A Mighty Girl's top picks of mysteries for children and teens starring Mighty Girl detectives!
From uncovering a mystery to the hunt for clues, from mistaken conclusions to the big reveal, many Mighty Girls love detective stories! And, while many of the most favorite fictional detectives, from Sherlock Holmes to Hercule Poirot, are male, there are many excellent mysteries starring female detectives who lead investigations, study the evidence, and solve the mystery — all perfect for inspiring the would-be detectives of tomorrow!
If your kids love mystery stories — or dream of being detectives themselves one day — then you're sure to find a book they'll love in our new collection of the best in Mighty Girl detective stories! These books are full of curious, determined, and clever female characters who refuse to let things go until they find the truth. We've even included a few stories featuring one of the first real-life woman detectives!
For more mysteries starring Mighty Girls, visit our Mystery & Suspense Collection. Would-be detectives can also hone their skills with A Year of Mini Mysteries: 29 Tricky Tales to Untangle for ages 8 to 11 and Bella's Mystery Deck for ages 9 to 12.
Mighty Girl Detective Stories
In 1856, Kate Warne met with Allan Pinkerton, the founder of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency, to make an important point: a woman detective could go places that his male detectives couldn't. Pinkerton was impressed with Warne's drive, and soon she was ferreting out secrets in disguise as a society lady. And when an assassination threat targeted the newly elected Abraham Lincoln on the way to his inauguration, Warne played a critical role in helping him get to the capital safely. This fascinating biography, accompanied by colorful, expressive illustrations, is sure to intrigue would-be detectives.
There's been a break-in on Orange Street, where Hilde Lysiak, 9-year-old reporter, lives: first some cupcakes are stolen, then a pie follows suit. Never one to back down from a challenge — or a story — Hilde recruits her sister Izzy as a photographer and sets out to crack the case. Together, they'll interview witnesses and look for clues... but can Hilde get the job done in time for her online deadline for the Orange Street News? This first volume of an early reader series based on real stories that Hilde has covered in her work as the country's youngest crime reporter features easy text and illustrations on every page. With new vocabulary and high-interest stories, they're sure to be favorites with young mystery fans! Fans of Hilde can also check out the second volume, Bear on the Loose, or the rest of the Hilde Cracks the Case series.
Cam and her friend Eric are sitting in the mall when a thief robs the jewelry store. The only problem is that the police arrest the wrong person! But Cam can't rely on her photographic memory to see justice done — she has to find proof. So it's time for her and Eric to use every bit of their observation and reasoning skills to put the real criminal behind bars. Perfect for kids who are just transitioning to chapter books, the Cam Jansen mysteries are appealing and fun. Cam's adventures continue in Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the U.F.O.
Five times the mysteries and five times the fun are here in this collection of Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew, the Nancy Drew reimagining for early readers! These early chapter books are perfect for young mystery fans: just exciting and suspenseful enough, and with intriguing scenarios and fun vocabulary. And if she loves these books, you can check out our Nancy Drew Collection for more products featuring the female sleuth, including some of the original volumes.
King the dog helps his best friend Kayla solve a mysterious pair of coded letters! Kayla and Mason have both received letters. What Kayla knows is that the same person sent both of them — someone both she and Mason know — and that the two letters are the same except for the second word. What King knows is that Jillian is the one who left the letters. Can Kayla and King figure out what the letters say using these clues? This fun early chapter mystery story teaches young readers how to gather information and analyze clues. Fans of this series can find more volumes in our King & Kayla Collection.
Third grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire Ada Lace has a new challenge to take on: her neighbor's beloved Yorkie dog has been dognapped! Ada is sure that her homemade gadgets and her knack for scientific thinking will allow her to crack the case. A quirky neighborhood girl, Nina, insists on helping, but she has has her own theory about the missing dog (involving alien abduction, of all things!) As Ada and Nina get closer to the solution, though, they'll also discover that opposites can make for the best of friends! This series from Emily Calandrelli, host of Xploration Outer Space and MIT graduate, provides a scientifically-minded detective young readers will love. Fans of Ada can follow more of her mystery-solving adventures with Nina in our Ada Lace Collection.
Smashie McPerter's day starts out bad — instead of their regular teacher, they have the worst substitute in the world, Mr. Carper — and goes downhill from there. And just when she thinks it's as bad as it gets, the class hamster goes missing! As the students of Room 11 start peering suspiciously at one another, Smashie and her friend Dontel have to start puzzling out motivations, establishing alibis, and looking beyond immediate suspects if they want to solve this mystery! This new series, perfect for kids moving into chapter books, is fun and engaging, even as it teaches investigative methods like the process of elimination. Fans can follow Smashie's adventures in the sequel, Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of the Missing Goop.
