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I’m still a sucker for a great detective story.
And as a kid I used to devour detective books from the libary.
In the holidays we used to come back laden with Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew and my personal fave Alfred Hitchcock & The Three Investigators. Did anyone else love them?
And no, of course none of them were literary masterpieces. But those page turning mysteries got all the kids on our street reading and on rainy days kept our nose in a book.
As Harry Potter does today. And Harry Potter is after all, just the most brilliant kids dectective series. I mean, how good is it, when you discover Scabbers is Peter Pettigrew!
So if you want to get your kids hooked on reading, get them great detective books.
These are just a few of our fave detective series that your kids might enjoy.
1. Precious Ramotswe
If you’re a fan of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, you’ll love his stories for kids of how Precious Ramotswe first started solving mysteries as a child.
We’ve read the lot and they’re all cracking good “why didn’t I spot that” stories. Plus set in Botswana, they introduce kids to a very different world and way of life.
The series starts with Precious and the Monkeys (The Great Cake Mystery in the USA).
McCall Smith has a very accessible style and so they’re great from 7 or 8 up.
2. The London Eye Mystery
We got London Eye Mystery (USA) for Christmas and were wowed!
(And not just because it’s set down the road from us in south London).
Ted – a young teenager with Aspbergers – narrates in unique style the mystery that unfolds when his cousin Salim goes up in the London Eye and doesn’t come down …
In a finely written, humdinger of a plot Ted turns detective to solve Salim’s disappearance.
Author, Siobhan O’Dowd, tackles teenage themes in the book so it’s more one for 9 and up.
3. Wells & Wong
The Wells & Wong detective agency is an ongoing series from Robin Stevens.
They are Agatha Christie meets Mallory Towers and just so shouldn’t work, but do.
Massively popular, they’ve turned one reluctant reader we know into a book worm.
They are fairly gruesome – + crazy! – and cover themes you might feel unsuitable for young kids, so again for 9 and up but the short chapters are great for less confident readers.
The series starts with Murder Most Unladylike (Murder is Bad Manners in the USA).
4. Emil & The Detectives
There’s nothing Hercule Poirot like about Eric Kastner’s classic Emil & The Detectives (USA).
Emil and his gang of new found friends rampage around 1920s Berlin trying to get back Emil’s money stolen by the mysterious man on the train.
It’s all action, laugh out loud fun but Emil and his detectives solve the mystery and bring to book a cunning gang of thieves before the police can get a look in.
As it is so fast moving, I reckon it’s good from 7 and up.
5. New Cut Gang
The New Cut Gang (USA) from Philip Pullman is in a very similar vein to Emil.
There’s more marauding street kid detectives causing mayhem as they capture the criminals, but set in 19th Century south London.
There’s a fiendishly complex plot to solve – and I’m not sure Pullman is always the easiest for younger kids – but it’s high energy and very funny, so again I think it’s good for 7 and up.
The main Amazon listing doesn’t include all the reviews which you can find here
6. Sally Lockhart
For older children, our final pick of kids detective book series is again from Philip Pullman.
Orphaned Sally Lockhart, has to defy all the rules of how young ladies should behave in Victorian England, to uncover the mysteries of her own family.
The series – starting with The Ruby In The Smoke (USA) – is packed full of details of 19th Century London and is a meaty read for kids. (I’d say 9 or 10 and up).
But Sally is a superbly inspiring heroine and the mystery is always page turning exciting.
OK so there’s the first six in our list but for even more great reads check out these 20 cool kids detective books …
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