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!

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; see below for a printable list. As always, we recommend reading reviews to determine appropriateness for your family!

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)

Printable List — Click Here!

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!

5 Comments

  1. Debbie says

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

    • 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 says

    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!!

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