Best Children's Books About Mystery

93+ Children's Books About Mystery

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Basil of Baker Street book
#1
Basil of Baker Street
Written by Eve Titus and illustrated by Paul Galdone
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Named one of “13 Detective Book Series You Obsessed over as a Kid” by Buzzfeed.com and the inspiration for a hit Disney film, the masterful Great Mouse Detective series is now available to a whole new generation of readers! Basil—the famous sleuth of mousedom—lives in the cellar of Sherlock Holmes’s house. A devoted admirer of the great detective, he has learned his craft by listening at the feet of Holmes himself. But will it be enough to help Basil solve his most baffling mystery yet? The Mystery of the Missing Twins is one of the strangest cases in Basil’s career. With only a few crumbs of clues with which to find answers, how is he ever going to figure out where Angela and Agatha are being kept—and, of course, who mouse-napped them! Will Basil’s mouse sleuthing skills be up to the task of finding the twins before it’s too late?

Two of Everything book
#2
Two of Everything
Written and illustrated by Lily Toy Hong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When old Mr. Haktak digs up a curious brass pot in his garden, he has no idea what use it can be. On his way home, Mr. Haktak decides to carry his coin purse in the mysterious pot. But when Mrs. Haktak’s hairpin accidentally slips into the pot and she reaches in to retrieve it, the magic of the pot is revealed. Not only are there two hairpins inside, but there are also two purses!

Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? book
#3
Who Ate All the Cookie Dough?
Written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Kanga and her friends try to discover who ate all of her cookie dough.

Outfoxed book
#4
Outfoxed
Written and illustrated by Claudia Boldt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Harold is unlike any other fox. He hates eating chicken, for one thing. He much prefers reading detective novels. When Harold's father challenges him to catch a chicken as part of his initiation into adulthood, Harold is faced with a dilemma--should he obey his father and endanger the chicken's life, or do what his heart tells him is right? The latest title from award-winning illustrator Claudia Boldt, Outfoxed introduces a smart, independent-minded character in Harold the fox and is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Judy Moody and Friends: Judy Moody, Tooth Fairy book
#5
Judy Moody and Friends: Judy Moody, Tooth Fairy
Written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

By popular demand, Judy Moody herself steps into the spotlight in a story that is sure to have kids grinning — and believing. Judy and her friends are on the playground when Jessica Finch overhears a fifth-grader talking. What!? There’s no such thing as the Tooth Fairy? Can that big kid be right? Luckily, Judy Moody is on the case! All she needs is one loose tooth, a semi-reluctant little brother, a bathtub, a string, a toy motorboat, and . . . open wide, Stink! But what if the real Tooth Fairy is a no-show? Judy Moody fans will happily sink their teeth into this cavity-free caper full of surprises — and a little bit of magic.

The Giant Jumperee book
#6
The Giant Jumperee
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Two of the world’s most celebrated picture book creators, Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury, team up for the first time in this jaunty animal fable for fans of Room on the Broom and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Rabbit arrives home one day to hear a loud voice coming from inside his burrow: “I’m the Giant Jumperee and I’m scary as can be!” shouts the stranger. Rabbit’s friends Cat, Bear, and Elephant come to help, but they’re no match for the mysterious, booming voice. But who is the Giant Jumperee? Find out in this new read-aloud classic from internationally bestselling author Julia Donaldson, beautifully brought to life by award-winning illustrator Helen Oxenbury.

Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers' Club book
#7
Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers' Club
Written by Robert J. Harris
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Before the world meets Sherlock Homes, twelve-year-old Artie Conan Doyle has his own mysteries to solve. Will Artie survive encounters with graveyards, hounds and ghosts in foggy Edinburgh? Or will his first case be his last?

The Thirteenth Pearl book
#8
The Thirteenth Pearl
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Nancy is asked to locate a stolen pearl necklace that is unusual and very valuable. She soon learns that strange and dangerous people are responsible for the theft. They harass her at home and intensify it when she and her father go to Japan, until they finally manage to kidnap Nancy and her friend Ned Nickerson when she returns to River Heights. Through clever sleuthing, Nancy is able to penetrate the rites of an amazing group of pearl worshippers, some of whose members are far from devout, and she uncovers underhanded dealings of certain employees of World Wide Gems, Inc., a tremendous international jewelry company. Readers will love accompanying Nancy, disguised as a Japanese girl, in this adventure in Tokyo.

