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Sleuthing: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about sleuthing?

Well hello, Holmes! You’ve come to the right place to find a new case—we’ve rounded up our favorite books about sleuthing to help you hone your detective skills and figure out the many mysteries that lie ahead! Whether it’s who, how, what, or why, we have confidence that with your investigative skills, you can come to the correct conclusion before it’s too late!

Top 10 Books About Sleuthing

#1
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Catch That Cookie!
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
This is one of my boys all time favorite books! They love love love the adventure of the runaway gingerbread men cookies. This always brings an element of fun to our holiday season. We read it and make our own cookies that always seem to run away. Just like Marshall, my boys get to be detectives and try out their sleuthing for those cookies!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Solve the riddles to find the runaway gingerbread men in this funny and magical cookie hunt! Marshall knows one thing for sure, despite what all the stories say: Gingerbread men cannot run. Cookies are for eating, and he can't wait to eat his after spending all morning baking them with his class. But when it's time to take the gingerbread men out of the oven . . . they're gone! Now, to find those rogue cookies, Marshall and his class have to solve a series of rhyming clues. And Marshall just might have to rethink his stance on magic. Catch That Cookie! is an imaginative mystery, deliciously illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner David Small. It's sure to inspire a new classroom tradition . . . and maybe even a few new believers!
#2
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The Thief Lord
Written by Cornelia Funke & illustrated by Christian Birmingham
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
I've loved everything I've read of Cornelia Funke's and this book was no exception. The multiple and ever-unfolding layers of reality and truth combine with the magic of Funke's storytelling (and the magic of the carousel) to create a compelling story full of adventure, intrigue (with lots of sleuthing and sneaking!) and the most important discovery of what family really means and who family really is.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The enchanting international bestseller with bonus back matter and a beautiful new cover! Two orphaned brothers, Prosper and Bo, have run away to Venice, where crumbling canals and misty alleyways shelter a secret community of street urchins. Leader of this motley crew of lost children is a clever, charming boy with a dark history of his own: He calls himself the Thief Lord. Propser and Bo relish their new "family" and life of petty crime. But their cruel aunt and a bumbling detective are on their trail. And posing an even greater threat to the boys' freedom is something from a forgotten past: a beautiful magical treasure with the power to spin time itself.
#3
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Sloth Slept on
Written & illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
This book is so clever. Such a fun story. The kids are so set to figure out what this animal is and where it came from and where it should go and they do lots of research. I love seeing the curiosity in children and their desire to find answers!
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Who's that sleeping in our tree? When a group of kids finds an animal happily napping in their backyard, they set out to discover what it is and where it belongs. As they search and search--never noticing the posters and articles about a sloth that's fled the zoo--they finally discover the identity of the snoozing creature. When sloth wakes up, it's in for a BIG surprise!
#4
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Basil of Baker Street
Written by Eve Titus & illustrated by Paul Galdone
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This intermediate read will put your sleuthing and detective skills at work!There are a few illustrations throughout, and it's a fun, quick read. This would be a great read-aloud, too.
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?
#5
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Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This story shows how grief is manifested in different ways, but how the two sisters and their guardian bonded together and strengthened one another in their difficult times. I also loved that the mystery was about Andi's family history and linked to the great depression, both of which are great topics for readers to learn about. I loved following along in their sleuthing and detective efforts to figure out the answer to their mystery. :)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The first in a new middle-grade mystery series, in Andi Unexpected, twelve-year-old Andi Boggs, discovers evidence of her forgotten namesake, a missing relative, which leads her into a family mystery rooted in the Great Depression.
#6
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Russell and the Lost Treasure
Written & illustrated by Rob Scotton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Russell the sheep is determined to find the Lost Treasure of Frogsbottom. Equipped with his Super-Duper Treasure Seeker, Russell searches high and low, up and down, and in and out. Nothing! Finally, Russell finds an old chest! Could it be? Discover how Russell finds the most valuable treasure of all.
#7
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The Tower Treasure
Written by Franklin W. Dixon
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers
The Hardy Boys novels were a staple of my early reading, and I'll love them forever. Many people were more familiar with the Nancy Drew series, but the Hardy Boys books are equally exciting and enjoyable detective books. Because the books are older, readers may encounter some unfamiliar words, like the yellow "jalopy" stolen by the same man who attempts to rob a ferry boat ticket office. Readers will enjoy the step-by-step problem-solving. The Hardy Boys novels are especially great for introducing young readers to the practice of deductive reasoning--the process of elimination widely popularized by Sherlock Holmes. The books are written by several different authors writing under a shared pen name, and some are certainly better than others. The Tower Treasure is one of the best.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The Hardy Boys series, first published in 1927, has sold more than 70 million copies! Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won't want to miss! In The Tower Treasure, the first book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy work together to solve a high-stakes jewel heist. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who's new to the series!
#8
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The Doll People
Written by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin & illustrated by Brian Selznick
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This adventurous story is full of facing fears, some sleuthing, and problem solving. Even though the cover may cause some boys to think it's a "girl book," I think this book is such a fun gender neutral book! When Annabelle Doll finds out she might have a missing Aunt Doll somewhere in the house, she decides to face everyone's biggest fear: leaving the dollhouse to figure out what happened to her Aunt.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Annabelle Doll is eight years old-she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll family, day after day, year after year. . . until one day the Funcrafts move in.
#9
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The Bad Beginning
Written by Lemony Snicket & illustrated by Brett Helquist and Michael Kupperman
Thoughts from The Goodfather
As a believer in home libraries, I love reading about the excitement the Baudelaire children feel when they visit the home library of Justice Strauss for the first time. And I especially love when they return to that home library to figure out what terrible scheme Count Olaf might be plotting to get to their family fortune and how they can outwit him at his own game. The terribly unfortunate but resilient Baudelaire orphans combined with the terrifically terrible villainy of Count Olaf make Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events such a memorable puzzler.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky. In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, a long knife, and a terrible odor. In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy.
#10
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Who Ate All the Cookie Dough?
Written by Karen Beaumont & illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This eeny-meeny-miney-mo story had a fun twist as they were looking for who stole the cookie dough! Though I thought it was a bit repetitive, it was fun to have all of the different animals and I liked the silly monkey. Another fun addition is the lift-the-flap at the end to find the culprit!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Kanga and her friends try to discover who ate all of her cookie dough.
Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Sleuthing and...

Books About Sleuthing and Brothers

Add to list
The Tower Treasure
Written by Franklin W. Dixon
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers
The Hardy Boys novels were a staple of my early reading, and I'll love them forever. Many people were more familiar with the Nancy Drew series, but the Hardy Boys books are equally exciting and enjoyable detective books. Because the books are older, readers may encounter some unfamiliar words, like the yellow "jalopy" stolen by the same man who attempts to rob a ferry boat ticket office. Readers will enjoy the step-by-step problem-solving. The Hardy Boys novels are especially great for introducing young readers to the practice of deductive reasoning--the process of elimination widely popularized by Sherlock Holmes. The books are written by several different authors writing under a shared pen name, and some are certainly better than others. The Tower Treasure is one of the best.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The Hardy Boys series, first published in 1927, has sold more than 70 million copies! Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won't want to miss! In The Tower Treasure, the first book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy work together to solve a high-stakes jewel heist. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who's new to the series!
Add to list
The Boxcar Children
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
The Aldens begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process they find a grandfather.
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The Thief Lord
Written by Cornelia Funke & illustrated by Christian Birmingham
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
I've loved everything I've read of Cornelia Funke's and this book was no exception. The multiple and ever-unfolding layers of reality and truth combine with the magic of Funke's storytelling (and the magic of the carousel) to create a compelling story full of adventure, intrigue (with lots of sleuthing and sneaking!) and the most important discovery of what family really means and who family really is.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The enchanting international bestseller with bonus back matter and a beautiful new cover! Two orphaned brothers, Prosper and Bo, have run away to Venice, where crumbling canals and misty alleyways shelter a secret community of street urchins. Leader of this motley crew of lost children is a clever, charming boy with a dark history of his own: He calls himself the Thief Lord. Propser and Bo relish their new "family" and life of petty crime. But their cruel aunt and a bumbling detective are on their trail. And posing an even greater threat to the boys' freedom is something from a forgotten past: a beautiful magical treasure with the power to spin time itself.
Honorable Mentions
The Time Warp Wonder book
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Revenge of Superstition Mountain book
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The House in Poplar Wood book
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Hunting for Hidden Gold #5 book
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  1. The Time Warp Wonder - Detective brothers Frank and Joe work to debunk a time travel machine in the eighth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series. Bayport Elementary is almost ready for the annual science fair—it’s all down to the final touches. Frank and Joe have collaborated on a detective helmet. It’s the perfect lie detector—just place it on a suspect’s head and the bells and whistles will tell you when they’re lying. But not everyone is as prepared for the big fair. Their good friend Phil has designed a time machine he calls the Time Warp Wonder. He just needs to figure out how it works first… Phil uses Chet’s hamster as a test subject. And the machine really does make the hamster disappear from the cafeteria! It’s just that Phil isn’t sure where the hamster went or how to get him back. Frank and Joe are not so sure the hamster went back in time. They have a feeling their Clue Book will be more help to Chet’s hamster than Phil’s calculations. But the brothers start questioning their instincts when they receive pictures of the hamster in different time periods; dressed as caveman with the dinosaurs, suited up in armor in the middle ages, in a top hat watching Abe Lincoln give a speech. Could Chet’s hamster really be traveling though time? It’s up to the Hardy Boys—and you—to find out!

  2. Revenge of Superstition Mountain - In the third and final book in this action-packed trilogy, the Barker brothers and their good friend Delilah secretly climb up to Superstition Mountain one last time. There are still mysteries to solve—is the creepy librarian really the ghost of Julia Thomas from a century before? What was their uncle Hank’s role in discovering the gold mine? Can they still get into the gold mine after the avalanche that nearly crushed them? Does their cat, Josie, have mysterious powers? And, most of all, who is trying to kill them?

