Looking for a mystery to read?
Anderson, M.T. The Suburb Beyond the Stars. New York : Scholastic, 2010.
Friends Brian and Gregory have survived the Game of Sunken Places, but are once again drawn back to cousin Prudence’s house in Vermont, where they discover that something has gone very wrong with time, people have disappeared, and danger is lurking everywhere. – FVRL. [Supernatural; Space and Time; Vermont; Fantasy fiction; Good and evil; Friendship; Courage]
Avi. Crispin: the Cross of Lead. New York: Hyperion Paperbacks for Children, 2002.
“Falsely accused of theft and murder, an orphaned peasant boy in fourteenth-century England flees his village and meets a larger-than-life juggler who holds a dangerous secret.” – CIP. [England; Faith; Historical fiction; Middle Ages; Orphans; Priests; Runaways]
Balliett, Blue. Hold Fast. Scholastic Press, 2013.
On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early’s father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless – and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father. – CIP While the plot line is similar to some of Joan Bauer’s novels, the writing is more sophisticated. Highly recommended. [Homelessness; Poverty; Missing persons; Kidnapping; Fathers and daughters; Family life; Chicago (Ill.); Smuggling; Mystery and detective stories]
Balliett, Blue. Out of the Wild Night. New York: Scholastic Press, 2018.
The historic homes on Nantucket Island are being redeveloped to make modern new homes for newcomers. The ghosts of the people who once lived in them are not happy. But what can they do? What if they call on children to help? What will happen? Past and present mingle in this action-packed 291-page ghost story. Highly recommended for adventurous readers 11 to 14 years old.
Bloor, Edward. Tangerine. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc., 1997.
Paul wants to play soccer even though he is nearly blind, even though his father seems to have time only for his football-playing older brother, even though everything seems to be against him in his new school in Florida. He is tough, but is he strong enough to face the slowly-returning memories of what happened to damage his eyes? A suspense novel for sports fans in grades 7 and up.
Brouwer, Sigmund. Devil’s Pass. Victoria: Orca, 2012.
Seventeen-year-old Webb’s grandfather has sent him on a quest for the truth. But on his hike through the wilderness of the Northwest Territories, he faces more danger than anyone could have expected. Will he survive? Will he discover the truth of what really happened after his grandfather returned from World War 2? And will he ever be able to reveal the truth about his physically abusive stepfather? A well-plotted novel for students in grade seven and up. Part of an action-packed series for eleven-years-old and up. [Northwest Territories; Child abuse; Grandfathers; Mystery and detective stories; Musicians; Murder; Stepfathers]
Christopher, Lucy. The Killing Woods. New York : Chicken House/Scholastic, 2014.
“When her father, an ex-soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, is arrested for murder, Emily’s efforts to exonerate him take her into the woods to play the Game, an extreme version of childhood games.” – CIP. Recommended for readers in grade 8 and up. [Fathers and daughters; Games; Mystery and detective stories; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Young adult fiction]
Clements, Andrew. Things Not Seen. New York: Philomel Books, 2002.
When fifteen-year-old Bobby wakes up and finds himself invisible, he and his parents and his new blind friend Alicia try to find out what caused his condition and how to reverse it. A science fiction mystery for grades 6 to 9.
Bloomability by Sharon Creech (Scholastic, 1998) is a story full of suspense. Dinnie – also known as Dominica Santolina Doone – and her family have followed their father around the United States from Kentucky to North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oregon, Texas, California, and New Mexico. Finally, Dinnie is sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle in Switzerland who are complete strangers, and when she goes to school there, she meets some pretty crazy people. Back home, life isn’t going so well for her siblings: Dinnie’s older sister is pregnant and her brother Crick is sent to jail. When Dinnie eventually makes friends in Switzerland, her life is thrown into turmoil again when her best friends, Guthrie and Lila, are trapped by an avalanche while on the school’s annual skiing trip, and Dinnie sees it all happen. Will Guthrie and Lila be okay? Will Dinnie finally find a sense of belonging? You’ll have to read to find out. (Jezerah in grade 7)
Delaney, Rachelle. The Big Sting. Toronto: Tundra, 2023.
