Are you a super sleuth or a treasure hunter? Do you like to follow clues? Decipher a coded message? Solve a mysterious puzzle? If that sounds up your alley, try one of these recent mysteries and see how good a detective you might be!
Recently Released Mysteries (2008-2012)Edgar Allan’s Official Crime Investigation Notebook by Mary Amato
First Slurpy is fishnapped, then other things from Mrs. Blackwell’s room start to disappear. Odder still, whoever is committing these crimes leaves a note written in poetry. Edgar has it all covered in his “crime investigation notebook”–but so does Patrick Chen, who has copied Edgar and is trying to solve the case first. Yet as Edgar keenly observes his surroundings, he notices many interesting things about his classmates. The more closely he watches two “suspects,” the more he begins to think they might make pretty good friends. This warm and humorous story puts writing, friendship, and mystery into a short, accessible chapter book.
Tom Angleberger’s latest, loopiest middle-grade novel begins when M’Lady Luggertuck loosens her corset (it’s never been loosened before!), thereby setting off a chain of events in which all the strict rules of Smugwick Manor are abandoned. When, as a result of “the Loosening,” the precious family heirloom, the Luggertuck Lump (quite literally a lump), goes missing, the Luggertucks look for someone to blame. Is it Horton Halfpott, the good-natured but lowly kitchen boy who can’t tell a lie? Or one of the many colorful cast members in this silly romp of a mystery.
It’s bad enough that Ariadne’s family just moved to a tiny boring town in the middle of nowhere. But worst of all is that she’s so far away from her best friend. The kids in Dobbin seem nice enough, but none of them really understands how lost and unhappy Ariadne feels. None, that is, but May Butler. She’s an odd, quiet person who wears the strangest old-fashioned clothes and has a spooky habit of appearing and disappearing in the blink of an eye. Despite their differences, there is a bond between the two girls. May, too, knows what it’s like to feel lost.
A young girl makes her fractured family whole again with the help of a very special book. When eleven-year-old Ella’s mother has to be hospitalized to undergo a dangerous cancer treatment, Ella spends the summer at “Broken Family Camp” with her eccentric grandmother, whom she’s never met. The situation is hardly ideal for either of them. Ella is scared her mother may die, but her grandmother seems to care more about her library full of books than she does about her very own granddaughter. But when a rare and beloved book, Kepler’s Dream of the Moon, is stolen from her grandmother’s amazing library, Ella and her new friend Rosie make up their minds to find it. Finding the beautiful book her grandmother loves so much could even be the key to healing Ella’s broken family. An affecting and beautifully written story of family, forgiveness and the wonder of the stars, Kepler’s Dream is a sparkling and memorable debut.
The New Newbridge Academy has a strange, storied history and a gothic atmosphere, and since Noh’s aunt is a teacher there, it’s where Noh will be spending the summer while her father travels for work. Noh, slightly eccentric herself, enjoys exploring the campus, but things get spooky when she meets several other children near an old burned-out dormitory. There shouldn’t be students around in the summer, right? But these kids turn out to be ghosts, and they need Noh’s help. She is the only “realie” who can see them—and, now that the ghosts have started to disappear, the only one who can save them.
Winston Breen is back in another puzzle-filled mystery! Puzzle fanatic Winston Breen and his best friends receive a once-in-a-lifetime invitation–to a weekend of riddles, games and puzzles at a fabulous mansion! Famous musician Richard Overton is giving away valuable prizes and Winston is ready to win. But the ultimate weekend becomes the ultimate mystery when prizes start going missing, and no guests are above suspicion. Can Winston crack the case before the weekend is up? A fast-paced whodunit filled with interactive puzzles and plenty of clever brain-teasers, the latest Winston Breen installment will have readers hooked!
It’s summer and the three Barker brothers—Simon, Henry, and Jack—just moved from Illinois to Arizona. Their parents have warned them repeatedly not to explore Superstition Mountain, which is near their home. But when their cat Josie goes missing, they see no other choice. There’s something unusually creepy about the mountain and after the boys find three human skulls, they grow determined to uncover the mystery. Have people really gone missing over the years, and could there be someone or some thing lurking in the woods? Together with their new neighbor Delilah, the Barker boys are dead-set on cracking the case even if it means putting themselves in harm’s way.