  3. The House in Poplar Wood - Haunted Mansion meets Stranger Things ★ “A smart, thrilling mystery” -Publishers Weekly, starred review ★ “Magical elements, evocative, intelligent writing, and ever-ratcheting suspense.”-Kirkus Reviews, starred review “The foreboding atmosphere perfectly matches the dark mystery and high stakes confronting the middle-schoolers.” –Booklist For as long as the Vickery twins can remember, Lee and his mother have served Memory, while Felix and his father assist Death. This is the Agreement. But one Halloween, Gretchen Whipple smashes her way into their lives. Her bargain is simple: If the twins help her solve the murder of local girl Essie Hasting, she’ll help them break the Agreement. The more the three investigate, however, the more they realize that something’s gone terribly wrong in their town. Death is on the loose, and if history repeats itself, Essie’s might not be the last murder in Poplar Wood. Simultaneously heartwarming and delightfully spooky, The House in Poplar Wood is a story about a boy’s desire to be free, a girl’s desire to make a difference, and a family’s desire to be together again.

  4. Hunting for Hidden Gold #5 - The Hardy Boys series, first published in 1927, has sold more than 70 million copies! Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss! In Hunting for Hidden Gold, the fifth book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy pursue a notorious gang responsible for a payroll robbery. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who’s new to the series!

Want to see books about brothers?

Books About Sleuthing and Action And Adventure

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The Doll People
Written by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin & illustrated by Brian Selznick
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This adventurous story is full of facing fears, some sleuthing, and problem solving. Even though the cover may cause some boys to think it's a "girl book," I think this book is such a fun gender neutral book! When Annabelle Doll finds out she might have a missing Aunt Doll somewhere in the house, she decides to face everyone's biggest fear: leaving the dollhouse to figure out what happened to her Aunt.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Annabelle Doll is eight years old-she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll family, day after day, year after year. . . until one day the Funcrafts move in.
Add to list
Russell and the Lost Treasure
Written & illustrated by Rob Scotton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Russell the sheep is determined to find the Lost Treasure of Frogsbottom. Equipped with his Super-Duper Treasure Seeker, Russell searches high and low, up and down, and in and out. Nothing! Finally, Russell finds an old chest! Could it be? Discover how Russell finds the most valuable treasure of all.
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Bizzy Bear: Dinosaur Safari
Written by Nosy Crow & illustrated by Benji Davies
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
On a visit to the Dinosaur Wildlife Park, Bizzy Bear discovers some interesting footprints. Where do they lead and to which dinosaur do they belong? Another exciting adventure for the world's most intrepid bear!
Honorable Mentions
Hermes and the Horse with Wings book
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The Alcatraz Escape book
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The Unbreakable Code book
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The Professor and the Puzzle book
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  1. Hermes and the Horse with Wings - Zeus and the Olympians are tasked with finding a magical horse in this Heroes in Training adventure. When Zeus meets a young boy named Hermes, he claims to have their next quest from Pythia, the Oracle at Delphi. But he wants something for the information: Zeus must hand over the winged sandals he took from Perseus after their last battle. What he doesn’t know is that Perseus had stolen those sandals from someone…Hermes! Could those sandals be another magical object? When Hermes starts to fly, Zeus knows they have found another Olympian for their group—and Hermes lets Zeus know their next adventure will be to “find the force that sings.” Since Pythia never tells them exactly the right words (her glasses tend to get a little foggy), they figure out that they are supposed to find “the horse with wings.” With the help of a reluctant Hermes and another new boy named Ron, the Olympians are off in search of a winged horse­—with a few surprises along the way!

  2. The Alcatraz Escape - Sleuthing duo Emily and James engage in a literary escape-room challenge on Alcatraz Island, but soon find that an invisible enemy is trying to sabotage the team at any cost.

  3. The Unbreakable Code - Could books hidden through Book Scavenger be linked to an arsonist’s web of destruction? Find out in Book 2 of Jennifer Bertman’s Book Scavenger series. Mr. Quisling is definitely up to something mysterious, and Emily and James are on high alert. First, there’s the coded note he drops at a book event. Then they uncover a trail of encrypted messages in Mark Twain-penned books hidden through Book Scavenger. What’s most suspicious is that each hidden book triggers a fire. As the sleuthing friends dig deeper, they discover Mr. Quisling has been hunting a legendary historical puzzle: the Unbreakable Code. This new mystery is irresistible, but Emily and James can’t ignore the signs that Mr. Quisling might be the arsonist. The clock is ticking as the fires multiply, and Emily and James race to crack the code of a lifetime. A Christy Ottaviano Book

  4. The Professor and the Puzzle - Nancy and her friends are on an epic quest to discover the identity of a treacherous Greek scholar in this fifteenth book of the Nancy Drew Diaries, a fresh approach to the classic mystery series. Nancy, Bess, and George are excited to attend Oracle College’s annual Greek mythology themed gala. But the festive spirit turns troubled when a student falls from the balcony mid-speech. Nancy’s investigations quickly reveal this was a case of collegiate sabotage. Can she find the campus menace before someone else gets hurt?

Books About Sleuthing and Moving

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Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This story shows how grief is manifested in different ways, but how the two sisters and their guardian bonded together and strengthened one another in their difficult times. I also loved that the mystery was about Andi's family history and linked to the great depression, both of which are great topics for readers to learn about. I loved following along in their sleuthing and detective efforts to figure out the answer to their mystery. :)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The first in a new middle-grade mystery series, in Andi Unexpected, twelve-year-old Andi Boggs, discovers evidence of her forgotten namesake, a missing relative, which leads her into a family mystery rooted in the Great Depression.
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Book Scavenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Just after twelve-year-old Emily and her family move to San Francisco, she teams up with new friend James to follow clues in an odd book they find, hoping to figure out its secrets before the men who attacked Emily's hero, publisher Garrison Griswold, solve the mystery or come after the friends.
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The Great Shelby Holmes
Written by Elizabeth Eulberg
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
**Sherlock Holmes gets a fun, sweet twist with two irresistible young heroes and black & white illustrations throughout, in this middle grade debut from internationally bestselling YA author Elizabeth Eulberg.** Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She's nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen--always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes. When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that's eluded her up till now: a friend. The easy-going John isn't sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that'll take both their talents to crack.
Honorable Mentions
The Newspaper Club book
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The Unforgetable Guinevere St. Clair book
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Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Golden Key book
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William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle book
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  1. The Newspaper Club - Shortly after Nellie Murrow, named for one of the fiercest journalists who ever lived and daughter of two (former) newspaper reporters, move to sleepy Bear Creek, Maine, rumors of vandalism and attacks at the only park in town are keeping Nellie saddled to the house. Some townspeople say the attacks are gang recruitments. Others blame a vagrant spotted on the hiking trails around town. But when Nellie thinks like a reporter, none of those explanations make sense. Something is happening at the park, but what? All of the fake online news and rumors are clouding the real news. Nellie wants to break the story—and break free from the front yard-but she can’t do it alone. She needs a whole club if she’s going to start the town’s first independent newspaper—The Cub Report. Creating a newspaper from scratch is going to be tough; but for Nellie, making friends is even harder.

  2. The Unforgetable Guinevere St. Clair - A ten-year-old girl is determined to find her missing neighbor, but the answers lead her to places and people she never expected—and maybe even one she’s been running away from —in this gorgeous debut novel that’s perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish.

  3. Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Golden Key - Featuring friendship, school, family, and a diverse community, these early illustrated chapter books from James Preller have it all. When a new kid moves into town, he brings with him a mystery as big as his house! Reggie Armitage the III has found a box with a list of codes and a golden skeleton key—but he has no idea what the key opens or how to crack the code. It’s a good thing 2nd-grade sleuths, Jigsaw Jones and Mila Yeh, are investigating The Case of the Golden Key. James Preller’s wry, witty, Jigsaw Jones books are once again available to inspire the next generation of young readers, featuring both new titles and classroom classics!

  4. William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle - Also published in English as: William Wenton and the luridium thief.

Want to see books about moving?

Books About Sleuthing and Friendship

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Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Written by Chris Grabenstein
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
"Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape"--
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Greenglass House
Written by Kate Milford & illustrated by Jaime Zollars
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-12
At Greenglass House, a smuggler's inn, 12-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his winter holidays relaxing, but soon guests begin arriving with strange stories about the house, sending Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, on an adventure. Simultaneous eBook.
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Lodestar
Written & illustrated by Shannon Messenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Dark schemes unfold—and Sophie’s loyalty is pushed to the limit—in this thrilling fifth book in the bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is back in the Lost Cities—but the Lost Cities have changed. The threat of war hangs heavy over her glittering world, and the Neverseen are wreaking havoc. The lines between friend and enemy have blurred, and Sophie is unsure whom to trust. But when she’s warned that the people she loves most will be the next victims, she knows she has to act. A mysterious symbol could be the key—if only she knew how to translate it. Every new clue seems to lead deeper into her world’s underbelly and the Black Swan aren’t the only ones who have plans. The Neverseen have their own Initiative, and if Sophie doesn’t stop it, they might finally have the ultimate means to control her.
Honorable Mentions
Nightfall book
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Flashback book
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The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan book
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Howard Wallace, book
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  1. Nightfall - A New York Times bestselling series A USA TODAY bestselling series A California Young Reader Medal–winning series Sophie and her friends face battles unlike anything they’ve seen before in this thrilling sixth book of the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is struggling. Grieving. Scrambling. But she knows one thing: she will not be defeated. The Neverseen have had their victories—but the battle is far from over. It’s time to change tactics. Make sacrifices. Reexamine everything. Maybe even time for Sophie to trust her enemies. All paths lead to Nightfall—an ominous door to an even more ominous place—and Sophie and her friends strike a dangerous bargain to get there. But nothing can prepare them for what they discover. The problems they’re facing stretch deep into their history. And with time running out, and mistakes catching up with them, Sophie and her allies must join forces in ways they never have before. In this spectacular sixth book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must uncover the truth about the Lost Cities’ insidious past, before it repeats itself and changes reality.

  2. Flashback - In this unforgettable seventh book in the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased. Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat. But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight. Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for.