The world's greatest fourth-grade detective, Moxie McCoy, is on the hunt for the person who's kidnapped the school's beloved mascot... but without her best friend/crime-solving partner, who's moved away, things just don't feel right. So her interrogations now serve a double purpose: searching for clues, and interviewing for a new partner. Nobody quite seems to suit, and Moxie can't solve the case on her own. But when her quiet, tentative, boring little brother Milton proves he's an excellent listener, maybe the pair can form an unexpected alliance. Warm and funny, with clever "debrief" questions that encourage readers to examine Moxie's narrative, this will be a hit with mystery fans. The mystery-solving siblings return in The Real McCoys: Two's A Crowd.
Friday Barnes has already achieved detective renown by solving a bank robbery — and she uses the money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the sort of exclusive boarding school that a girl genius like her dreams of but couldn't have afforded otherwise. But Highcrest, it turns out, is also full of mysteries: missing homework, Yeti sightings, and Ian Wainscott, the handsomest and most arrogant boy in school who hates her. Friday, though, is ready to take on all these mysteries...but is Highcrest ready for her? Full of tongue-in-cheek humor and lots of heart, this novel with black and white illustrations throughout will rapidly become a favorite — and since it ends in a cliffhanger, fans of Friday will want to check out her return in Friday Barnes: Under Suspicion.
At school, Kelsey, Becca, and Leo don't have anything in common — so it seems unlikely they'd become friends. But when the trio find an abandoned sack of kittens in an alleyway, they decide to work together to figure out who dumped the animals. Then reports start coming in of animals missing all over town! When they combine Kelsey's spy skills, Becca's animal expertise, and Leo's tech savvy, they become the Curious Cat Spy Club... and they're ready to crack the case! This fun middle-grade mystery will appeal to animal lovers and would-be spies alike. Fans of this volume can also check out the Curious Cat Spy Club Box Set, which features the first three volumes in the series.
10-year-old Jamila has just moved to a new neighborhood, and she's facing a boring summer with a science camp selected by her mom and no friends.... until she meets Shirley Bones. It's a friendship of convenience until Jamila discovers that Shirley is the neighborhood's best kid detective — and it turns out that Jamila has her own sleuthing skills. Now partners, they set out to find a missing gecko whose owner, Oliver, swears was stolen. But when the case gets tough, can their new friendship hold up under the strain? This middle-grade graphic novel opens a series about this detective duo, full of full mysteries, friendship challenges, and the joy of self-discovery.
Theodosia Throckmorton's father may be the curator at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in 1906 London, but it's Theodosia who can see the ancient curses that still linger on the artifacts. Behind her father's back, she uses old Egyptian magic to keep her father and the other museum employees safe. But when her mother brings back an ancient scarab with the most powerful curses yet, Theodosia's investigations lead her to two secret societies — and a battle between good and evil. From the streets of London to the tombs outside of Cairo, Theodosia will put all her resources to the test as she protects her family and her country. Kids will be intrigued by the combination of mystery, fantasy, and archeology in this series. The mysteries continue in Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris.
Shelby Holmes stands out in sixth grade: she's only 9 years old, she's not even four feet tall, and she's definitely the best detective in her Harlem neighborhood. But her intelligence and initiative — what some would call "bossiness" — hasn't won her any friends. So when 11-year-old John Watson moves in downstairs, Shelby sweeps him up in an investigation into a dognapping. Easy-going John is a bit surprised to find himself in the middle of a mystery, but he soon realizes that he has plenty to contribute, and soon the pair are partners — and friends. This fun middle-grade reinterpretation of Sherlock Holmes is heartfelt and charming. Fans of the first volume of the Shelby Holmes series can check out the second, The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match.
When shy Tabitha Crum receives one of six invitations to the country estate of wealthy Countess Camilla DeMoss, she's baffled: as a neglected child with only a pet mouse, Pemberley, for a friend, she had no reason to expect such an illustrious host to take an interest in her. But once she arrives at the possibly-haunted mansion, the other children start disappearing, one by one. Tabitha may be quiet, but that doesn't mean she's going to stand by and watch... particularly when they might be her first friends ever. Full of suspense, hope, and love, kids will root for Tabitha as she proves that her pluck, cleverness, and determination can get her through anything.