In a trailer park called Adjacent, next to the Folsom Energy Plant, people have started to vanish, and no one seems to care. At first Lady Di and her best friend, Tom Jones, barely notice the disappearances—until their beloved math tutor, Mrs. Clarke, is abducted, too. Mrs. Clarke has left them clues in the form of math equations that lead them all over the trailer park, through hidden tunnels under “Mount Trashmore,” and into the Folsom Energy Plant itself, where Lady Di and Tom Jones and a gang of other misfits uncover the sordid truth about what’s really happening there.
Eleven-year-old Neela dreams of being a famous musician, performing for admiring crowds on her traditional Indian stringed instrument. Her particular instrument was a gift from her grandmother—intricately carved with a mysterious-looking dragon. When this special family heirloom vanishes from a local church, strange clues surface: a tea kettle ornamented with a familiar pointy-faced dragon, a threatening note, a connection to a famous dead musician, and even a legendary curse. The clues point all the way to India, where it seems that Neela’s instrument has a long history of vanishing and reappearing. Even if Neela does track it down, will she be able to stop it from disappearing again?
Laura Horton is different. Not in any noticeable, first-glance kind of way; but inside, she’s equally uncomfortable around the snippy girls in her class and the strange boy, Leon, who just moved in nearby. She’d rather be writing or drawing or spending time with her free-spirited family in their eccentric old house. But Laura and Leon are more alike than they first realize. They’re both outsiders. They both have secrets. And try as she might to avoid him, Laura finds herself drawn to Leon’s quiet boldness as surely as she is driven to find out more about her home’s enigmatic former owner. Together they probe the mysteries of the Visconti House, making an exploration into the past that will change their lives — and open their hearts — forever.
Can Suzanna Snow solve the case before it’s too late? A girl’s gone missing. Can Suzanna solve the crime? It is 1905 and young Suzanna works at her family’s inn in Loch Harbor, New Brunswick, where she is trained to be a well-mannered hostess and a charming lady. Suzanna has other ideas for her future–she wants to be a detective. When a young guest goes missing on a stormy summer night, Suzanna’s famous uncle, Detective Bruce Snow, comes to solve the case. But Suzanna learns that not everything is as it seems. With a little help from her friends, can she solve the mystery of the missing girl before her uncle closes the case?
Greg Rich has just been catapulted back through time. One moment, his parents were selling their family heirlooms to Michel Dinicouer, a mysterious and suspicious curator at the Louvre in Paris — and the next thing Greg knows, he’s in France in 1615. His parents have come along, too, only they’ve been captured by the King’s Guard and thrown into La Mort, the world’s most dangerous prison. Now, Greg has to rescue them… but how? By uniting the Three Musketeers. Greg soon discovers that the three great warriors from Alexander Dumas’s classic novel actually exist — only they’re teenagers as well and haven’t met yet. Even stranger, Greg might just turn out to be the fourth Musketeer, D’Artagnan. Together, the Musketeers need to pull off an impossible, death-defying rescue — and unravel the devious plot of Dinicouer as well.
Zack, his dad and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives. He died when his car hit a tree in a fiery crash, and his malevolent spirit has inhabited the tree ever since. During a huge storm, lightning hits the tree, releasing the spirit, who decides his evil spree isn’t over…and Zack is directly in his sights.
When thirteen-year-old Josephine moves to Awkward Falls she can’t help but snoop around the dilapidated mansion next door. Inevitably, she is captured by the house’s strange inhabitants: an ancient automaton who serves as a butler, a cat patched together with a few odd parts, and most surprising of all, a boy named Thaddeus Hibble. Meanwhile, Fetid Stenchley the most feared patient in the Asylum for the Dangerously Insane is on the loose after making a dramatic escape, and there is only one thing on his mind…revenge. Unfortunately for Josephine and Thaddeus, he’s headed their way. Can these unlikely friends stop Stenchley before it’s too late? With a penchant for spooky details, surprising twists, and haunting illustrations, Keith Graves delivers a suspenseful and engaging first novel.
Theodore Boone is back in a new adventure, and the stakes are higher than ever. When his best friend, April, disappears from her bedroom in the middle of the night, no one, not even Theo Boone–who knows April better than anyone–has answers. As fear ripples through his small hometown and the police hit dead ends, it’s up to Theo to use his legal knowledge and investigative skills to chase down the truth and save April. Filled with the page-turning suspense that made John Grisham a #1 international bestseller and the undisputed master of the legal thriller, Theodore Boone’s trials and triumphs will keep readers guessing until the very end.