  3. The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan - Life in a Nevada mining town in 1905 is not easy for 13-year-old Kit Donovan, who is trying to do right by her deceased mother and become a proper lady. When Kit discovers Papa’s boss at the gold mine is profiting from unsafe working conditions, she realizes being a lady is tougher than it looks. With a man’s hat and a printing press, Kit puts her big mouth and all the life skills she’s learned from reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to work, defying threats of violence and finding that justice doesn’t always look like she imagined it would.

  4. Howard Wallace, - Lyall s debut is a winner. “ “Publishers Weekly” What s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something? This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat. Dude, that s a brown bathrobe. I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you ve got. “ Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick and a friend is such a bad thing after all.”

Books About Sleuthing and Animals

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Sloth Slept on
Written & illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
This book is so clever. Such a fun story. The kids are so set to figure out what this animal is and where it came from and where it should go and they do lots of research. I love seeing the curiosity in children and their desire to find answers!
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Who's that sleeping in our tree? When a group of kids finds an animal happily napping in their backyard, they set out to discover what it is and where it belongs. As they search and search--never noticing the posters and articles about a sloth that's fled the zoo--they finally discover the identity of the snoozing creature. When sloth wakes up, it's in for a BIG surprise!
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A Piglet Named Mercy
Written by Kate DiCamillo & illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Mr. Watson and Mrs. Watson live ordinary lives. Sometimes their lives feel a bit too ordinary. Sometimes they wish something different would happen. And one day it does, when someone unpredictable finds her way to their front door. In a delightful origin story for the star of the Mercy Watson series, a tiny piglet brings love (and chaos) to Deckawoo Drive—and the Watsons’ lives will never be the same.
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The Giant Jumperee
Written by Julia Donaldson & 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.
Honorable Mentions
The Sea Turtle Mystery book
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Mystery of the Ivory Charm book
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  1. The Sea Turtle Mystery - The Aldens are spending spring break on a beach, but they aren’t just soaking up the sun. They’re protecting an endangered species! Their job is to mark sea turtle nests so the eggs can be moved to a safe place to hatch, but someone is digging up the eggs without permission. Can the Boxcar Children figure out what’s going on and help save the sea turtles?

  2. Mystery of the Ivory Charm - What secret life-giving power does the exquisite ivory elephant charm contain? Can the trinket really protect its wearer from all harm? Nancy Drew finds out when the owner of the Bengleton Wild-Animal Show asks her to investigate one of the performers who may be involved in some mysterious illegal scheme.The girl detective’s assignment becomes complicated when the elephant trainer’s young assistant, Rishi, seeks refuge at the Drew home from his cruel foster father, Rai.While following clues to help the boy find his real father, Nancy learns about an eerie abandoned house. She is harassed by its strange owner, Anita Allison, and the fiendish Rai. How Nancy uses the ivory charm, reunites a maharaja with his son, and brings the evildoers to justice will mystify readers from beginning to end.

Books About Sleuthing and Orphans

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The Bad Beginning
Written by Lemony Snicket & illustrated by Brett Helquist and Michael Kupperman
Thoughts from The Goodfather
As a believer in home libraries, I love reading about the excitement the Baudelaire children feel when they visit the home library of Justice Strauss for the first time. And I especially love when they return to that home library to figure out what terrible scheme Count Olaf might be plotting to get to their family fortune and how they can outwit him at his own game. The terribly unfortunate but resilient Baudelaire orphans combined with the terrifically terrible villainy of Count Olaf make Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events such a memorable puzzler.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky. In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, a long knife, and a terrible odor. In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy.
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The Hundred-Year Mystery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
The Boxcar Children stumble across a 100-year-old time capsule with a mysterious journal inside. It contains clues that lead the children around Greenfield and through the history books in search of a lost treasure. But questions remain. Who wrote the journal? And after 100 years, will there be enough evidence to find the hidden treasure?
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Wormwood Mire
Written & illustrated by Judith Rossell
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
This spine-tingling sequel to Withering-by-Sea sees Stella sent away to the moldering old family estate, where she discovers two odd cousins—and a mystery. Eleven-year-old Stella Montgomery has always wondered about her family. What happened to her mother? And could she have a long-lost sister somewhere? Stella’s awful Aunts refuse to tell her anything, and now they have sent her away to the old family home at Wormwood Mire, where she must live with two strange cousins and their governess. But dark secrets slither and skulk within overgrown grounds of the house, and Stella must be brave if she’s to find out who—or what—she really is…
Honorable Mentions
The Doughnut Whodunit book
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Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children: Time to Read, Level 2) book
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Spindrift and the Orchid book
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  1. The Doughnut Whodunit - A hip new doughnut shop known for its bizarre recipes is opening up in Greenfield. At first, the owners of the other doughnut shop in town, Delilah’s, aren’t worried. Their shop has been a fixture downtown since just after World War II. But when the new shop starts making doughnuts that look just like some of Delilah’s greatest hits, the Boxcar Children must figure out if it’s just a coincidence or if someone from the new shop is stealing Delilah’s recipes.

  2. Surprise Island (The Boxcar Children: Time to Read, Level 2) - The Aldens spend the summer on Grandfather’s island! Joe, the island’s friendly handyman, helps them with anything they need, but as the children continue to explore their summer home, they realize there is more to the island—and to their new friend—than meets the eye. Adapted from the feature film of the same name, this early reader allows children to step into reading with a Boxcar Children classic.

  3. Spindrift and the Orchid - A girl finds herself entrenched in a dark mystery after the deaths of her parents in this fantastical novel from the author of The House of Months and Years.

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Books About Sleuthing and Lost And Found Possessions

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Who Ate All the Cookie Dough?
Written by Karen Beaumont & illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This eeny-meeny-miney-mo story had a fun twist as they were looking for who stole the cookie dough! Though I thought it was a bit repetitive, it was fun to have all of the different animals and I liked the silly monkey. Another fun addition is the lift-the-flap at the end to find the culprit!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Kanga and her friends try to discover who ate all of her cookie dough.
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Marion and the Secret Letter
Written by Callie Barkley & illustrated by Tracy Bishop
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Taking a turn caring for the class pet hamster, Marion is devastated when the hamster goes missing and she receives an anonymous letter in her locker with clues leading to a mysterious scavenger hunt.
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Worth a Thousand Words
Written by Brigit Young
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Ever since Tillie Green's car accident left her with a severe limp, she's kept herself hidden behind her camera. Through the lens, she watches her family and classmates, spotting the small details and secret glances that tell a much bigger story than what people usually see. Students call her "Lost and Found," because her camera knows when you last had your headphones. Tillie is good at finding things, but she isn't prepared for Jake's request: to find his father. In a matter of days, Tillie goes from silent observer to one half of a detective duo, searching the college-town community for clues to explain Jake's dad's disappearance. When the truth isn't what Jake wants it to be, and taking photographs starts exposing people's secrets, Tillie has to decide what (and who) is truly important to her.
Honorable Mentions
Nancy Drew 41: The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes book
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Hermelin the Detective Mouse book
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The Mystery of Cabin Island #8 book
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  1. Nancy Drew 41: The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes - 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.

  2. Hermelin the Detective Mouse - A mouse with typewriting skills secretly helps the people of Offley Street find lost items, and eventually saves the day.

  3. The Mystery of Cabin Island #8 - The Hardy Boys series, first published in 1927, has sold more than 70 million copies! Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss! In The Mystery of Cabin Island, the eighth book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy encounter several dangerous setbacks as they search for Johnny Jefferson and some antique stolen medals. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who’s new to the series!

Books About Sleuthing and Thieves

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The Detective Dog
Written by Julia Donaldson & illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
A rollicking rhyming picture book from bestselling author Julia Donaldson about a dog who uses her amazing sense of smell to solve mysteries. When Detective Dog Nell puts her nose to the task, there's no mystery she can't solve. Whether she's tracking the missing shoe of her human, Peter, or locating some lost honeycomb, all Nell has to do is sniff, sniff, sniff and she's hot on the trail. Besides solving mysteries, there's something else Nell loves—listening to children read. Every Monday, Peter takes her to school where children tell her stories. One day, Nell and Peter arrive to find that all the books are gone. Who could have taken them? And why? There's only one dog for the job, and Detective Dog Nell is ready to sniff out the thief!
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Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Hat Burglar
Written by James Preller & illustrated by R.W. Alley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Jigsaw Jones is back! A brand new original mystery, The Case of the Hat Burglar is the newest installment of the Jigsaw Jones chapter book series by James Preller. Someone’s been stealing from the lost and found. But the strangest part of this mystery is what they’ve been stealing. Not mittens, or books, or water bottles—only hats! Just when Jigsaw comes up with a plan to catch this hat burglar in the act, the mystery thief strikes again right under his nose! Will this be the first case Jigsaw and Mila can’t solve? Sure to delight and intrigue young minds in equal measure, this never-before-published mystery chapter book is full of charming illustrations and James Preller's signature humor and warmth.
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Big Trouble: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Written by R. A. Spratt & illustrated by Phil Gosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The mystery hits close to home when Friday learns her mother has been kidnapped. But she's distracted by other happenings at school: a new VIP student (a Norwegian princess!) has just arrived and a master thief called the Pimpernel is causing chaos across campus. Can Friday crack the case of her missing mother, reign in a royal brat, and unmask the elusive Pimpernel?
Honorable Mentions
The Case of the Missing Painting book
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The Case of the Stolen Drumsticks (Detective Paw of the Law: Time to Read, Level 3) book
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The Haunted Bridge book
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The Clue of the Leaning Chimney book
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  1. The Case of the Missing Painting - Someone has broken into the fancy art gallery and stolen a painting! Can Detective Paw and Patrol Officer Prickles discover who took it? Young readers can learn about police procedures and detective work as they follow along with Detective Paw and try to solve the case themselves!

  2. The Case of the Stolen Drumsticks (Detective Paw of the Law: Time to Read, Level 3) - Detective Paw and Patrol Officer Prickles reunite for The Case of the Stolen Drumsticks! Vinnie “The Crash” McClaren’s drumsticks disappear right before the Battle of the Bands! Can Detective Paw and Patrol Officer Prickles find the culprit before the show? Young readers can learn about police procedures and detective work as they follow along with Detective Paw and try to solve the case themselves!