Imagine a world where a young Ada Lovelace (of computer programming fame) became best friends with Mary Godwin (the future Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein) and formed their own detective agency! That's what happens in this entertaining series that combines mystery with STEM subjects. When a heirloom is stolen — and someone falsely confesses to the crime — it's up to the astute but socially awkward Ada and the daring and romantic Mary to put their analytical talents to solving the mystery. Fans of the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series will want to seek out the sequels, The Case of the Girl in Grey and The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals.
Randi Rhodes is a tae kwon do-loving, mystery-solving twelve-year-old — but after her mother dies, and her father moves them to the small town of Deer Creek, Tennessee, she fears her detective days are over. But when the Founder's Day Festival — the event that the town is depending on — is threatened by the disappearance of a time capsule that's its main attraction (and incidentally supposedly holds the town's treasure), Randi and her new friend D.C. set out to solve the case. This energetic and entertaining mystery is sure to be a hit with middle grade readers! Fans of Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective can check out the second volume, The Sweetest Heist in History.
Sometimes a girl doesn't think of herself as a detective — sometimes, she thinks of herself as a spy! In this modern classic, Harriet struggles to make sense of the world around her by spying on neighbors and friends and keeping notes in her secret notebook, but when her friends find her notebook and read her blunt and sometimes cruel observations, Harriet discovers that, sometimes, curiosity has to be channeled to be used to its best effect. Harriet is a complex and fascinating character, and in the years since the book has been published, she has inspired many children to start sleuthing themselves — perhaps your Mighty Girl will be one of them.
Beloved Mighty Girl detective Nancy Drew has seen many reimaginings over the years. In The Nancy Drew Diaries, the character is given a more modern bent, with contemporary settings and a first-person narration that is more engaging for many tween readers. This box set includes the first ten novels from this updated series, full of mysteries — from murder on an Alaskan cruise to an explosion on a movie set — perfect for young mystery fans who won't want to wait until they can solve the next mysterious crime.
Wilma Tenderfoot isn't driven to become a detective by fame and fortune; she just wants to figure out who her parents are. So when she discovers that her new neighbor is a renowned detective, she's determined to become his assistant and learn the trade. But having an overeager and unskilled 10-year-old and her evidence-eating dog around isn't exactly conducive to solving a mystery. Can Wilma prove her mettle and discover the perpetrator fast enough to impress the daring detective? Funny, wacky, and full of heart, this middle-grade mystery is a wild ride! Wilma's adventures continue in The Case of the Fatal Phantom.
Sophie Young and Grace Yang are best friends who have made a game out of spying on their neighbors. But when they see a bloody scene at the home of Dr. Charlotte Agford, their bizarre middle school counselor, it turns out that she was just making a batch of pickled beets... or was she? Soon Dr. Agford is acting even weirder than usual, and the girls are determined to find out what's going on. But it's not the secret codes, tailing strangers, and mysterious events that are the most problematic; it's the stress on their friendship. Can the two young detectives solve the case and stay best friends? Charming and funny, this story will particularly speak to tweens navigating the difficult waters of middle school friendships. Sophie and Grace return in The Tiara on the Terrace.
13-year-old Trixie's summer is going to be sooo boring with her two older brothers away at camp. But when Honey Wheeler moves into the next-door mansion, Trixie discovers an unlikely friend. Then the two girls discover a boy, Jim Frayne, hiding in the decrepit house down the street. Jim tells them that he has to find the fortune supposedly hidden in his miserly Uncle's house — before his cruel stepfather finds him! It's a tough case, but clever Trixie wont give up until she cracks it. This first volume in the classic Trixie Belden mystery series was originally published in 1948, but her adventures are just as thrilling today as the day they were written!
10-year-old Kate the Chemist knows that you can fix any problem with some determination and a little scientific know-how. When her best friend, Birdie, gets the lead role in the school musical Dragons vs. Unicorns, organized and clever Kate is the perfect choice for assistant director. But then things start going wrong, and Kate realizes they may have a saboteur on their hands. Can Kate turn her curious mind to detective work and save the day? Written by real-life science hero Dr. Kate Biberdorf, AKA Kate the Chemist, this light-hearted and fun series opener includes a recipe for glittery unicorn-horn glue.
