Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books For Aspiring Detectives

By Jim Dean, April 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Sesame Seade series by Clementine Beauvais and Sarah Horne – This series was one of the ones which really got me into reading MG mysteries in a big way, after the fabulous Caitlin book-pushed it on so many of us. Clementine Beauvais has created a wonderful lead character in Sesame and Sarah Horne’s illustrations are fantastic.

Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry – So much fun, this story about a group of girls at a boarding school who cover up the death of their headmistress to avoid being sent home to their families is an utterly hilarious read.

Mystery and Mayhem anthology from Egmont – This upcoming collection is PERFECT for fans of crime short stories! 12 fabulous authors, some writing familiar things – Julia Golding and Elen Caldecott continue their series with excellent tales which are great whether or not you’ve read them before – and some changing it up completely – Robin Stevens writes a contemporary for the first time and it’s AMAZING! My favourites are Robin’s, Susie Day’s and Frances Hardinge’s, but everything in here is well worth reading.

House of Eyes by Patricia Elliott – This is a fantastic historical mystery. Connie Carew, the heroine, is a really wonderful detective here and I find this one intriguing because while so many brilliant recent MG mysteries have been group/paired efforts (as mentioned, the quartet in KW’s stories are great, and where would Daisy Wells be without Hazel Wong?!) this is more of a solo adventure. Yes, Connie gets help from various people at times but it’s always clear that SHE’S the one doing the investigating, with others pretty much just following her instructions. It’s superbly-plotted, too, and I can’t wait for sequel Ship of Fools.

Adventure Island series by Helen Moss – I devoured all fourteen books in this series in about ten days; I was planning on reading one a day for two weeks and just couldn’t stop once I got to a certain point! They’re cleverly plotted and I love the three central kids and dog Drift!

Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis – Not quite sure these count as mysteries, but Timmy is a detective, even if he doesn’t tend to be the most successful at solving cases. These are weird but wonderful illustrated stories about a less than competent child detective who teams up with his sidekick, Total the polar bear, to try and figure things out, with hilarious results. Surprisingly moving as well as being really funny, they’re superb.

Laura Marlin series by Lauren St John – Awesome quartet of stories, set in various locations across the road, with a brilliant pairing of Laura and her friend Tariq.

Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens – I am fairly sure EVERYONE reading this site has already read them, but it’s unsurprising that Robin’s series has taken readers by storm. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are a fabulous pairing and the plots get better in every book, while I love the way she captures the 1930s so well. As much as I enjoyed Arsenic For Tea and First Class Murder, boarding school stories have always had a special place in my heart so the return to Deepdean for Jolly Foul Play was great to see!

Violet series by Harriet Whitehorn and Becka Moor – Gorgeously illustrated by Becka Moor – one of my very favourite artists – Harriet Whitehorn’s younger-MG series is a complete delight.

What do you think?