  3. The Haunted Bridge - 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.

  4. The Clue of the Leaning Chimney - Nancy Drew and her friend Bess discover that a rare and valuable Chinese vase has been stolen from the pottery shop of Dick Milton, a cousin of Bess. Dick had borrowed the vase from his Chinese friend, elderly Mr. Soong, and he is determined to repay Mr. Soong for the loss. He tells Nancy that if he can find “the leaning chimney,” he will be on the track of a discovery which will solve his financial problems. Nancy finds the leaning chimney, but it only leads her into more puzzles. Can there be any connection between the vase theft – one of a number of similar crimes – and the strange disappearance of the pottery expert Eng Moy and his daughter Lei?

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Books About Sleuthing and New York

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Stuart Little
Written & illustrated by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A hardcover edition of this treasured story, for which Garth Williams's original black-and-white line drawings for the jacket of Stuart Little have been colorized by the celebrated illustrator Rosemary Wells. Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he's shy and thoughtful, he's also a true lover of adventure. Stuart's greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?
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The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match
Written & illustrated by Elizabeth Eulberg
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Acclaimed author Elizabeth Eulberg continues her hilarious middle-grade twist on Sherlock Holmes as detective duo Shelby and Watson face a culprit who might be able to do the impossible--outsmart Shelby. Eleven-year-old John Watson never expected his first friend in his new Harlem neighborhood to be Shelby Holmes, a nine-year-old, four-foot-tall supersleuth whose incredible smarts are outweighed only by her big attitude. But it turns out that solving mysteries with Shelby is just the adventure that aspiring writer John needs. On John's very first day of school in New York, Shelby deduces that their new science teacher, Mr. Crosby, is in trouble. But as Shelby and John dig deeper to expose the truth, they discover there might be someone unexpected involved . . . Someone determined to outsmart Shelby Holmes. Can Shelby and John uncover the truth before the case goes from puzzling to downright dangerous? Don't miss the rest of the Great Shelby Holmes series: The Great Shelby Holmes The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case
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Harriet The Spy
Written by Louise Fitzhugh
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
"The 50th annivesary edition of Harriet the Spy includes tributes to this timeless coming-of-age story from Judy Blume, Rebecca Stead, and other notable authors." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor This special 50th Anniversary Edition of the classic and ground-breaking coming-of-age novel, Harriet the Spy, includes tributes by Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, Lois Lowry, Rebecca Stead, and many more, as well as a map of Harriet's New York City neighborhood and spy route and original author/editor correspondence. Using her keen observation skills, 11-year-old Harriet M. Welsch writes down in her notebook what she considers the truth about everyone in and around her New York City neighborhood. When she loses track of her notebook, it ends up in the wrong hands, and before she can stop them, her friends read the sometimes awful things she's observed and written about each of them. How can Harriet find a way to keep her integrity and also put her life and her friendships back together? “I don’t know of a better novel about the costs and rewards of being a truth teller, nor of any book that made more readers of my generation want to become fiction writers. I love the story of Harriet so much I feel as if I lived it.” —Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom and The Corrections
Honorable Mentions
Mystery of the brass-bound trunk book
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The Secret of Mirror Bay book
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The Story Collector book
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The Jungle Pyramid book
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  1. Mystery of the brass-bound trunk - From the moment Nancy Drew boards an ocean liner leaving for New York, she becomes involved in a new and dangerous mystery. A man on the pier gestures to someone on board in sign language. BEWARE OF NANCY DREW AND NE, he signals. Who is NE? Can it be Nelda Detweiler, a young woman who shares a cabin with Nancy, Bess, and George? Mystery and intrigue follow the girls across the ocean; but with her usual ingenuity Nancy solves the mystery and defeats her enemies before the ship reaches New York.

  2. The Secret of Mirror Bay - 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?

  3. The Story Collector - Eleven-year-old Viviani Fedeler grew up surrounded by books, but now she’s ready for her own story to begin. As thedaughter of the Library superintendent, Viviani has explored every nook, cranny, and room—except the ones her father keeps locked.When Viviani suspects that the Library is haunted, she decides to spook her friends and new girl Merit Mubarak with a harmless little prank. But what begins as a joke quickly gets out of hand. Soon Viviani and her friends have to solve two big mysteries: Is there really a ghost in the Library?And who stole the expensive stamp collection?

  4. The Jungle Pyramid - A million dollars’ worth of gold bullion has been stolen from the Wakefield Mint under strange circumstances. Mr. hardy is asked to investigate but before long his life is threatened, and he asks Frank and Joe to help him. The boys fly to Zurich, Switzerland, hoping to get information at the Swiss Gold Syndicate and to find the man who has stolen a valuable ancient gold figurine from a New York museum. Their search on both counts seems futile as they return to the United States where they uncover clues that lead them to an adventure in the Yucatán jungle. But the Hardy’s travels lead to nothing but new doubts and nagging suspicions. And now their lives are in danger.

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Books About Sleuthing and Birds

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Whobert Whover, Owl Detective
Written by Jason Gallaher & illustrated by Jess Pauwels
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-6
Help Whobert Whover, Owl Detective, keep his woods safe in this hilarious who-who-dun-it.
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Violet and the Hidden Treasure
Written by Harriet Whitehorn & illustrated by Becka Moor
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-8
Meet Violet Remy-Robinson, an amateur Sherlock Holmes in the making in this captivating new series, perfect for fans of Chris Riddell and Robin Stevens’s Wells & Wong mysteries.
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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.
Honorable Mentions
Wallace and Grace and the Lost Puppy book
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Hensel and Gretel, Ninja Chicks book
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  1. Wallace and Grace and the Lost Puppy - Read & Bloom offers high-interest, character-driven stories for newly independent readers that feature full-color illustrations throughout. These early chapter books will transition kids from leveled readers to a lifetime of reading. In this delightful series, kids will be treated to simple whodunit mysteries as an utterly adorable owl duo put their heads together. While Wallace and Grace are on a scavenger hunt, they stumble upon a puppy named Jasper who can’t find his way. Will the owl detectives be able to follow the clues to get the lost puppy home?

  2. Hensel and Gretel, Ninja Chicks - New from the team behind The Three Ninja Pigs and Ninja Red Riding Hood These ninja chicks are anything but chicken! When Hensel and Gretel’s dad gets snatched by a fox, the sisters put their ninja skills to work to track him down before he can be stir-fried. But are these two little chicks ready to take on a dark tangled forest, a tricky house made of corn bread, and an even trickier fox? This plucky pair isn’t giving up without a fight! Kiya!

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Books About Sleuthing and Social Themes

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Neverseen
Written by Shannon Messenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Sophie battles the rebels—and recovers dark memories from her past—in this jaw-dropping fourth book in the bestselling Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is on the run—but at least she's not alone. Her closest friends from the Lost Cities have gone with her to join the Black Swan. They still have doubts about the shadowy organization, but the only way to find answers is to start working with them. And as they settle into their new lives, they uncover secrets bigger than anything they’d imagined. But their enemies are far from done, and unleash a terrifying plague that threatens the safety of an entire species. Sophie and her friends fight with everything they have—with new allies joining them—but every choice has consequences. And trusting the wrong person could prove deadly. In this game-changing fourth book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must question everything to find a truth that will either save her world—or shatter it.
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Everblaze
Written & illustrated by Shannon Messenger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Sophie uncovers shocking secrets—and faces treacherous new enemies—in this electrifying third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series. Sophie Foster is ready to fight back. Her talents are getting stronger, and with the elusive Black Swan group ignoring her calls for help, she’s determined to find her kidnappers—before they come after her again. But a daring mistake leaves her world teetering on the edge of war, and causes many to fear that she has finally gone too far. And the deeper Sophie searches, the farther the conspiracy stretches, proving that her most dangerous enemy might be closer than she realizes. In this nail-biting third book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Sophie must fight the flames of rebellion, before they destroy everyone and everything she loves.
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The Secret of the Shadow Bandit
Written by Linda Joy Singleton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Kelsey's dad has a new job and that means a new house—on the same property as a castle! Kelsey, Becca, and Leo can't wait to explore, but what they find might lead to their most intricate case yet. How are an abandoned tree house, a wad of cash, a missing heirloom, and a mysterious creature roaming the grounds all connected? The Curious Cat Spy Club is determined to find out!
Honorable Mentions
The Mystery of the Zorse's Mask book
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Kelsey the Spy book
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Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery book
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The Curious Cat Spy Club book
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  1. The Mystery of the Zorse's Mask - When a mysterious stranger claims to own Becca’s beloved zorse, Zed, something seems suspicious. Besides, if this person is Zed’s real owner, the Curious Cat Spy Club fears he might be responsible for abusing Zed in the past. Kelsey, Becca, and Leo are determined to uncover the truth before they have to give Zed away. But when a daring rescue attempt puts Kelsey in danger, does the CCSC have enough spy skills to save her or are they in over their heads?

  2. Kelsey the Spy - Kelsey can’t resist collecting secrets in her spy notebook—just like her hero, Harriet the Spy. When she learns Leo has been hiding something from the group, she writes his secret in her notebook as well. But Kelsey accidentally brings her Notebook of Secrets to school and loses it. Everything she’s collected about classmates, friends, and family could be released into the world! When she receives a ransom note, she tries to solve the mystery on her own but soon realizes she needs everyone in the CCSC to rescue the notebook, help a homesick 130-year-old Aldabra tortoise, and unmask a thief. A surprise ending changes Kelsey’s life in a way she never imagined.