Leo and his family are spending a week on a small island off the coast of British Columbia. Leo enjoys virtual adventures on his computer at home in Toronto, but now he is in the middle of a real-life mystery: his recently deceased grandmother’s beehives have been stolen and his grandfather is determined to find them. Meanwhile, his parents have taken themselves off to a luxury resort. How will Leo cope with his grumpy grandfather and impetuous younger sister? The hopefulness of Patricia MacLachlan’s stories and the zany humour of Polly Horvath’s stories combine in this life-affirming novel highly recommended for readers 8 to 11 years old.
Dowd, Siobhan. The London Eye Mystery. A Yearling Book, 2007.
Ted and Kat try to find Salim who has gone missing in London, England. Will they find him or has he disappeared forever? Ted’s unusual way of seeing the world might be their only hope for success in the search to save their cousin. [Autism; Brothers and sisters; Cousins; England; Missing children]
Grisham, John. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. New York: Puffin Books, 2011, c2010.
“With two attorneys for parents, thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows more about the law than most lawyers do. But when a high profile murder trial comes to his small town and Theo gets pulled into it, it’s up to this amateur attorney to save the day.” – CIP. Part of a series. [Courts; Lawyers; Murderers; Mystery and detective stories; Suspense; Trials]
Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2002.
Fifteen-year-old Christopher investigates the mysterious death of a dog in his neighbourhood. A fascinating view of life from the point of a view of an autistic teenager. Recommended for readers 12-years-old and up. [Autism; Dogs; England; Fathers and sons]
“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’
‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’
‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’
‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze
Hopkinson, Deborah. How I Became a Spy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2019.
In World War 2 London, thirteen-year-old Bertie tries to solve a mystery: what has happened to the owner of a coded notebook? Eleanor, an American girl, and David, a Jewish refugee, join him and his dog Little Roo as they race to prevent a double agent from telling secrets to the Nazis. Told from the first-person point of view, this surprisingly cheerful story will appeal to readers 11 to 13 years of age. [London (England); Spies; World War 2]
Lacey, Josh. Island of Thieves. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011.
Tom’s parents leave him with an uncle for a week while they go on a holiday. What they don’t know is that Uncle Harvey is about to fly off on his own adventure: tracking down buried treasure in Peru. Tom tags along for an exciting week meeting criminals, hiding out in villages and barely escaping death. A quick read for fans of Anthony Horowitz and Rick Riordan. [Drake, John — Fiction; Adventure and adventurers — Fiction; Peru — Fiction; Mystery and detective stories; Islands — Fiction; Uncles — Fiction; Buried treasure — Fiction; Theft — Fiction]
Lichtman, Wendy. Secrets, Lies, and Algebra. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2007.
I recently read a mind blowing book called Secrets, Lies, and Algebra by Wendy Lichtman. The main character, Tess, lives in a small community, spending most of her at school. She’s aware that there has been a major test stolen and that three cheaters are involved. And to make things worse, she thinks that her mom’s friend may have something to do with the death of his wife. There are all sorts of complications, one being that one of her strongest friendships is hanging by a loose thread. At the end, the guilty parties are charged and the mystery of the absurd death has been resolved. And, Tess and this special friend of hers managed to work things out. I can tell you that this novel was one of the most extravagant novels I’ve read in a long time. (Saniya in grade eight)
Lisle, Janet Taylor. Quicksand Pond. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Twelve-year-old Jessie makes a new friend and discovers a decades-old mystery when she spends the summer with her family in a ramshackle Rhode Island saltbox. This 240-page novel by a skillful novelist is recommended for readers – 11 to 15 years old – who enjoy stories of friendship and secrets. [Family life; Individuality; Murder; Summer; Vacations]
Winter by John Marsden (Scholastic Press, 2000) is an amazingly intriguing story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Winter, who is confused about circumstances surrounding her parents’ death when she was very young. She had to move in with people who she thinks are her closest relatives, but she no longer believes what they tell her about that long-ago tragedy. Curious yet stubborn, Winter moves back to her childhood home of Warriewood to see if she can sense the spirit of her parents. There, she meets suspicious neighbors, a new relative, and a handsome stranger who answer some of her questions but also create some new ones. . . until Winter makes a shocking discovery that could answer all her questions
Winter is a marvelous book. Not only did I feel like I was right there with the characters, listening to them, but I realized how lucky I was to have such wonderful people in my own life. I should add that although the novel is a fairly easy read, because of the swearing I would not recommend it for anyone under grade 7. Nevertheless, it is truly an exceptional book and older readers are sure to be enchanted by Winter! (Nada in grade 7)
Mass, Wendy and Rebecca Stead. Bob. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2018.
