A photo of a selection of children's crime books on a red background with a magnifying glass hovering over the book The London Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

There are few detectives in the world of fiction who have captured imaginations as much as Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Doctor Watson. This collection features eight classic crime mysteries, including The Red-Headed League and The Beryl Coronet, written by the renowned Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is a masterful collection of best-loved stories of nocturnal intrigue and suspense, not to mention Mr Holmes’ most unique powers of deduction…

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years old

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (2014)

Daisy Wells’ and Hazel Wong’s detective society doesn’t have much to do at Deepdean School for Girls; that is, until Hazel discovers the science mistress lying dead in the bathroom. Alarmed, Hazel alerts Daisy to the scene, but on their return, they are shocked to discover that the body has been removed. Set in a 1930s English boarding school, the thrilling first book in Robin Stevens' series is filled with suspense, mystery, and mischief – think Enid Blyton meets Agatha Christie.

Recommended reading age: 8-12 years old

The Young Magicians and the 24-Hour Telepathy Plot by Nick Mohammed (2020)

Misdirection maestros Alex, Zane, Jonny, and Sophie are back for their second adventure in The Young Magicians and the 24-Hour Telepathy Plot. After proving their worth to the Magic Circle – which is for magicians what NASA is for astronauts – the quartet are on their way to attend the society’s Annual Convention in Blackpool. All seems to be going well until they stumble upon a plot to poison President Pickle of the Magic Circle! Will the four friends get to the bottom of this dastardly scheme?

Recommended reading age: 7-11 years old

Lizzie and Lucky: The Mystery of the Missing Puppies by Megan Rix & Tim Budgen (2021)

The first title in a brand-new series by Megan Rix is perfect for little readers new to the mystery genre. Lizzie really wants a dog, but first she needs to convince her parents. So, she’s started to write a list of 101 reasons why it is paramount they get one – one of those reasons being that as Lizzie and her parents are deaf, Lizzie could train one to be a hearing dog. Then one day whilst out on a walk, Lizzie spots a suspicious-looking man running out of an alleyway with a little puppy in his arms. He throws it into his van and drives off, leaving Lizzie very worried for the poor dog’s safety. Will she be able to track down this shifty character and save the day?

Recommended reading age: 5-8 years old

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (2016)

Siblings Ted and Kat’s cousin Salim is visiting with his mum. The trio decides to have a day in London and head to the London Eye, but frustratingly the queue is very long. Then a stranger approaches the cousins, offering his ticket for the Eye – which he can’t bring himself to ride now because of his claustrophobia. Having never been on the Eye, Kat and Ted encourage Salim to take it. They wave their cousin off onto one of the pods, but when it comes back down half an hour later, Salim is nowhere to be seen. Has he been abducted? Did he ever get off the London Eye? It’s up to Ted and Kat to find out. 

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

The Racehorse Who Disappeared by Clare Balding & Tony Ross (2017)

Following the events of The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop, Charlie and her racehorse Noble Warrior are settling back into life on Folly Farm now that the family is no longer facing financial ruin. But then, in the dead of the night, a group of thieves break into the farmyard and steal Noble Warrior! Charlie is devastated and the police are stumped. They can’t seem to find a trace of the missing prize-winning thoroughbred. Charlie won’t give up though, and so she launches her own investigation...

Recommended reading age: 7-9 years old

The Mona Lisa Mystery by Pat Hutchins (1981)

There’s nothing as exciting as going on a class trip, and Class 3 of Hampstead Primary School is going to Paris! But things take a turn for the unexpected when Morgan spots a mysterious bearded man driving behind their bus and another bearded stranger on the ferry. The class get a lot more than they bargained for when they find themselves entangled in a criminal plot to steal the Mona Lisa! From start to finish, A Mona Lisa Mystery is a humorous and enjoyable escapade.

Recommended reading age: 6-9 years old

The Big Six by Arthur Ransome (1940)

Readers will be transported to a bygone England in this timeless tale of a misdemeanour from the best-loved author of Swallows and Amazons. The boat-builder's sons, Bill, Peter, and Tim, are wrongly accused of setting boats adrift. Luckily, they have good friends in Dick, Dorothea, and Tom Dudgeon, who believe that they are innocent, and so, the gang of six sets to work to clear the boys’ names and find out who the real villains are.

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Julian, Secret Agent by Ann Cameron (1988)

After spotting the 'most wanted' notices in the post office, Julian, his little brother Huey, and their friend Gloria assume the role of neighbourhood crime-busters. They rescue trapped dogs and lost toddlers, but soon their curiosity puts them in more bother than expected. Julian, Secret Agent is an entertaining and easy-to-read crime adventure; budding detectives won’t be able to put it down!

Recommended reading age: 7-9 years old

The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford (2015)

Based on Ava Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer – and the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley – this delightful detective story reimagines the two historical figures as friends in 19th-century London. With great minds and an appetite for adventure to match, they set up The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency to help tackle rising street crime. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom and a false confession, so the two young sleuths must put their brains together in order to crack the case. This is a clever, suspenseful mystery for young history and crime buffs alike.

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Invisible! by Robert Swindells (1999)

Rosie is the new girl at school with an amazing secret: she can turn invisible. Soon, she lets her new friends – twins Carrie and Conrad, and their pals Peter and Charlotte – in on her gift and shows them how to become invisible too. When a series of art robberies occur in the neighbourhood, Rosie’s father is accused of the crime. In order to save the day, the gang goes to incredible lengths to ensure that the real crooks are caught. It's an exciting tale of friendship and trickery, with a hint of magic, from the Carnegie Medal-winning author.

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

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