The Mystery of the Missing Cake book
#9
The Mystery of the Missing Cake
Written and illustrated by Claudia Boldt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Donkey has invited Harold to his party, but all is not what it seems when the birthday cake disappears! Everyone is a prime suspect in The Mystery of the Missing Cake! But can Harold piece together the clues to solve the case and save the party?"--Page [4] of cover.

The Strange Message in the Parchment book
#10
The Strange Message in the Parchment
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A sheep farmer receives a mysterious telephone call shortly after he buys a series of pictures painted on parchment. “Decipher the message in the parchment and right a great wrong,” the voice says. Puzzled, the owner asks Nancy to help. With Junie, his daughter, Nancy tracks down a kidnapper and a group of extortionists. Is there a connection between the message in the parchment and a boy artist on another farm? And who is responsible for the atmosphere of fear in the neighborhood? After several harrowing experiences, Nancy begins to tighten the net around a ruthless villain and calls on the assistance of her friends Ned, Burt, Dave, Bess and George to bring his nefarious scheme to a dead end.

The Sky Phantom book
#11
The Sky Phantom
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Nancy goes to Excello Flying School in the Midwest to take lessons, while her friends Bess and George perfect their horseback riding. But soon the young sleuth is confronted with the mystery of a hijacked plane and a missing pilot. Then the rancher’s prize pony, Major, is stolen. Nancy becomes a detective in a plane and on horseback to track down the elusive sky phantom and the horse thief. A lucky find – a medal with a message to be deciphered on it – furnishes a worthwhile clue. Romance is added to mystery when Bess becomes interested in a handsome cowboy. Readers will spur Nancy on as she investigates a strange magnetic cloud, hunts for the horse thief, and finally arrives at a surprising solution.

The Secret of the Forgotten City book
#12
The Secret of the Forgotten City
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Gold! There are rumors that long ago a treasure was hidden in a city now buried under the Nevada desert. Nancy and her friends plan to join a dig sponsored by two colleges to hunt for the gold. Before she starts, the young sleuth receives an ancient stone table with petroglyphs on it. With this amazing clue, however, come a threat and danger from a thief who also wants the treasure. One harrowing adventure after another besets Nancy, Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave in 102-degree temperatures as they pursue Nancy’s hunches above and below ground. They are assisted by a fine woman and a young geology student, but both are unwilling participants in a strange plot. In the end Nancy and Ned nearly lose their lives, just after she has discovered the priceless hidden treasure of gold.

Nancy Drew 51: Mystery of the Glowing Eye book
#13
Nancy Drew 51: Mystery of the Glowing Eye
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When Nancy Drew eagerly agrees to help her lawyer father solve the mystery of the glowing eye, she has no way of knowing that it will involve the kidnapping of her close friend Ned Nickerson. A puzzling note in Ned’s handwriting set Nancy and her friends Bess and George on a hazardous search for a bizarre criminal. From their base of operations, the Emerson College campus, the three girl detectives and Ned’s college pals follow a maze of clues to locate the kidnapper’s hideout and rescue Ned. Not only is Nancy greatly worried about Ned, but also she is alarmed by the high-handed methods of a woman lawyer who tries to take the case away from her. Readers will follow Nancy’s exciting adventures as she unravels this dangerous web of mystery.

The Double Jinx Mystery book
#14
The Double Jinx Mystery
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A bird of ill omen is mysteriously left on the Drews’ front lawn. Did the person who put it there do so with the intent of jinxing Nancy and her father? This strange incident involves Nancy in her famous father’s case concerning a rare bird farm threatened with destruction to make room for a high-rise apartment house complex. People who are opposed to the ruthless take-over of the farm are being made the victims of jinxing by bad luck symbols and other threats to their safety. Even Nancy and her friend Ned Nickerson become targets! Nancy soon realizes that helping honest people to overcome their superstitions and fears can be as challenging as tracking down criminals. The young detective’s thrilling adventures will keep the reader in breathless suspense from the first page to the last.