Most of the time, I dislike novels written by more than one author. But this one is an exception. Ten-year-old Livy reluctantly visits her grandmother in Australia and discovers a strange creature hiding in her bedroom closet. Why does she feel she somehow knows him? Why does she feel the need to protect him? This charming story is highly recommended for readers 10 years old and up who enjoy mythology. It is easy to read and ends happily.
P.S. I generally dislike stories set in present tense and written from the first person point of view, but this novel is an exception again. But then everything published by Feiwil and Friends tends to be magically endearing.
The mystery novel Seeing and Believing, by Norah McClintock, is one of those books that you can never put down: the story keeps twisting and unveiling new information and leading you back to your original inference; yet, at the end, what is true is the opposite of what you expected. (Mitch in gr. 7) Sequel to Hit and Run.
Misri, Angela. Jewel of the Thames. [Canada]: Fierce Ink Press, 2014.
“Set against the background of 1930s England, Jewel of the Thames introduces Portia Adams, a budding detective with an interesting – and somewhat mysterious – heritage.” – CIP. The first in a trilogy, this entertaining novel will appeal to readers 12 to 16 years of age who enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories. [Canadian fiction; Criminals; London (Eng.); Orphans; Sherlock Holmes (Fictional character); Young adult fiction]
Naidoo, Beverley. The Other Side of Truth. London: Puffin Books, 2000.
“Smuggled out of Nigeria after their mother’s murder, Sade and her younger brother are abandoned in London when their uncle fails to meet them at the airport; they are fearful of their new surroundings and of what may have happened to their journalist father back in Nigeria.” – CIP. The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo is a story about the way that people in Nigeria are treated differently than we are and how the main characters’ father works for a newspaper. Bit by bit, he starts losing all his social status. The main characters, Sade and Femi, have to be smuggled into London, England, where they find out by they’re not wanted by their uncle who is supposed to be taking care of them and so they’re sent to an adoption agency. They’re sent to three or four homes before finding out where they really belong. It’s a really good book with lots of suspense. (Karissa in grade 7) Highly recommended for readers in grade 6 and up.
[Alabama; Capote, Truman; Friendship; Historical fiction; Lee, Harper; Mystery and detective stories]
Newsome, Richard. The Billionaire’s Curse. Toronto: HarperCollins, 2009.
Thirteen-year-old Gerald Wilkins finds himself on a plane from Australia to England when his great-aunt dies. His parents think they will inherit her vast estate but it is Gerald who has unexpectedly acquired three vast estates and twenty billion pounds. He also has a killer on his trail. Along with two new friends, Ruby and Sam, he sets off to defeat an evil plot and solve an ancient puzzle. Quickly paced, this first book in The Archer Legacy is an entertaining novel for eleven to fourteen-year-old readers. Unfortunately, it has the usual uncaring parents and incompetent adults common to many adventure novels nowadays but all the action and the easy-to-read style will make it popular with adolescents who want a bit of mindless entertainment. [England; Mystery and detective stories; Murder; Diamonds; Inheritance and succession]
Nightmare by Joan Lowery Nixon (Delacorte Press, 2003) is the story of a 16-year-old girl named Emily Wood who is shy. She likes to be left alone and likes to sit in dark corners in the classroom with her hair down in front of her face like curtains so no one can notice her. Emily is sent to Camp Excel for the summer where her parents want her to make new friends and learn how to interact with the world instead of staying alone all the time, but Emily has other things to worry about such as the horrible nightmare she has been having ever since she was eight years old. Emily’s parents try to help her, but she doesn’t want help. She just wants to figure out the cause of that nightmare. Her parents suggest she try to ignore it, but Emily has tried that many times and it has not worked. And once Emily touches the camp grounds, nothing can protect her from what is about to happen. Nightmare is a very good novel which I highly recommend for readers twelve to fourteen years old. (Batoul in grade eight)
“It was a dark and stormy night; a scream was heard in the distance.” If you like books that will give you a scare, then Canadian Hauntings – A Haunted Canada Book by Michael Norman and Beth Scott (Scholastic, 1994) is the book for you!