  3. Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery - Two best friends with a flair for adventure use their gardening and art skills to catch a criminal during Día de los Muertos, in the first book of the Lou Lou and Pea series! Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl have been best friends since first grade. Every Friday afternoon, they get together in Lou Lou’s backyard garden for their PSPP (Post-School Pre-Parents) tea party. They chat about school, discuss Pea’s latest fashions, and plot the weekend’s activities. But all plans go out the window when a series of small crimes crop up around El Corazón, their quaint and quirky neighborhood, right before the Día de Los Muertos procession. First, Pea’s cousin’s quinceañera dress is tragically ruined. Then Lou Lou’s beloved camellia bush, Pinky, suffers a serious blow. And that’s just the beginning! When clues start to appear in El Corazón’s outdoor murals, the best friends join forces, using Lou Lou’s floral expertise and Pea’s artistic genius to solve the mysteries. Accented by Lesley Vamos’s spirited black-and-white illustrations, Jill Diamond’s debut is a delightful introduction to two very creative best friends and their unforgettable adventures! Backmatter includes a recipe, crafting activity, and glossary of Spanish terms. “Lou Lou and Pea are likable heroines and the cast of multicultural characters and Latino-themed festivities broaden the accessibility. . . . This is a pleasant, breezy friendship tale for middle grade readers who also enjoy a light mystery.” —School Library Journal

  4. The Curious Cat Spy Club - No one at school knows that Kelsey, Becca, and Leo are secretly friends. They have nothing in common—until they rescue three kittens and form a club to help animals through volunteering, spying, and solving mysteries. In the first book of this series, Kelsey helps catch a runaway zorse (horse + zebra) with the help of another girl from school named Becca. The two are walking home when they happen upon a litter of kittens trapped in a dumpster and Leo Polanski is the only person around who can help get them out. The three unlikely friends decide to work together to help solve animal crimes with their secret club!

Books About Sleuthing and Spies

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Spy School Secret Service
Written by Stuart Gibbs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley is assigned to protect the president from an assassination attempt in his first solo mission, but he may be in over his head.
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The Pocket Guide to Spy Stuff
Written & illustrated by Bart King
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14
A humorous look at the world of espionage with fun activities that will jump-start your training as a world-class spy. A handy and newly relevant guide to spies and spy craft for youngsters interested in all things espionage. It includes background and tips on how to be a spy, as well as strange-but-true stories of real spies and their unbelievable missions. This pocket-sized compendium covers all facets of the spy game, including chapters on disguises, surveillance, lie detecting, eavesdropping, misinformation, handling secrets, and high-tech spy gear. Part of the Pocket Guide Series. Bart King taught middle school for many years. He's written 28 books, including The Big Book of Girl Stuff, The Big Book of Boy Stuff, The Big Book of Superheroes, The Big Book of Gross Stuff, and Bart's King-Sized Book of Fun.
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Spy School Goes South
Written by Stuart Gibbs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Ben is taken to Mexico by his nemesis in the hopes that he’ll finally be able to take down SPYDER in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series. Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley has been caught in the snares of SPYDER more than once and knows well enough to be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true—despite needing special tutoring in advanced survival techniques. So when Murray Hill finally breaks his silence with an offer to hand over the SPYDER elite, Ben knows that there must be something going on. But his hesitation doesn’t stop the assignment. The Mission: Follow Murray Hill to an undisclosed location with no one else but Erica Hale to identify SPYDER leadership. Once found, contact the CIA to sweep in and finish the job. DO NOT CONTACT SPYDER DIRECTLY. However, as Ben suspected, nothing goes as planned, and what should be an easy mission quickly turns deadly. Now, Ben and Erica will have to face rogue agents, trained killers, and even very hungry crocodiles in a race against the clock to find out what SPYDER is up to this time—and thwart their evil plans.
Honorable Mentions
Evil Spy School book
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Trapped! book
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Spy Camp book
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Spy School book
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  1. Evil Spy School - Recruited into an evil spy organization after being expelled from the CIA’s spy school, 12-year-old Ben works as an unofficial undercover agent while mastering bad-guy techniques and investigating clues about an imminent plot. Simultaneous eBook.

  2. Trapped! - Florian Bates—the only kid on the FBI Director’s speed dial and several international criminals’ most wanted lists—must save his friend from being framed for a crime he didn’t commit in this hilarious third novel in the Framed! series. Middle school is hard. Solving cases for the FBI is even harder. Doing both at the same time, well that’s just crazy. But that doesn’t stop Florian Bates! Along with his best friend, and Watson to his Sherlock, Margaret, Florian’s making the case that kids can do anything. When Florian and Margaret’s FBI supervisor, Marcus Rivers, is accused of a crime, it’s up to this mystery solving duo to jump into action and clear his name, because Marcus is more than their boss—he’s family. The case involves one of Marcus’s first investigations for the FBI and a Russian spy ring. However, when the spy they are chasing learns what they’re up to, the tables are turned, and Marcus finds himself implicated in a variety of crimes, including theft, corruption, and espionage. For Florian and Margaret, it just got personal. They’re going to catch the spy and clear Marcus’s name…even if they have to break into (and out of) the Library of Congress to do it.

  3. Spy Camp - As almost 13-year-old Ben, a student at the CIA’s academy for future intelligence agents, prepares to go to spy summer camp, he receives a death threat from the evil organization SPYDER.

  4. Spy School - Twelve-year-old Ben Ripley leaves his public middle school to attend the CIA’s highly secretive Espionage Academy, which everyone is told is an elite science school.

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Books About Sleuthing and Science

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To Catch a Thief
Written by Mandy Hartley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11
In the first book of the DNA Detectives series Annabelle and Harry's pet dog, Milly goes missing. After putting up posters and waiting on their parents they don't know what to do. But when a number of their friend's pets also vanish the children think the perpetrator is their next door neighbour and set out to prove it.
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A Hint of Hydra
Written by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thirteen-year-old chef Lailu Loganberry must stop a war between the elves and scientists in this follow-up to A Dash of Dragon, which Kirkus Reviews calls “a recipe for success.” It’s the Week of Masks, a festival held to chase away evil spirits. But Lailu doesn’t have time to worry about demons. She has bigger fish to fry—or rather, griffons, now that she’s been asked to prepare a mystical feast for the king’s executioner, Lord Elister. Unfortunately Lailu’s meal is overshadowed by the scientists’ latest invention: automatons, human-shaped machines that will respond to their masters’ every order. Most people are excited by the possibilities, but the mechanical men leave Lailu with a bad taste in her mouth. Even worse, the elves still blame the scientists for the attacks on them weeks ago, and Lailu worries that the elves might be cooking up revenge. So when she and her sorta-rival-turned-almost-friend Greg stumble across the body of a scientist, the elves are the prime suspects. With help from Greg, her best friend Hannah, and the sneaky, winking spy Ryon, Lailu has to discover the truth behind the murder, and soon—because hostilities between the elves and the scientists are about to boil over faster than hydra stew. And just ask any chef: war is bad for business.
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The Case of the Barfy Birthday
Written by Michele Torrey & illustrated by Barbara Johansen Newman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11
Fifth graders Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey use their detective and scientific investigation skills to solve cases which involve food poisoning, missing terns, a haunted treehouse, and a pig in a pit.
Honorable Mentions
The Exact Location of Home book
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The Case of the Mossy Lake Monster book
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The Case of the Gasping Garbage book
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Ada Lace, on the Case book
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  1. The Exact Location of Home - Kate Messner pens a new moving tale of family and friendship about a tech-savvy boy searching for his father during tough times. Kirby “Zig” Zigonski lives for the world of simple circuits, light bulbs, buzzers, and motors. Electronics are, after all, much more predictable than most people—especially his father, who he hasn’t seen in over a year. When his dad’s latest visit is canceled with no explanation and his mom seems to be hiding something, Zig turns to his best friend Gianna and a new gizmo—a garage sale GPS unit—for help. Convinced that his dad is leaving clues around town to explain his absence, Zig sets out to find him. Following one clue after another, logging mile after mile, Zig soon discovers that people aren’t always what they seem . . . and sometimes, there’s more than one set of coordinates for home. An important story of love and hope that will capture readers’ hearts, The Exact Location of Home is another must read from beloved author Kate Messner.

  2. The Case of the Mossy Lake Monster - Fourth-graders Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey combine their detective and scientific investigation skills to solve a variety of cases involving a hungry cat, endangered penguins, a fish-stealing monster, and a dirty election. Includes a section of scientific experiments and activities.

  3. The Case of the Gasping Garbage - Fourth-graders Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey combine their detective and scientific investigation skills to solve a variety of cases involving a noisy garbage can, endangered frogs, a stuck truck, and a mysterious love letter. Includes a section of scientific experiments and activities.

  4. Ada Lace, on the Case - Ada Lace—third-grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire—has discovered something awful: her neighbor’s beloved Yorkie has been dognapped! With the assistance of a quirky neighbor named Nina (who is convinced an alien took the doggie) and her ever-growing collection of gadgets, Ada sets out to find the wrongdoer. As their investigation becomes more and more mysterious, Ada and Nina grow closer, proving that opposites do, in fact, attract.

Want to see books about science?

Books About Sleuthing and Siblings

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The Monster Sisters and the Mystery of the Unlocked Cave
Written by Gareth Gaudin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
When a quiet seaside town is suddenly overrun by hundreds of giant monsters, two young sisters are the only ones prepared to handle the situation. Using their keen interest in architecture, local history, folklore and gymnastics, the two girls attempt to not only stop the monsters’ rampage but also figure out why it’s happening. The story is set in Victoria, British Columbia, and the city’s impressive history and creepy folk- lore add intrigue to the proceedings, as more and more monstrous guests arrive on this unceded Lekwungen Territory. The Monster Sisters, Enid Jupiter and Lyra Gotham, are two young sleuths in the vein of Nancy Drew or Scooby-Doo, doing superheroic deeds while learning about colonialism on Indigenous land.
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The Real McCoys: Two's a Crowd
Written & illustrated by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The sequel to the critically acclaimed The Real McCoys! When a baffling mystery strikes Tiddlywhump Elementary, sibling detectives and absolute opposites Moxie and Milton McCoy are on the case. She's the doer. He's the thinker. She's the heart. He's her heartburn. Moxie's friend Emily has received a suspicious letter signed with nothing but a sinister purple squiggle. Then more letters arrive—along with more questions. Who sent them? What do they mean? Is the world on the brink of collapse? Milton and Moxie are the perfect problem-solving team...if only they could get along.When their partnership falls apart, Moxie races to identify the mysterious Squiggler first—while learning the hard way that two McCoys really are better than one.
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February Friend
Written by Ron Roy & illustrated by John Steven Gurney
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
Bradley, Brian, Nate, and Lucy follow clues to find whoever left a rabbit in their first-grade classroom on Valentine's Day, because they are worried the rabbit will get sick and die of loneliness.
Honorable Mentions
The Robot Ransom book
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The Real McCoys book
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Lock and Key: The Final Step book
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The Legend of the Howling Werewolf book
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  1. The Robot Ransom - Henry and Jessie’s middle school robotics team is going to the regional competition! But it seems like someone doesn’t want their team to compete. Can the Aldens use their sleuthing skills and what they’ve learned about robotics to find the culprit and save the day?