The Spider Sapphire Mystery book
#15
The Spider Sapphire Mystery
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Thrilling, dangerous adventures confront Nancy Drew while on a safari in East Africa with a group of American college students. Excitement runs high as the teen-age detective delves into the theft of a fabulous sapphire formed by nature millions of years ago. The mystery starts in Nancy’s home town. Her lawyer father’s client, Floyd Ramsay, who fashions beautiful and unusual synthetic gems, is accused of stealing the magnificent spider sapphire and exhibiting it as his own creation. Mr. Ramsay’s enemies blackmail him and by their vicious acts try to deter Nancy from going on the safari. Readers will join Nancy as she uncovers a nefarious scheme and solves the strange disappearance of an injured jungle guide.

The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery book
#16
The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery
Written by Allison Rushby
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery. As Turnkey, it’s Flossie’s job to ensure that all the souls buried in the cemetery stay at rest. Not an easy job for a young ghost, but a task made especially difficult by World War II: London is being attacked every night by enemy bombers, and even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object that seems to exist in both the living and spirit worlds, she becomes suspicious—what is the officer up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could destroy not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie and her ghostly friends stop the soldier before it’s too late? History collides with the supernatural in this exciting, ethereal mystery from Allison Rushby.

The Mysterious Mannequin book
#17
The Mysterious Mannequin
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The strange disappearance of a young Turkish client of Mr. Drew’s and the gift of an Oriental rug with a coded message woven into its decorative border start Nancy on a difficult search for a missing mannequin. What happened to the attractive figure that Farouk Tahmasp used in the display window of this rug shop? Who is trying to keep Nancy from finding it – and why? Tracking down the intricate trail of clues takes Nancy and her friends Bess and George, Ned, Burt, and Dave to Turkey. Their sleuthing leads them to the Grand Bazaar in the exotic city of Istanbul, where Bess mysteriously disappears. Suspense mounts when Nancy encounters a vengeful enemy at an ancient underground reservoir. Events move swiftly as Nancy and her friends try to solve this challenging mystery!

The Clue in the Crossword Cipher book
#18
The Clue in the Crossword Cipher
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Lovely young Carla Ponce, who lives in Peru, invites Nancy and her friends Bess and George to visit her and solve her “monkey mystery,” which promises to lead to a fabulous treasure. A clue is carved on an intriguing wooden plaque that is so old, most of the crossword cipher is obliterated. When a notorious gang headed by El Gato (the Cat) steals the priceless relic, Nancy’s hopes of solving the mystery are almost shattered. But the daring young detective’s ability to think fast and act quickly results in the recovery of the plaque. Nancy’s determined efforts to decode the crossword decipher take her to the magnificent, awe-inspiring Incan ruins at Cuzco and Machu Pichu. Through clever deductions, perseverance, and dangerous adventures, Nancy and her friends help to capture a ring of vicious smugglers and go on to make an astounding archaeological discovery.

Nancy Drew 41: The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes book
#19
Nancy Drew 41: The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Warnings not to go to Scotland can’t stop Nancy Drew from setting out on a thrill-packed mystery adventure. Undaunted by the vicious threats, the young detective – with her father and her two close friends – goes to visit her great-grandmother at an imposing estate in the Scottish Highlands, and to solve the mystery of a missing family heirloom. And there is another mystery to be solved: the fate of flocks of stolen sheep. Baffling clues challenge Nancy’s powers of deduction: a note written in the ancient Gaelic language, a deserted houseboat on Loch Lomond, a sinister red-bearded stranger in Edinburgh, eerie whistling noises in the Highlands. Startling discoveries in an old castle and in the ruins of a prehistoric fortress, lead Nancy closer to finding the solution to both mysteries.