Canadian Hauntings includes 38 short stories, each a spooky tale of a haunting that took place somewhere in Canada. The first story in the book, The Portrait, actually occurred close to Abbotsford, in Chilliwack, BC. The stories are based on facts about the actual events that took place. Many of the stories are about ghost sightings and strange happenings. In most of the stories, the ghosts are angry about how they died and haunt the place and the people in the place where they died. In one story, The Hitcher, a student at U.B.C. in Vancouver is killed in a car accident. Her ghost appears as a hitchhiker standing by the spot where she died and disappears once she is picked up and driven home. Each story is short, only one to seven pages long, so readers can remember all of the scary details and feel as if they are listening to a spooky ghost story full of details about locations, dates and times. This helps readers to create scary pictures in their minds.
These spooky ghost stories will keep readers entertained and will definitely leave them with the CHILLS. (Maya in grade eight)
Reiss, Kathryn. Blackthorn Winter. Orlando: Harcourt, 2007, c2006.
“An idyllic seaside artists’ colony in England is the scene of murder, and fifteen-year-old American-born Juliana Martin-Drake attempts to solve the crime while unraveling the mystery of her own past.” – CIP. An entertaining mystery for readers 12 to 16 years old. [Adoption; Artists; Dating (Social customs); England; Family life]
Roll Call by Malcolm Rose (Kingfisher, 2005) was an awesome mystery book. You get pretty anxious when you read it because you don’t know what is going to happen. And when you think you do know what is going to happen, you’re wrong. It’s really cool. Most mystery books you read, you can predict what’s going to happen. Not this one! (G.J. in gr. 7) This book is part of a futuristic series about a forensic investigator who has a robot as an assistant.
Rosoff, Meg. Picture Me Gone. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2013.
“ Twelve-year-old Mila travels with her father [from England] to upstate New York to visit friends and family, who may lead them to clues to the whereabouts of her father’s best friend, who has gone missing.” – CIP. Highly recommended for thoughtful introspective readers in grade 7 and up. [Fathers and daughters; Guilt; Missing persons; Mystery and detective stories; New York; Voyages and travels]
Sedgwick, Marcus. She is Not Invisible. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2014, c2013.
16-year-old Laureth and her 7-year-old brother run away from their home in London, England and fly to New York City to find their missing father. A fast-moving story with a surprise ending from an outstanding writer. [Authors; Blind; Brothers and sisters; Fathers; Missing persons; Mystery and detective stories; New York (City); People with disabilities]
Cryptid Hunters by Roland Smith (Scholastic, 2005) is full of suspense. The three main characters are Marty, Grace and their newly-discovered Uncle Wolfe. Marty is my favourite. He’s a curious, adventurous thirteen-year-old boy with a photographic memory which he uses to memorize comic book plots. Marty’s and Grace’s parents disappear when the helicopter taking them to the Congo has engine trouble and crashes. The twins are whisked off to live with an uncle they don’t know. Now the problem is how to convince him to take them to look for their parents lost somewhere in the jungle. I strongly recommend this book. It’s suspenseful. It makes you want to keep reading more and more. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. (Jason in gr. 6)
The Case of the Golden Boy, by Eric Wilson, is a thrilling adventure involving Danielle, a kidnapped girl, and Tom Austen, who in his determination to find Danielle, gets kidnapped himself! Being so close to the kidnappers, he figures out their plot to get Danielle’s rich daddy to pay a ransom of two million dollars to get her back to safety. If you want a story that grips you so hard that it can’t put it down, go borrow this book from the school library. (Victoria in gr. 7)
Wilson, N.D. 100 Cupboards. New York: Random House, 2007.
After his parents are kidnapped, timid twelve-year-old Henry York leaves his sheltered Boston life and moves to small-town Kansas, where he and his cousin Henrietta discover and explore hidden doors in his attic room that seem to open onto other worlds. – CIP A spell-binding novel – humorous and serious at the same time – for readers who enjoy adventure stories. [Cousins; Family life; Fantasy fiction; Good and evil; Kansas; Moving (Household); Space and time]
Wynne-Jones. Tim. The Starlight Claim. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2019.
Sixteen-year-old Nate sets out during the March spring break to spend a few days alone at his family’s remote cabin on Ghost Lake. His parents think he’s off to prove his survival skills, but he’s really going to look for his friend Dodge who disappeared the previous November. A surprise awaits: two escaped inmates are hiding out in his family’s cabin and a snowstorm is imminent. Will Nate be able to survive the storm? Will he be hide from the criminals? And why is his estranged grandfather involved? This long-awaited sequel to The Maestro is recommended for readers 13 years old and up. [Ontario; Survival; Escaped prisoners]
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. The Midnight Palace. New York : Little, Brown, 2011.