  2. The Real McCoys - The first book in an illustrated middle-grade series in which a precocious detective solves mysteries with her super-smart little brother. Her name’s Moxie. Moxie McCoy. Bold, opinionated, and haplessly self-confident, the world’s greatest fourth-grade detective faces her biggest challenge! When someone kidnaps beloved school mascot Eddie the Owl, Moxie is on the case—but she’s forced to fly solo now that her best friend (and crime-solving partner) has moved away. Moxie must interview her classmates—both as potential new best friends and as possible suspects. She finds clues and points fingers but can’t save the owl on her own. Enter Moxie’s little brother, Milton. Quiet, cautious, and boring as a butter knife, he’s a good listener. Can the Real McCoys form an unlikely alliance and solve the crime of the century?

  3. Lock and Key: The Final Step - The New York Times bestselling author of the Peter and the Starcatchers and Kingdom Keepers series, Ridley Pearson, brings us the thrilling conclusion to the Lock and Key trilogy. Before James Moriarty and his sister Moria enrolled in Baskerville Academy, they were inseparable—as close to best friends as a brother and sister could be. But since setting foot on the boarding school’s campus, James has been different. At Baskerville, he’s become cunning, deceptive, ruthless, sometimes reckless. And now that his roommate Sherlock Holmes has been expelled, there’s no one left to help Moira figure out what’s going on with her brother or to uncover the connection between a recent string of deaths. To Moria, it seems obvious that someone has it out for the Moriarty family. First their father and then their family driver and now their legal guardian—clearly something is afoot. But to get the answers they need, they’ll first have to deal with an incriminating photograph, secret safe houses, and powerful enemies. It’s a highly original and satisfying take on the Sherlock Holmes series as only master of suspense Ridley Pearson could envision.

  4. The Legend of the Howling Werewolf - The Aldens are visiting a small town known for its harvest festival. The town is beautiful in the fall, but rumors of the harvest moon and a werewolf are keeping people away. Can the Aldens get to the bottom of who—or what—is causing such a stir?

Books About Sleuthing and Rescues And Rescuing

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No Rules: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Written by R. A. Spratt & illustrated by Phil Gosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In the fourth book of the Friday Barnes Mystery series, can Friday Barnes prove Ian's innocence, find the Highcrest Academy prankster, and save her school? If it involves running, then probably no, but if not . . . Friday's on the case!
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The Danger Gang and the Isle of Feral Beasts!
Written by Stephen Bramucci & illustrated by Arree Chung
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Ronald Zupan and the rest of the Danger Gang are back for their second rip-roaring adventure, perfect for fans of Indiana Jones and Lemony Snicket, fully illustrated by Arree Chung. "The ride of a lifetime." --Matt de la Peña, Newbery Award-winning author on The Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo! Ronald Zupan, his quick-witted fencing partner Julianne Sato, and his trusty butler Jeeves are off on another adventure. This time, they're trying to rescue the movie star Josh Brigand--who was kidnapped from his latest film premiere by the dreaded Liars' Club. As the Danger Gang races to save their friend, they face off with a poisoning poet, a band of Roman candle-wielding thugs, and thousands of feral foxes. When their skills of deduction are put to the ultimate test, will Ronald and his pals be able to stick together long enough to rescue Josh and defeat the Liar's Club once and for all? Fully illustrated by picture book talent Arree Chung, this hilarious, high-action series is a must-have for all adventurers.
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Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Stolen Poodle
Written by Janet Tashjian & illustrated by Laurie Keller
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Book 2 in the Marty Frye young chapter book mystery series by bestselling author-illustrator team Janet Tashjian and Laurie Keller In this new collection of mysteries from bestselling author-illustrator team Janet Tashjian and Laurie Keller, everyone’s favorite poet detective is back in action. When the school nurse’s equipment is stolen, Marty tracks it down. When special candy disappears from the store, Marty finds the culprit. And most importantly, when a friend's poodle goes missing, Marty comes to the rescue. But can he still manage to make up rhymes while he solves new crimes? The poet detective continues to make up rhymes and solve new crimes, in this second book in the illustrated Marty Frye, Private Eye series for young readers. A Christy Ottaviano book Titles in the Marty Frye, Private Eye series: Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Missing Action Figure Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Stolen Poodle More from Janet Tashjian: The Einstein the Class Hamster series: Einstein the Class Hamster Einstein the Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show Einstein the Class Hamster Saves the Library The Sticker Girl series: Sticker Girl Sticker Girl Rules the School The My Life series: My Life as a Book My Life as a Stuntboy My Life as a Cartoonist My Life as a Joke My Life as a Gamer My Life as a Ninja My Life as a Youtuber More from Laurie Keller: The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Arnie, the Doughnut Invasion of the Ufonuts The Spinny Icky Showdown The Scrambled States of America: The Scrambled States of America The Scrambled States of America Talent Show Do Unto Otters Open Wide Grandpa Gazillion's Number Yard Birdy's Smile Book Toys! Fooled You!
Honorable Mentions
Mission Defrostable book
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Password to Larkspur Lane book
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Nancy Drew 51: Mystery of the Glowing Eye book
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The Clue in the Old Album book
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  1. Mission Defrostable - Our favorite breakfast food friends are back and all bready for their next adventure! Can they save the fridge before all the food is iced? It’s mission . . . defrostable. “And now with the two of you out of the fold, I’ve got my revenge and I’m serving it cold!” Brrr! There’s a frost in the fridge—and it’s hardened Pudding Pond and frozen Yogurt Falls. Agent Asparagus is on the case, and she begs Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast to join her superspy team. But when the enemy snatches Asparagus, Pancake and French Toast have only one dough man to turn to for help: the evil Baron von Waffle! Will he help them save the fridge . . . or are they doomed to become frozen food?

  2. Password to Larkspur Lane - Blue bells will be singing horses! This strange message, attached to the leg of a wounded homing pigeon, involves Nancy Drew in a dangerous mission. Somewhere an elderly woman is being held prisoner in a mansion, and Nancy is determined to find and free her. Meanwhile, the young detective’s close friend, Helen, begs her to solve a second mystery. Helen’s grandparents, the Cornings, are frightened by a sinister wheel of blue fire that appears after dark in the woods outside their home at lonely Sylvan Lake. When Nancy discovers the significance of the eerie signal, she also learns that her two mysteries are connected.

  3. Nancy Drew 51: Mystery of the Glowing Eye - 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.

  4. The Clue in the Old Album - Nancy Drew witnesses a purse snatching and runs after the thief. She rescues the purse, but not its contents, then is asked by the owner, a doll collector, to do some detective work. Readers will enjoy Nancy’s clever ways of finding all she seeks, and bringing happiness to a misunderstood child and her lonely grandmother.

Books About Sleuthing and Multicultural

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Lou Lou and Pea and the Bicentennial Bonanza
Written by Jill Diamond & illustrated by Lesley Vamos
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
BFFs Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl are busy preparing for the Bicentennial Bonanza, their city’s two-hundredth birthday bash! And this year, the party will take place in their beloved neighborhood of El Corazón. With a baking contest, talent show, and a new gazebo planned, the community can’t wait to celebrate the founders (and historical BFFs), Diego Soto and Giles Wonderwood. But when Vice-Mayor Andy Argyle claims the festivities belong to Verde Valley, using a mysterious diary as evidence, Lou Lou and Pea smell trouble. Will the friends be able to uncover the secrets of their city’s founding, and bring the Bonanza back to El Corazón?
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Dog-Gone Danger
Written & illustrated by Linda Joy Singleton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
When Kelsey and her friends find an abandoned pug puppy, it looks like another case for the Curious Cat Spy Club. But shortly thereafter, Kelsey’s mother goes missing—possibly in the line of duty as an Animal Control officer—and it's up to the CCSC to discover what happened. As they search for Kelsey's mom, they start to wonder if her disappearance is somehow linked to the puppy they found. The fifth book in the Curious Cat Spy Club series is filled with twists and turns and, of course, tons of animal adventures!
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Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Bear Scare
Written by James Preller & illustrated by R.W. Alley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Featuring friendship, school, family, and a diverse community, these early illustrated chapter books from James Preller have it all. Is there a bear loose in the woods by Jigsaw Jones' town? For once this second-grade detective and his partner Mila Yeh might be out of their depth! One way or another, these too young sleuths will get to the bottom of who, or what, is growling and snapping in those woods. James Preller's wry, witty, Jigsaw Jones books are once again available to inspire the next generation of young readers, featuring both new titles and classroom classics!
Honorable Mentions
The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case book
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Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Haunted Scarecrow book
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Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Vanishing Painting book
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  1. The Great Shelby Holmes and the Coldest Case - Acclaimed author Elizabeth Eulberg continues her hilarious middle-grade twist on Sherlock Holmes as detective duo Shelby and Watson tackle their trickiest case yet—going undercover . . . as figure skaters! Being friends with a super sleuth isn’t easy, especially when she’s nine years old, four feet tall, and full of attitude. But for eleven-year-old John Watson, being friends with Shelby Holmes is just the adventure he’s looking for. After Watson’s online journal chronicling his and Shelby’s case-closing abilities attracts the attention of a newspaper reporter, the pair becomes a small “media sensation” in their Harlem neighborhood. So it’s no surprise (at least, to Shelby!) when the article lands them a new client—a figure skating coach whose star athlete, Jordan Nelson, is receiving strange, threatening messages, written entirely in code. There’s no one better to crack the cipher than dynamic duo Shelby and Watson! But to gather information, Shelby decides that they’ll have to go undercover . . . as an award-winning pair skating team. Can they use the laws of physics and their acting skills to maintain their covers and figure out who’s sending Jordan such strange messages before it’s too late?