The Moonstone Castle Mystery book
#20
The Moonstone Castle Mystery
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When Nancy Drew receives a valuable moonstone as a gift from an unknown person, she is amazed and puzzled. But it is only the first of several startling events in this complex mystery that challenge the ingenuity of the pretty sleuth. Why are the Bowens – a missionary couple who recently returned to the United States – having so much trouble finding their missing seventeen-year-old granddaughter, Joanie Horton? Nancy and her friends travel to Deep River, the town where the young Jonie lived. From the motel where Nancy and her friends stay, they can see an intriguing castlelike structure with a drawbridge. Gossipy Mrs. Hemstead at the village tearoom insists that Moonstone Castle is haunted. Curious, the three girls attempt to explore the abandoned castle, but an ominous voice warns them away. Other strange happenings in Deep River convince Nancy that there is a connection between Moonstone Castle and the mysterious moonstone gift. But what is the significance? And where does the baffling disappearance of Joanie Horton fit into the intricate puzzle?

Nancy Drew 39: The Clue of the Dancing Puppet book
#21
Nancy Drew 39: The Clue of the Dancing Puppet
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

When the eerie performances of a life-size puppet begin to haunt the old Van Pelt estate, where an amateur acting group – The Footlighters – have their theater, Nancy Drew is called upon to unravel the baffling mystery. From the moment the detective and her friends Bess and George arrive at the mansion, the dancing puppet puzzle is further complicated by Tammi Whitlock, the Footlighters’ temperamental leading lady, and Emmet Calhoun, a Shakespearean actor. Nancy’s search of the mansion’s dark, musty attic for clues to the weird mystery starts a frightening chain reaction. A phone call from a stranger with a witchlike, cackling voice warns her to “Get out!” Next an encounter with two jewel theft suspects adds another perplexing angle to the puzzle. When Nancy finally sees the life-size puppet flitting across the moonlit lawn and chases it, she learns that someone with a sinister motive is determined to keep her form solving the case. Is it one of the Footlighters? Or is it an outsider?

The Haunted Bridge book
#22
The Haunted Bridge
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mr. Drew is on the trail of an international ring of jewel thieves and asks Nancy to assist him. The trail leads to a summer resort area. Before Nancy has a chance to start work on her father’s case, a golf caddy tells her a frightening tale–in the dense woods nearby is an old wooden footbridge guarded by a ghost! Intrigued by the caddy’s story, Nancy decides to investigate. Several riddles confront the young detective as she attempts to solve the mystery of the haunted bridge and track down a woman suspected of being a key member of the gang of jewel thieves.

The Message in the Hollow Oak (Nancy Drew Mustery Stories #12). book
#23
The Message in the Hollow Oak (Nancy Drew Mustery Stories #12).
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A group of professional detectives challenge Nancy to tackle a mystery that they have failed to solve: find an invaluable message hidden by a missionary centuries ago in a hollow oak tree in Illinois. While searching the woods for the ancient tree, Nancy and her friends live with a group of young archaeologists who are excavating prehistoric Indian burial mounds on a nearby farm. A shadowy enemy stalks Nancy and harasses everyone at the dig. The young investigator pursues her dangerous adversary to an outlaws’ cave, and is threatened when she discovers an unusual treasure. How Nancy, with few clues to go on, solves this complex mystery will thrill all readers.

The Secret of Mirror Bay book
#24
The Secret of Mirror Bay
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Aunt Eloise Drew invited Nancy and her friends to Mirror Bay Bide-a-Wee cabin near Cooperstown, New York, for a visit and a chance to solve the mystery of the woman who glides across the water. Upon their arrival, Nancy becomes mixed up in a vacation hoax and is nearly arrested for fraud. On the wooded mountain near the cabin further exciting events await Nancy and the other girls. In the deep forest, a weird luminescent green sorcerer appears who threatens to cast an evil spell on anyone investigating his strange activities. In a dangerous twist of circumstances Nancy finds that solving one mystery helps to solve another. What happens when the young detective and her friends uncover a cleverly concealed criminal operation?

Click! book
#25
Click!
Written and illustrated by Frank W. Dormer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Things are not at all what they seem in this picture book mystery filled with rhyming wordplay. “It’s a perfect day to catch a cat,” muses a dog. But to his annoyance, all he seems to find are things that rhyme with cat. Rat. Bat. Gnat. Why can’t he catch a cat?! In a fascinating and delightful twist, we ‘click!’ to see the reason: the cat has been telling the story all along!

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