Emily's literary idol, Garrison Griswold, lives in San Francisco — something that makes her move to the city a lot more exciting! He's the creator of Book Scavenger, a game where books are hidden in cities around the country. But when she arrives, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and no one knows anything about the epic new game he was just about to launch. When Emily and her friend James discover a strange book, they find themselves rushing from clue to clue, trying to find the secret — before whoever attacked Griswold comes after them too. This fun adventure, sprinkled with mysteries and ciphers, is sure to appeal to mystery fans. Don't forget to check out the conclusion of the story in The Unbreakable Code.
What list of Mighty Girl mysteries would be complete without Nancy Drew? This stunning starter box set includes hardcover editions of the first four original Nancy Drew mysteries, with vibrant new cover art that references the era when the books were written. Start her love affair with this teen detective with The Secret of the Old Clock, in which Nancy and her friend Helen search for a clock that might hold the will of a deceased man. Along the way, they'll hunt for clues, prove that the motivations of the Tophams, the presumptive heirs, are not as clear as people think, and even evade a gang of burglars! Fans of Nancy Drew can also check out our Nancy Drew Collection for a wide variety of products featuring the character, from classic novels to modern interpretations.
Despite — or perhaps because of — their place as town misfits, Tru and Nelle are best friends who love playing detective — which turns out to be honing their observation skills for their future careers as authors! In this fictionalized account of Truman Capote and Harper Lee's childhood friendship, their penchant for sleuthing turns into a bit of a tangle when their investigation into a drugstore theft results in some real-life trouble for the daring pair. Soon, they're appearing at the courthouse and dodging the Ku Klux Klan. But not only will they solve the mystery, but their childhood adventures will provide fodder for their adult writing. Young fans of To Kill A Mockingbird will be particularly intrigued by this portrait of Lee as a child.
Paloma is visiting Mexico City for the first time; she's hoping that her deceased father's hometown will help her remember at least a few things about it. There, she meets siblings Lizzie and Gael, who invite her to join them on a search for the peacock ring, which once belonged to beloved artist Frida Kahlo. But can Paloma help them find the ring — and are the siblings really hoping to find it so that all of Mexico can enjoy it? This middle-grade mystery cleverly incorporates an intriguing introduction to Kahlo's life, along with an atmospheric exploration of her Mexican home.
When Sabrina and Daphne go to live with their mysterious grandmother, Relda Grimm, they discover a surprising family tradition: work as fairy-tale detectives! Since the time of their ancestors, the Brothers Grimm — whose fairy tales were actually case files — the family has kept tabs on the Everafters... some of whom are good and some of whom are very, very bad. And when a malicious Everafter sets a giant loose on their rural New York town, it's time for Sabrina and Daphne to take up the mantle and solve the mystery! Fans will particularly enjoy spotting the many fairy-tale references in this whimsical and clever book. And if she loves the first book, check out The Unusual Suspects and the rest of the Sisters Grimm series.
Cassie Arroyo is studying in Rome when her life is turned upside down after someone tries to kill her art history professor father. The assassination attempt sets off a chain of events that reveals Cassie's connection to St. Longinus and the Spear of Destiny, which can shape the future in the hands of someone like her. With a secret organization intent on keeping her from the Spear — by any means necessary — Cassie and her friends will have to follow the clues and solve the puzzles to save her life... and the world. This action-packed thrilled incorporates history, myth, riddles, and more into a wild ride that kids will devour from cover to cover. Cassie returns in the sequel, Returning Fire.
Samantha Spinner and her uncle Paul shared a love of strawberry waffles and puzzles — so when he goes missing, and her siblings get fantastic gifts while Samantha just gets a rusty red umbrella with a tag reading "Watch out for the RAIN," she knows it's more than it seems. As she and her brother Nipper investigate exactly what that umbrella means, they have no idea that they're getting mixed up in some important, dangerous, and definitely EXCITING plans! This series opener is a round-the-world adventure full of laughs and secret messages that middle grade readers will love; the series continues with Samantha Spinner and the Spectacular Specs.
11-year-old Kazu Jones is a would-be detective who's gotten herself in hot water a few times — with both her parents and the police — over false alarms. But there's a crew of dognappers in her neighborhood, and Kazu can't let justice go undone, so when she finds a lead, she recruits her own team, including her hacker best friend, her socially anxious dog Genki. Digging into the mystery draws the attention of the dognappers, though, and soon her beloved Genki could be the next dog to disappear! With its clever story full of fun twists and furry friends, this series opener is sure to please dog lovers and detective fans alike.