  2. Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Haunted Scarecrow - Featuring friendship, school, family, and a diverse community, these early illustrated chapter books from James Preller have it all. Jigsaw Jones and Mila Yeh have solved many cases involving stolen or missing items. But when the search for Kim’s necklace turns up more than they bargained for, Jigsaw can’t trust his eyes. Did the scarecrow on Ms. Rigby’s lawn just . . . move? Find out more in The Case of the Haunted Scarecrow. James Preller’s wry, witty, Jigsaw Jones books are once again available to inspire the next generation of young readers, featuring both new titles and classroom classics!

  3. Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Vanishing Painting - Featuring friendship, school, family, and a diverse community, these early illustrated chapter books from James Preller have it all. It’s the biggest—okay the most stressful—night of the year . . . Parents’ Night! And Geetha Nair’s painting has just gone missing. The stakes are high, but Jigsaw Jones and Mila Yeh have never encountered a mystery they couldn’t solve. Can they track down their friend’s art in time for the most important show of the year? James Preller’s wry, witty, Jigsaw Jones books are once again available to inspire the next generation of young readers, featuring both new titles and classroom classics!

Books About Sleuthing and Girls And Women

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Under Suspicion: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Written by R. A. Spratt & illustrated by Phil Gosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Friday Barnes, girl detective, is... under arrest?! Getting arrested was the last thing Friday expected after solving the swamp-yeti mystery at her boarding school. But she better clear her name fast! She’s got new cases to investigate, like a scandalous quiche bake-off, a decades old mystery buried in her school’s backyard, and why the new boy, Christopher, is being so nice to her. More adventures and intrigue ensue in Under Suspicion: A Friday Barnes Mystery, the second book in the illustrated Friday Barnes mystery series, starring a genius detective with the brains (and social skills) of Sherlock Holmes.
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Girl Detective: A Friday Barnes Mystery
Written by R. A. Spratt & illustrated by Phil Gosier
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was an eleven-year-old girl! When Friday Barnes, girl genius, solves a bank robbery, she uses the reward money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the most exclusive boarding school in the country—and discovers it's a hotbed of crime! Soon she's investigating everything from disappearing homework to the terrifying Yeti haunting the school swamp. But the biggest mystery yet is Ian Wainscott, the handsomest (and most arrogant) boy in school who inexplicably hates her. Will the homework be found? Can they ever track down the Yeti? And why is Ian out to ruin her?
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Nancy Drew 21: The Secret in the Old Attic
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Nancy Drew races against time to unravel the clues in a dead man’s letters. If she succeeds, Philip March and his little granddaughter can be saved from financial ruin. Following obscure clues, Nancy undertakes a search for some unpublished musical manuscripts which she believes are hidden in the dark, cluttered attic of the rundown March mansion. But someone else wants them enough to put many frightening obstacles in Nancy’s way. Will she outwit a trio of ruthless thieves and solves the Marches’ problems?
Honorable Mentions
The Clue in the Crossword Cipher book
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The Quest of the Missing Map book
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How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln book
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  1. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher - 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.

  2. The Quest of the Missing Map - Prompted by the concerns of a young child, Nancy investigates a small studio on the Chatham estate. She discovers that there is a connection between the mysterious occurrences at Ship Cottage and her search for a treasure island. With only half of a map, Nancy sets out to find the man who possess the rest of the map that will pinpoint the location of buried treasure. Constantly beset by danger and intrigue, Nancy courageously outwits her enemies and solves one of the most challenging cases in her career as a teenage investigator.

  3. How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln - In 1856, when Kate Warne went to see Allan Pinkerton, only men were detectives. But Kate convinced Allan to hire her for his detective agency. She explained that she could worm out secrets where men could not go—in disguise as a society lady! Join Kate on her most important mission—to thwart a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the way to his inauguration.

Books About Sleuthing and Ghosts

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The Case of the Crooked Carnival
Written by Michele Torrey
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Fourth-graders Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey combine their detective and scientific investigation skills to solve cases involving a crooked carnival barker, a mysterious ghost, an alien plant species invading wildlife habitats and a wobbly bridge. Original.
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Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection
Written by Catherine Holt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Twelve-year-old Midnight Reynolds has a huge secret—she’s a spectral protector, someone who helps ghosts cross over into the afterlife. Alongside her best friend Tabitha, Midnight is busy juggling the wilds of middle school with her undercover ghost-hunting job. When mysterious and dangerous robberies start happening in their small town, all signs point to some sort of spectral manipulation, and Midnight’s boss asks her to take over the investigation. Can Midnight find the culprit and stop them before the spectral energy endangers their town? This series has twists and turns galore for budding mystery lovers, all seen through the lens of a lovable and smart heroine. And the positive female friendships and hysterical writing will keep series fans coming back for more.
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Boo Crew (Nancy Drew Clue Book)
Written by Carolyn Keene & illustrated by Peter Francis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Help Nancy and her friends find the truth behind a haunted theater in the tenth book in the interactive Nancy Drew Clue Book mystery series. The hit TV show Twinkle Little Stars is coming to River Heights to audition contestants for their upcoming Halloween show. They’ll choose talented kids from all over the country to compete for prizes. Nancy, Bess, and George are dressing up as witches and are planning to create a special potion onstage for the judges. The recently renovated Heights Theatre has opened its doors for the auditions. The old theatre had been abandoned for fifty years but is now restored to its original beauty. But on the day of the auditions, everything seems to go wrong; the girls’ cauldron over bubbles, a werewolf mask makes its owner sneeze, spider webs fall on the dancers. That’s when the clue crew learns the Heights Theatre is rumored to be haunted—people say ghosts are the reason it stayed empty for so long. But Nancy knows better than to believe in ghosts. She’s sure that the culprit is of the human variety. Then Bess sees monsters dancing around a piano playing on its own—the keys moving but no is playing it. Could the rumors be true? Is the Heights Theatre really haunted? It’s up to the clue crew—and you—to find out!
Honorable Mentions
The Trail of the Ghost Bunny book
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The Case of the Graveyard Ghost book
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The Hidden Window Mystery book
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Hidden Staircase #2 book
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  1. The Trail of the Ghost Bunny - Kelsey and her family have moved into an abandoned B&B that they’re fixing up. It’s a beautiful place and it even comes with its own bunny…but it also seems to come with its own ghost. With the help of their new bunny friend, Kelsey and her friends and CCSC clubmates Becca and Leo investigate the true source of the mysterious on-goings at the B&B. This story closes out the series in a satisfying way, and includes a very light ghost plot that feels seasonally appropriate. And animal fans will be thrilled to see plenty new animal capers, including the return of the lovable dogs from book 5, Dog-Gone Danger.

  2. The Case of the Graveyard Ghost - Drake Doyle and Nell Fossey, who are now in fifth grade, continue to combine their detective and scientific investigation skills to solve a variety of cases, involving a noisy laundry chute, a ruined flower show, and a ghost.

  3. The Hidden Window Mystery - A magazine article offering a large reward to anyone who can find a missing medieval stained-glass window intrigues Nancy. She asks Bess and George to join her on a search in Charlottesville, Virginia. Before the three friends leave River Heights, their adversary tries to get them to postpone the trip. But no luck. Nancy is determined to carry through her plans. During the girls’ investigation of old southern mansions, they encounter a ghost who turns the tables and makes them disappear. Eerie sounds come from a beautiful estate that is surrounded by a high brick wall. Why will the owner allow no one to enter?

  4. Hidden Staircase #2 - A special treat for Nancy Drew fans, and any reader who’s new to the series! We’re releasing a stunning new edition of an old favorite: The Hidden Staircase, the second book in the incredibly popular, long-running series. It’s the same exciting mystery that readers have fallen in love with for more than 80 years—Nancy Drew has to find the mysterious ghost that seems to be haunting Twin Elms, and make sure no more prized possessions disappear under her nose. Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss!

Want to see books about ghosts?

Books About Sleuthing and Stealing

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Framed!
Written & illustrated by James Ponti
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In Washington, D.C., twelve-year-old Florian Bates, a consulting detective for the FBI, and his best friend Margaret help thwart the biggest art heist in United States history.
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Snazzy Cat Capers
Written by Deanna Kent & illustrated by Neil Hooson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
"I want to be Ophelia when I grow up!! And I want Oscar to be my BFF—Best Fishy Friend! Snazzy Cat Capers is fabulous, funny and fin-tastic fun with illustrations that pounce off the page.” —Mo O’Hara, New York Times bestselling author of the My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish series Life is short. Diamonds are fur-ever. Internationally famous cat burglar Ophelia von Hairball V adores jewels—the only thing she loves more is a challenge. She's never met a safe she couldn't crack. Now the Furry Feline Burglary Institute (FFBI) offers her the ultimate caper: steal the giant Himalayan diamond and win their top award! There's a catch! The FFBI sends an enthusiastic inventor to help Ophelia...but this cat works alone, and Oscar Fishgerald Gold smells fishy. Can the smartest, stealthiest, and snazziest of cats learn to work with a fintastic sidekick and prove she's still the world's most purr-fect burglar? Adventure, heists, and teamwork abound in this fun, witty middle grade read brimming with cat-tastic black-and-white illustrations. Includes graphic novel-style pages! An Imprint Book “Classy bad girl Ophelia is as funny as she is furry...she’s the pussycat love child of James Bond and Zsa Zsa Gabor, and who can’t love that?" —Kirkus Reviews
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Nancy Drew 25: The Ghost of Blackwood Hall
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
When Mrs. Putney seeks Nancy Drew’s help in recovering her stolen jewelry, the search for the thieves takes the teen-age detective and her friends Bess and George to the colorful French Quarter of New Orleans. But the quest is hampered by the strange behavior of Mrs. Putney, and two young women who are being victimized by so-called spirits. How can Nancy fight these unseen perpetrators of a cruel hoax? And how can she help the gullible victims when the spirits warn them not to have anything to do with Nancy?
Honorable Mentions
The Thirteenth Pearl book
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The Strange Message in the Parchment book
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The Sky Phantom book
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Tank & Fizz book
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  1. The Thirteenth Pearl - 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.

