Ten Books for Readers Who Like Middle Grade Mysteries


Top Ten TuesdayI love to discuss favorite genres with other avid readers. I may not devour a fantasy novel in one sitting, or read thriller after thriller, but the passion for a certain type of novel is easy for me to relate to {and I always land some good recommendations at the end of the conversation}. When it came time for me to brainstorm a topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt – Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like [Blank] – I turned to my own favorite genre, mysteries, for inspiration. I’ve been reading detective and spy novels for as long as I can remember, so it felt only natural to list my favorite middle grade mysteries. Readers who adore young sleuths, take note; these ten novels all earn my full recommendation! {As always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and the Bookish}.

The Mystery of the Third LucretiaI’m always saddened that Susan Runholt never continued the Kari and Lucas Mysteries, because her debut, The Mystery of the Third Lucretia, was outstanding. I’m a sucker for art mysteries, but my bias doesn’t dismiss the well-developed characters and unpredictable plot. I rarely hear about any of the three books in the series now, but surely I can bring a backlist back into the spotlight, right!? :)

Gilda Joyce Psychic InvestigatorI can vividly recall when I first discovered the Gilda Joyce series by Jennifer Allison. It was only a matter of days before I blew through all of the books available, and I still consider the novels among my favorites today. It’s rare to find a character as original as Gilda, and the adventures she gets herself into are nothing short of entertaining.

The Wig in the WindowI’ve reached a point where I’ve recommend Kristen Kittscher’s The Wig in the Window, the first of {hopefully} many Sophie and Grace adventures, so much, that I no longer know what to say! This MG mystery is a bundle of smart humor, well-developed and realistic characters, and an addictive plot – you can not go wrong by grabbing a copy. {review}

Three Times LuckyIt came as no shock to me that Shelia Turnage’s quirky Southern mystery was nominated for the Newbury Award a few years ago. Her strong MC, Mo LoBeau, won me over in the very first chapter, and my high praise only grew as the novel continued! Thumbs up all around, and the same applies to Book Two as well. {reviews: 1 / 2}

Absolutely TrulyHeather Vogel Frederick is known for her bestselling Mother Daughter Book Club novels, but her newest series, Pumpkin Falls Mysteries, shares in the same charm! Truly’s detective case doesn’t bring as much suspense as some of the other books on this list, but it does have a dynamic cast of characters and a trail of clues to keep the reader guessing. {review}

The Red Blazer Girls Middle grade books can always use examples of strong friendships, such as Sophie, Margaret, and Rebecca, the trio of detectives in Michael D. Beil’s The Red Blazer Girls series. Best buds and smart sleuths, these three middle school students are also totally, unashamedly into math and English. My type of characters! {review}

Inside the Shadow CityKiki Strike and her “Irregulars” are one mysterious group of girls, traveling underground, plotting against evil, and staying all-around fearless. Though it’s been years since I first read Inside the Shadow City, I have no trouble remembering my immense enjoyment of the book. Although, being truly honest, Kirsten Miller could write anything, and I’d be happy to read it. {review}

Look Into My EyesIf you need yet another smart, wise-cracking, mystery-solving girl, the Ruby Redfort books by Lauren Child are your answer. Although I’ve had trouble finding copies of each novel in the past {I was just able to locate book three through my local library despite its 2013 release date}, the effort is entirely worth it. Ruby’s comments always make me laugh! {reviews: 1 / 2}

Girl's Best FriendNot all middle grade mysteries have unbelievably intelligent and extraordinary young detectives in the spotlight, as is the case in Leslie Margolis’ Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries. Maggie’s sleuthing adventures could easily fit into the contemporary genre, and it’s the realism in her stories that makes them such a refreshing change of pace! {reviews: 1 / 2}

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerFinally, I’m not exactly qualified to speak on E.L. Konigsburg’s mystery because I last read it as a kid, but I hope the endless number of positive reviews and the 1968 Newbery Medal convinces you to read it. At just over 100 pages, it’s an easy novel to fit into any schedule; hopefully, I listen to my own advice and grab it from my bookshelf for a re-read.

What are some of your favorite mysteries? Do we share any favorites?

Have a happy Tuesday!


19 thoughts on “Ten Books for Readers Who Like Middle Grade Mysteries

  1. I definitely agree with your last pick! I’ve read many of E.L. Konigsburg’s books and I love them all. When I was younger this one helped fuel my desire to sleep at a museum- it would have been so cool! Great list!


    • It’s always been a dream of mine to spend the night at a museum, and her story did not nothing to stop that wish! Thanks for commenting! :)


  2. This is great! I write Middle Grade fiction, so I’m always looking for books that I can read to get more of a feel for the genre. I look forward to checking some of them out. :)

    Aidyl’s TTT


  3. Haven’t read any of those but they look so interesting and I think I’ll put some on my tbr.
    I love Middle Grade Mystery and I loved this post!


  4. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is such a good book. The concept of kids hiding and living in a museum is pretty unrealistic, but it’s so easy to suspend your disbelief during the book, and it makes the book so unique and interesting. Absolutely Truly and Three Times Lucky are also both on my to-read list.


    • I know what you mean! Although the story is unrealistic, it’s so easy to get swept up into the adventure; it’s a forerunner in art museum stories. Thanks for stopping by! :)


  5. Oh my gargoyles, RUBY REDFORT! So glad that you included her here–her snark is on point. And I should really get around to reading THE WIG IN THE WINDOW…


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