This unique detective series sprang from another one: Ruby Redfort is a fictional friend of Lauren Childs' character Clarice Bean who turned out to be so popular, she got her own book! After the contents of her house are stolen, genius code-breaker and daring detective Ruby Redfort finds herself forced to work for the international spy agency Spectrum. But with a little work — and some clever observations — Ruby might be able to solve the case and save the world at the same time. Funny and action-packed, this is sure to be a hit! Fans of Ruby can continue her story in Ruby Redfort: Take Your Last Breath.
It's 1974, and Clara Starling has resigned herself to life in the decrepit country mansion belonging to her stern uncle, who has been her guardian since her mother died when she was born. But then her uncle dismisses the latest in a series of governesses, fires the Cook, and abandons Clara, shortly before a For Sale sign appears on the mansion's door. With the help of Peter, an orphan boy who was sent to Braithwaite Manor by his ailing grandmother, Clara decides to fend for herself... and when the pair discover a single worn ballet slipper in the mansion, they fall headlong into a mystery involving the Royal Opera house, a touch of poison, and dark family secrets. A moody atmosphere and an engaging mystery form the core of this lightly Gothic tale that will delight young readers.
12-year-old Devlin has a love for justice, so when Liza, the student she and her police commissioner mother are hosting for the summer, sees someone steal a page from a rare book at the library, she's determined to crack the case. The book is a collection of maps, but what is the perpetrator looking for? With the help of Liza and her friend Booker, Devlin tracks the case from the lions that guard the library on 42nd Street to the Brooklyn Public Library's Central Building, discovering a mystery full of pulse-pounding thrills! Fairstein, a former Manhattan prosecutor and author of adult mysteries, introduces an appealing, clever, and determined young sleuth in this series opener.
When Beatrice's father gets a job at the American Academy in Rome, the history-loving girl isn't crazy about the move... until she hears about a centuries-old neighborhood legend. Then she sees a dark figure steal the famous turtle sculptures on the fountain outside her window — but nobody believes her. So with her new friend Marco, she decides to solve the mystery herself, which means coming face to face with ambassadors, art thieves, and some of Rome's most fascinating history. This fast-paced mystery is also a loving tribute to this beautiful Italian city and some of its most famous art, architecture, and history.
Max Einstein spends her days teaching classes at a New York college and doing secret missions for a billionaire as part of the Change Makers Institute — not bad for a 12-year-old! But when a water crisis strikes in multiple places in the world, and Max and her friends are trying to solve the problem, she's dogged at every turn by agents of the greedy Corporation who are trying to kidnap her. Can she figure out a solution to keep the water clean? Or is her presence doing more damage to the Change Makers' cause than good? The second volume in the Max Einstein series is full of even more rollicking STEM adventure! For the first book in this series, check out Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment.
When Olive and her parents move into a mysterious mansion full of old paintings, she can't help but feel that there's something wrong with the house. When she bumps into the house's three talking cats, she realizes that there's dark magic at play, and when she discovers a pair of antique glasses that let her jump into the paintings to Elsewhere, a quiet and strangely sinister world, she starts to wonder if she's in over her head. There's a power in Elsewhere that wants to be rid of her, and it's not clear if the cats are really on her side... Spooky and magical, this is a series debut that's not to be missed. Fans of the series can continue Olive's adventures in Spellbound.
12-year-old Sara Martinez ended up in juvenile detention after she hacked the New York City foster care system to prove her foster parents were breaking the law. She's expecting a grim stretch with no computer access when she gets approached by a mysterious man who calls himself Mother and recruits her for an all-kid spy agency. Before she's even gotten to know her new team, Sara is on her way to Paris where the billionaire sponsor of a youth environmental summit is getting death threats. This thrilling series opener, perfect for fans of Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls, is full of excitement, espionage, and friends becoming family. The City Spies' adventures continue in the sequel, Golden Gate.
Eleven-year-old Nell Warne has only one option left before she's consigned to the House of the Friendless: Aunt Kate, who just happens to be Kate Warne, the first-ever female detective of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Fortunately, it's quickly obvious that Nell can be very useful — not just around the house, but also in Aunt Kate's investigations. Against a backdrop of events that will forever change Civil War-era America, Nell will solve more than one case... including one about her own family's past. An extensive author's note tells middle grade readers about the real-life Kate Warne and her involved the Pinkerton Detective Agency, as well as providing solutions to the ciphers in the story.