  2. The Strange Message in the Parchment - 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.

  3. The Sky Phantom - 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.

  4. Tank & Fizz - When their school bus veers off course while taking the kids from Gravelmuck Elementary on a field trip, monster detectives Tank and Fizz witness a crime that brings them snout to snout with Rockfall Mountain’s oldest monster, the ancient dragon Firebane Drakeclaw. Thieves have stolen the Crown of Peace, which keeps the monster clans of the Dark Depths from fighting, and Tank and Fizz saw the whole thing. Now the detectives must track down the thieves and find the crown or their whole class will become dinner for one very hungry dragon! The Case of Firebane’s Folly is the fourth book in the Tank & Fizz series about two crime-solving monsters living under a mountain.

Books About Sleuthing and Missing Persons

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Fabio The World's Greatest Flamingo Detective: The Case of the Missing Hippo
Written by Laura James & illustrated by Emily Fox
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
This hilarious, brightly illustrated chapter book starring Fabio the flamingo detective and his sidekick Gilbert the giraffe is perfect for fans of CatStronauts and The Bad Guys. In a small town on the banks of Lake Laloozee lives the world's greatest flamingo detective. His name is Fabio. He's not tall or strong, but slight and pink. And he's very, very clever. When Fabio and his giraffe associate Gilbert drop in to the Hotel Royale for a relaxing glass of lemonade (pink, naturally), Fabio is persuaded to judge the hotel's talent contest. But when the most promising contestant--Julia the jazz-singing hippopotamus--goes missing, Fabio must put his thinking cap back on and solve the mystery! Don't miss these other books from Laura James! The Pug series Captain Pug Cowboy Pug Safari Pug
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The Case of Windy Lake
Written & illustrated by Michael Hutchinson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Sam, Otter, Atim and Chickadee are four cousins growing up on the Windy Lake First Nation. They are inseparable. Nicknamed the Mighty Muskrats for their habit of laughing, fighting and adventuring together, the cousins find that each new exploit adds to their reputation. When a visiting archeologist goes missing, the cousins decide to solve the mystery of his disappearance. In the midst of community conflict, family concerns and environmental protests, the four get busy following every lead. From their base of operations in a fort made out of an old school bus, the Mighty Muskrats won’t let anything stop them from solving their case!
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The Sign of the Twisted Candles
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Another exciting mystery begins for the young detective when her friends Bess and George ask her to investigate a rumor that their wealthy great-granduncle, Asa Sidney, is virtually a prisoner in his own mansion. But solving the mystery and befriending Carol Wipple, the sixteen-year-old foster daughter of the caretakers of the old mansion, nearly costs Nancy the friendship of Bess and George. It takes all of Nancy’s sleuthing ability as well as diplomacy to save it.Nancy braves one danger after another to bring to justice the swindlers who are stealing Asa Sidney’s fortune. With only the sign of the twisted candles to guide her, Nancy uncovers hidden treasure and an amazing letter that ends a family feud and brings unexpected happiness to Carol.
Honorable Mentions
Fishin': Impossible book
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The Moonstone Castle Mystery book
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The Mysterious Mannequin book
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The Spider Sapphire Mystery book
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  1. Fishin': Impossible - Harry does some deep sea detective work while investigating the fishy disappearance of his worst enemy in this eighth Shark School (mis)adventure. Harry Hammer’s all-time favorite TV show is Mike Hammerhead, Shark Detective. The fin-tastic detective never fails to solve under-the-sea ‘who-dunnits’ and now Harry has found himself in similar water when he investigates the disappearance of his worst enemy Rick Reef. Has his nemesis gone missing or gone fishing?!

  2. The Moonstone Castle Mystery - 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?

  3. The Mysterious Mannequin - 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!

  4. The Spider Sapphire Mystery - 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.

Books About Sleuthing and Law And Crime

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The Clue in the Diary #7
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A special treat for Nancy Drew fans, and any reader who's new to the series! This is a stunning new edition of an old favourite, The Clue in the Diary, the seventh book in the incredibly popular, long-running series. It's the same exciting mystery that readers have fallen in love with for more than 80 years - Nancy must figure out the connection between a mysterious diary and a suspicious house fire. Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won't want to miss!
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Secret of Shadow Ranch #5
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Nancy is looking forward to a fun-filled vacation at Shadow Ranch, but she soon finds herself involved in solving a baffling mystery.
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The Secret of Red Gate Farm #6
Written by Carolyn Keene
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A special treat for Nancy Drew fans, and any reader who's new to the series! This is a stunning new edition of an old favourite, The Secret of Red Gate Farm, the sixth book in the incredibly popular, long-running series. It's the same exciting mystery that readers have fallen in love with for more than 80 years - Nancy and her friends must unravel the secrets of a mysterious conspiracy and track down a ring of counterfeiters. Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won't want to miss!
Honorable Mentions
Nancy's Mysterious Letter book
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The Secret Warning book
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Hardy Boys 28: The Sign of the Crooked Arrow book
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  1. Nancy's Mysterious Letter - A special treat for Nancy Drew fans, and any reader who’s new to the series! This is a stunning new edition of an old favourite, Nancy’s Mysterious Letter, the eighth book in the incredibly popular, long-running series. It’s the same exciting mystery that readers have fallen in love with for more than 80 years - when Nancy receives a letter informing her she’s heir to a fortune, she decides to track down the sender, as well as the other Nancy Drew. Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss!

  2. The Secret Warning - Strange events involve Frank and Joe Hardy in a mystery which shrouds an ancient treasure—the golden head of the Pharaoh Rhamaton IV. The owner of the million-dollar golden Pharaoh’s head claims it was aboard the freighter Katawa, which sank not far from Whalebone Island. But suspicious developments indicate that Mehmet Zufar may be trying to defraud the shipping line’s insurance company. Frank and Joe enthusiastically accept the challenge of their famous detective father to assist him in investigating the complex case for Transmarine Underwriters.

  3. Hardy Boys 28: The Sign of the Crooked Arrow - With only the slender clue of an arrow-shaped tie clasp, Frank and Joe Hardy pick up the trail of a cunning gang of thieves responsible for a wave of jewelry-store holdups. But their investigations are interrupted when a desperate plea for help comes from their widowed cousin who lives on a cattle ranch in New Mexico. Frank, Joe, and their pal Chet fly there immediately, and manage to put an end to the trouble at the ranch and solve the jewelry-store robberies. From the Hardcover edition.

Books About Sleuthing and Thieves, Robbers, And Outlaws

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While the Clock Ticked
Written by Franklin W. Dixon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A banker who has been receiving threatening notes enlists the help of the Hardy boys. Before long, the young sleuths find themselves entangled in the investigation of a notorious band of thieves.
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Hunting for Hidden Gold
Written & illustrated by Franklin W. Dixon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Timber wolves, a Rocky Mountain blizzard, and a mine cave-in are only a few of the perils Frank and Joe Hardy encounter during their search for the principal members of a notorious gang responsible for a payroll robbery. Clue by clue, Frank and Joe cleverly fit into place the scattered pieces of this dangerous puzzle and come up with the astonishing solution.
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The Missing Chums
Written & illustrated by Franklin W. Dixon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Not only is the local bank robbed, but two of the Hardy boys’ pals mysteriously disappear after a masquerade party. Are the events related? How the Hardy boys use all their courage and skill to outwit the criminals provides an exciting climax to one of the most baffling mysteries the young detectives have ever encountered.
Honorable Mentions
Shore Road Mystery #6 book
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The Shore Road Mystery book
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Spy Penguins book
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The Secret of the Caves book
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  1. Shore Road Mystery #6 - Now with a brand-new look, this is an edition that collectors won’t want to miss! In The Shore Road Mystery, the sixth book in the incredibly popular, long-running series, Frank and Joe Hardy encounter a perplexing set of mysteries when they agree to help their friend Jack Dodd and his father locate a family treasure. A special treat for Hardy Boys fans and any reader who’s new to the series!

  2. The Shore Road Mystery - When the Hardy Boys eagerly agree to assist their friend Jack Dodd and his father in locating a family treasure, the two young detectives are unaware of the baffling complications that will arise. Deadly road traps, aerial ambush, a spider man and a suspect who carries a menacing cane harass the young detectives as they seek the triple solution to this perplexing and exciting mystery.

  3. Spy Penguins - Two young adventure-loving and gadget-obsessed penguins dream of joining the FBI (Frosty Bureau of Investigation) in Sam Hay’s hilarious new illustrated chapter book series, Spy Penguins. Adventure-loving penguin Jackson dreams of being a secret agent like his Uncle Bryn, who works for the Frosty Bureau of Investigation. Jackson and his gadget-inventing best friend Quigley might officially be too young to join the FBI, but they aren’t going to let that stop them! They just need to come up with the right plan to prove that they are worthy. But when one of Q’s inventions goes dangerously wrong, Jackson suddenly finds himself dropped right in the middle off an FBI stakeout. There’s fishy business afoot at the city’s aquarium; rare fish are vanishing and not even the FBI can work out what’s going on. It’s up to Jackson and Quigley to solve the crime!

  4. The Secret of the Caves - Triggered by the disappearance of a brilliant young professor, this mystery takes the Hardy boys first to Kenworthy College, where they find a puzzling message on an examination paper. But then, a new clue is unearthed that sends the young detectives to the Honeycomb Caves. After many dangerous encounters, Frank and Joe discover a powerful searchlight in one of the craggy caverns along the seacoast. In the brilliant white glare of the searchlight, the startling secret of the caves is dramatically revealed.

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