In this hilarious chapter book mystery, meet a girl whose parents have been kidnapped by disreputable foxes, and a pair of detectives that also happen to be bunnies! When Madeline gets home from school one afternoon to discover that her parents have gone missing, she sets off to find them. So begins a once-in-a-lifetime adventure involving a cast of unforgettable characters. There’s Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who drive a smart car, wear fedoras, and hate marmots; the Marmot, who loves garlic bread and is a brilliant translator; and many others. Translated from the Rabbit by Newbery Honor-winning author Polly Horvath, and beautifully illustrated by Sophie Blackall, here is a book that kids will both laugh over and love.
It’s seven o’clock on a cold London evening in 1862, and in a grubby theater down by the docks, Nathaniel Wolfe watches his father—the greatest medium in London—take to the stage. Which of the dead will speak through him tonight? What Nathaniel doesn’t know is that his father is meddling with things he cannot control, and before the night is over Nathaniel will find himself in the middle of a chilling mystery, one that can only be solved from beyond the grave.
Twelve-year-old Foster knows in his gut that Dax Ganey, the man dating his widowed mother, is a bad seed. Then a mysterious stranger arrives at their Alabama farm, a former Army Ranger in Iraq rambling across the country, and Foster believes he has found an ally against Dax. The stranger proves a fascinating mentor, full of wisdom and secrets. And Dax soon has reason to resent not just him and Foster but also Foster’s mother. A spurned Dax will be a dangerous enemy, but Foster is increasingly aware that the stranger is just as dangerous, if not more so. From the author of one of the most highly acclaimed children’s survival adventures of the last decade comes this tautly wound new novel reminiscent of classic westerns, about a boy caught in the middle of a clash that may turn out to be his own battle to fight.
A thrilling mystery set against a stark landscape and the inspiration of Nome’s real-life dog hero, Balto. Twelve-year-old Tee has just moved to Nome, Alaska, with her writer father and sullen little brother, Jack. Jack isn’t happy about the idea of living in the middle of nowhere, but Tee and her dog Henry are thrilled — so much open space to run around and sniff! But on a walk near their new house, Henry spots something that has him seriously spooked. Tee sees a mysterious shadow, and it seems to be following them. Have they disturbed a restless spirit? And what other secrets might this dark place be holding?
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
Meet Jack Lime, private investigator, who solves problems for his fellow Iona High students. Sometimes he falls for the dames who hire him, sometimes he falls in the river and sometimes he falls asleep (he s narcoleptic). But rest assured that whether he s tracking down a missing banana-seat bike or a kidnapped hamster, or cracking open a trivia tournament betting ring, Lime will follow every lead. Readers will identify with this funny, cynical sleuth who has the makings of a top-notch PI, though his personal life frequently goes awry. In these three stand-alone detective stories, readers will immerse themselves in an offbeat fictional world populated with eccentric characters where everything is not as it seems.
Finances are tight for the Hitchcock family this year, which means no summer vacation! But siblings Maddy and Benji are secretly delighted to escape the annual torturous ritual of family bonding. Then Dad announces big news: a cost-effective weeklong house swap in Paris, trading places with a French family named the Vadims. But instead of a relaxing European vacation, it quickly becomes clear that something is very off about this house swap. The facts about the Vadims don’t quite add up. Then threatening characters start showing up, demanding a mysterious object. Soon the Hitchcocks are caught in a whirl of intrigue and running for their lives through the streets and over the rooftops of Paris, without even knowing why.
After her mother walked out on Shelby Jayne and her dad, Shelby thought she’d never speak to her mamma again. But with her dad leaving the country for work, it turns out she doesn’t have a choice: Shelby has to move back into her mamma’s house, deep in the heart of the Louisiana bayou. Her new classmates tease and torment her, so Shelby’s relieved to finally find a friend in Gwen, a mysterious girl who lives alone on the bayou. But Shelby can’t help wondering if Gwen has something to do with the puzzling messages she finds hidden in the blue bottle tree behind her house. The only person who might be able to explain is her mamma — but Shelby’s not ready to ask. Not yet. It may take a brush with something from the beyond to help Shelby see that the power to put her own ghosts to rest is within her reach.
Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy–Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei’s favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister? It’s up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones–and might even pick them clean!
Indentured servant Patience Martin lives a hard life in 1721 Boston, but things get even harder when her demanding employer is found dead—in a bedroom locked from the inside. Powerful townsmen accuse Patience’s friend, Moll Bacon, of being a witch and the murderer, but with her own future in jeopardy, Patience doesn’t know how she can help prove Moll’s innocence—until she finds a new friend. Ben Franklin is a clever young printer’s apprentice with a fondness for wise aphorisms. Ben risks his own skin to protect Patience, and his cunning and ingenuity are a perfect match for her courage and determination. But will their friendship and teamwork be enough to solve the mystery, clear Moll, and free Patience from a harsh life of servitude?
Encyclopedia Brown, watch out! Charlie Collier can match you mystery for mystery! Seventh grader Charlie Collier has always been able to solve brain teasers in no time at all. And his favorite books have always been mysteries. So when Charlie dons his father’s old trench coat–the one his mother thought she brought to Goodwill–and a fedora that should have suffered the same fate, he thinks solving mysteries will be as easy as pie. But then Charlie is presented with a big case. A huge one. That involves the entire town. And Charlie needs more than just smarts to crack this case. He’ll need his friend Henry, their client Scarlet, and a class bully who turns out to have some surprising secrets of his own.
From tracking down her best friend, who’s nowhere to be found, to secretly helping her attorney father solve a missing-person case, Madison Kincaid is a busy seventh-grade sleuth. Teaming up with new classmate Jake, she hits the sidewalks of Portland, Oregon, determined to find out what’s behind two mysterious vanishing acts.
A podunk town, a pickle factory, a dead body with one eyeball gone?! Maybe this summer won’t be so boring after all for Bea and her friends. A funny, scary, original debut “caper”! Bea lives in the nowhere town of Elbow, where it rains so much the residents have green mold growing between their toes. Nothing ever happens in Elbow. Its closest claim to fame is a giant pickle factory, owned by Herman, the Pickle King. Herman’s a small-time big shot, a local celebrity…until he turns up dead. And when Bea and Sam stumble across the body–minus one eyeball–in the water-logged basement of a creepy old house, suddenly THEY’RE ones in a pickle! With a mystery to solve, maybe this summer won’t be such a bore after all….
When 12-year-old Linc Crenshaw decides he wants to go to public school, his professor mom isn’t so happy with the idea. He’s convinced it will be the ticket to a new social life. Instead, it’s a disaster when his mom shows up at their field trip to the local cemetery to lecture them on gravestones, and Linc sees her through his fellow-students’ eyes. He’s convinced his chances at a social life are over until a cemetery-related project makes him sought-after by fellow students he’s not so sure he wants as friends, helps him make a new, genuine friend, and brings to light some information about his family that upends his world.
If it hadn’t been for Lucas’s photographic memory, they might not have remembered the man. It had been almost a year since she and Kari had noticed him copying the famous Rembrandt painting in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. But now in the National Gallery in London, they’re sure it’s the same guy, copying another Rembrandt. What is going on? The International Herald Tribune gives them their answer. A never-before seen Rembrandt painting has been discovered in Amsterdam. The mysterious man must’ve been working on a forgery! Convinced that no one will believe them without more evidence, the teenage sleuths embark on a madcap adventure to find the forger. But is bringing the criminal to justice worth the price of their lives?
The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants. Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.
A sweet story of a tree that’s literally filled with secrets. What is your secret? Minty’s neighborhood is full of mysteries. There’s the Witch House, a spooky old farmhouse on the other side of woods from where Minty and her best friend, Paz, live. There’s the Man Bat, a seven-foot-tall half man, half bat who is rumored to fly through the woods. And there are the Mean Boys, David and Troy, who torment Minty for no reason, and her boy-crazy older sister, Thea, who acts weirder and weirder. One day Minty spots a flash in the woods, and when she chases after it, she discovers a new mystery–a Secret Tree, with a hollow trunk that holds the secrets of everyone in the neighborhood. Secrets like: I put a curse on my enemy. And it’s working. I’m betraying my best friend in a terrible way. No one loves me except my goldfish.
Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts. It’s a trait she’s inherited from her mother’s side of the family, like blue eyes or straight hair. And it’s a trait she could do without, because what twelve-year-old wants to be caught talking to someone invisible? It is convenient, though, after Belladonna’s parents are killed in a car accident. They can live with her the same as always, watching the same old TV shows in their same old house. Nothing has changed . . . until everything changes. One night, with no warning, they vanish into thin air—along with every other ghost in the world. It’s what some people think ghosts are supposed to do, but Belladonna knows it’s all wrong. They may not be living, but they’re not supposed to be gone. With the help of her classmate Steve, a master of sneaking and spying, Belladonna is left to uncover what’s become of the spirits and to navigate a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can’t find her way, she’ll lose them again—this time for good.
So here I am spending spring break in California with my best friend, Junie. Our chaperone is a teenager, like us. And soon I’ll get to hang out with the coolest, cutest boy in the Southwest. Life is so good. Except I should tell you that I’m not actually in San Diego for fun. Even though I’m a normal person who likes normal stuff—friends, clothes, the mall—I’m supposed to be solving a mystery, one that involves a rhino heist and a crazy chef. And I have to do it because my supercop mom is counting on me. Did I mention she’s a ghost? A ghost who can make contact with only one person. Me, Sherry Holmes Baldwin. My mom is flunking out of the Academy of Spirits, and if I don’t help her, she’ll be banished to an afterlife for ghost failures. But…I so don’t do mysteries.
Last month, Benjamin Franklin came back from the dead and moved into Victor Godwin’s downstairs apartment. Since then, life has gotten even weirder. Vampires are stalking Philadelphia, a strange pair of bike shop owners are after Ben, and a shadowy figure known only as the Emperor may be plotting it all. Together, Ben, Victor and Scott face some baffling questions. Why was Ben really awakened? Who is the Emperor? And are vampires really stalking downtown Philadelphia? The fate of the city – and perhaps the word – hangs in the balance!
The same day that the villagers of Thornstowe finally hunt down a witch with a reputation for stealing children, a 12-year-old appears in the woods with no memory of her past. Is there a connection between Isabelle, the girl who doesn’t know who she is, and the girl the witch stole six years earlier? One of the few things Isabelle remembers is a chant that keeps running through her head: “Old as dirt, dirty as dirt. Ugly as sin, mean as sin. Don’t let the old witch catch you!” Could Isabelle have been stolen by the old witch of the woods, or has she lost her memory as the result of an accident? And what about the baby the witch stole right before the villagers attacked? Did either the witch or the baby survive the fire the villagers set?
With the end of the Mayan calendar fast approaching, fourteen-year-old Max Murphy and his new friend Lola, the modern Maya girl who saved his life in the perilous jungle, are racing against time to outwit the twelve Lords of Death. Following the trail of the conquistadors, their quest takes them back to the wild heart of Spain – a forgotten land steeped in legend, superstition and ever more bizarre tourist festivals. With a pack of hellhounds on their heels and the cape-twirling Count Antonio de Landa in hot pursuit, the teens must face madness and betrayal, bluff and double-bluff, to uncover the terrible secrets of the long-lost Yellow Jaguar. But no matter where they run, all roads lead to Xibalba. There, in the cold and watery Maya underworld, we finally discover why only Max Murphy can save the world from the villainous Lords of Death.
There has been a shocking crime at Mary Todd Lincoln Middle School. In a glass case in the front hall, a trophy—the trophy, the first trophy ever won in the school’s lackluster competitive history—has been stolen. Even more horrifying, an outraged Principal Van Vreeland has canceled everything fun until the trophy is back, including the eighth graders’ long-awaited, once-in-a-lifetime field trip to Taproot Valley. Rock climbing, ropes courses, ecology hikes, s’mores…all gone! Luckily, Bethesda Fielding is on the case. As self-appointed sleuth extraordinaire, Bethesda’s confident she’ll be able to track down the culprit in no time and save her class trip! Except it seems like the more she searches for answers, the more mysteries she reveal. Can Bethesda solve this baffling mystery or are the eighth graders doomed for a Week of a Thousand Quizzes instead?
* * *
Booklist by Julie!
So there you have it. Mysteries featuring a cast of detectives across countries, time periods, states of being and knowledge bases. All they have in common is a desire to follow the clues wherever they lead. Can you beat them at their own game? Read and find out!