Ben has been raised in an orphanage in Calcutta, India. He thinks he is alone in the world until he discovers, on his sixteenth birthday, that he has a twin sister. He also discovers that a monstrous ghost from the past is trying to kill both of them. Set in the 1930s, this suspense-filled novel, translated from Spanish, will be enjoyed by readers eleven to sixteen years old. [India; Historical fiction; Demonology; Orphans; Twins; Secret societies; Friendship; Brothers and sisters; Young adult fiction]
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. Prince of Mist. New York : Little, Brown, 2010.
Thirteen-year-old Max Carver and his fifteen-year-old sister Alicia, along with their friend Roland, battle for their lives against an evil magician in a small seaside town during World War II. While not as compelling as The Midnight Palace, another novel by the same author, this story is nevertheless full of action and suspense and will be enjoyed by readers twelve to fourteen years old. (Historical fiction; Supernatural; Shipwrecks; Friendship; Moving, Household)
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. The Watcher in the Shadows. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2013.
“When fourteen-year-old Irene Sauvelle moves with her family to Cape House on the coast of Normandy, she’s immediately taken by the beauty of the place–its expansive cliffs, coasts, and harbors. There, she meets a local boy named Ismael, and the two soon fall in love. But a dark mystery is about to unfold, involving a reclusive toymaker who lives in a gigantic mansion filled with mechanical beings and shadows of the past”– Provided by publisher. [Families; France; Historical fiction; Inventors; Mystery and detective stories; Robots; Shadows; Supernatural]
More Mysteries: HERE
Even More Recommended Mysteries
Adler, David. Cam Jansen. A series for grades 3 to 6.
Brouwer, Sigmund. Orca Sports. A series for grades 6 and up.
Chandler, Elizabeth. Don’t Tell. A suspense novel for grades 6 to 9.
Chandler, Elizabeth. No Time to Die. A suspense novel for grades 7 and up.
Colfer, Eoin. Half-moon Investigations. A humorous novel for grades 5 to 8.
Cooney, Caroline B. Fatality. A suspense novel for grades 6 and up.
Cooney, Caroline B. The Terrorist. A suspense novel for grades 6 and up.
Dixon, Franklin. The Hardy Boys. An easy-to-read series for grades 3 to 7.
Garfield, Leon. John Diamond. A British historical novel for grades 7 and up.
Garfield, Leon. Smith. Another British historical novel for grades 7 and up.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Hidden. A science fiction mystery for grades 5 to 8.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Running out of Time. A science fiction novel for grades 6 to 8.
Hobbs, Will. Ghost Canoe. An outdoor adventure novel for grades 6 to 9.
Keene, Carolyn. Nancy Drew. An easy-to-read series for grades 3 to 8.
Kehret, Peg. Night of Fear. A suspense novel for grades 6 to 9.
Korman, Gordon. Kidnapped. An easy-to-read series for grades 4 to 8.
MacGregor, Roy. The Screech Owls. A hockey series for grades 3 to 7.
McClintock, Norah. Back. A thoughtful suspense novel for grades 7 to 10.
McClintock, Norah. Break and Enter. A suspense novel for grades 6 and up.
McClintock, Norah. Double Cross. A suspense novel for grades 6 and up.
McClintock, Norah. Out of the Cold. A suspense novel for grades 6 and up.
McClintock, Norah. Over the Edge. A suspense novel for grades 6 and up.
McClintock, Norah. Password: Murder. A suspense novel for grades 6 and up.
McClintock, Norah. Truth and Lies. A suspense novel for grades 6 and up.
Miklowitz, Gloria D. The Enemy Has a Face. A political suspense novel for grades 7 and up.
Peck, Richard. Are You In the House Alone? A suspense novel for grades 7 to 10.
Sobol, Donald. Encyclopedia Brown. A short story series for grades 4 to 7.
Stilton, Geronimo. Geronimo Stilton. An easy-to-read series for grades 3 to 6..
Wilson, Eric. Tom and Liz Austen Mysteries A Canadian series for grades 4 to 7.
Woodson, Jacqueline. Hush. A suspense novel for grades 6 to 9.
Chesterton, G.K. Father Brown.
Christie, Agatha. And Then There Were None.
Christie, Agatha. Death on the Nile.
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Raven.