12-year-old Candice is still reeling from her parents' divorce when she finds a letter in the attic of her grandmother Abigail's old house. The letter describes a mysterious treasure, and begs Abigail to find it. With the help of the quiet boy across the street, Candice decides to decipher the puzzle, and it leads them into some difficult territory, including ugly truths about the town's past and secrets about their own families. But it also leads them towards forgotten heroes and a love that defied its prejudiced world. Kids will thrill to each of Candice and Brandon's discoveries, and ponder how the weight of racism and prejudice resonates into the present, as they eagerly turn the pages of this mystery.
Abigail is determined to escape from her terribly boring boarding school...but when her escape attempt fails, she learns her school is more interesting than she thought! The school is actually a cover for an elite spy ring called The Center, and Abigail's mother, The Center's top agent, has gone missing in action. Rumor has it that she has critical information that many people would give anything to possess. Abigail has to learn spy training fast, because even with the help of a former nemesis and a boy from her grade, she doesn't have much time to solve the mystery and save her mother. And answers may be closer than she thinks... Fast-paced and full of twists and turns, this will be a hit with young would-be spies! Abigail continues her spy career in Power Play and Double Cross.
Curious Sammy is checking out the neighborhood through her grandmother's binoculars when she sees something strange at the Heavenly Hotel. Soon, she realizes that she's watching a thief in action — and worse, that the thief saw her, too! She decides she has to go to the police, but they're skeptical, and even suspicious that she may be up to mischief. Sammy's going to need to solve the mystery and prove the thief's identity if she's going to prevent wary eyes from falling on her own situation! It will take some real puzzling for readers to figure out the solution before Sammy does... Fans of this book can follow Sammy in the second book in the series, Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man.
Sixth-graders Miranda and Sal know exactly what to do — and who to avoid — in their New York City neighborhood. But when Sal gets punched by a strange kid on the street, he suddenly stops talking to Miranda. Then, she starts getting mysterious notes that describe things no one should know, including one that reads "I'm coming to save your friend's life, and my own." As Miranda tries to solve the mystery, she begins to believe that time travel might play a part — and that she's the only one who can prevent a tragic death. A shocking twist ending will leave readers eager to re-read this novel now that they know how the puzzle comes together.
Thirteen-year-old Kit Donovan is pulled in many directions in her 1905 Nevada mining town... but when her mother dies of a fever, Kit promises to become a "proper lady." Except then she discovers that Mr. Granger, the gold mine's boss, is making extra profit thanks to unsafe working conditions — and when she convinces her dad to speak out, things go from bad to worse. So with the help of some friends, Kit decides to take some lessons from her hero, Huck Finn, as she fights to clear her father's name and expose the mine owner's corruption. Full of twists, turns, and rollicking adventure, this historical fiction novel featuring a daring main character celebrates those who will stop at nothing to bring the truth to light.
12-year-old Miranda doesn't understand why her mother has always been so distant, or why she's never gotten to visit August Isle, Florida, where her mother spend every summer as a girl. Then her mother's work takes her away for the whole summer, and Miranda finds herself staying in August Isle with "Aunt" Clare, an old friend of her mother's. She finds friendship there, but also mysteries and questions about her mother's past. As she tries to uncover these secrets, Miranda also discovers how to overcome her fears to be "Miranda — brave and bold." Whimsical characters and a powerful story about how emotional pain affects everyone in a family will draw young readers in to Miranda's life.
13-year-old Ingrid Levin-Hill finds herself in the midst of a mystery that gets curioser and curioser! After winning the lead in a local theatrical production of Alice in Wonderland, Ingrid finds herself tied to the murder of the eccentric woman who was affiliated with the troupe. So in the midst of soccer games, rehearsals, schoolwork, and day-to-day family life, she also finds herself caught up in a real-life mystery — just like her hero, Sherlock Holmes. Can she keep all the balls in the air and still find the killer? The main character of this mystery is believable and appealing, and tweens will enjoy spotting the witty references to Lewis Carroll's classic. Ingrid's story continues in Behind the Curtain.
12-year-old Aggie Morton is an aspiring young writer who's had a Morbid Preoccupation since her beloved father died — so when she finds a corpse on the floor at the Mermaid Dance Room her curiosity is piqued! With the help of a 12-year-old Belgian immigrant, Hector, Aggie sets out to crack the case... which becomes even more urgent when her dance instructor comes under suspicion. Now, Aggie and Hector are in a race against time that will require all their wits! Inspired by the imaged life of Agatha Christie as a child (and by her famous creation, Hercule Poirot), this is a clever and funny middle grade mystery that's perfect for fans of Enola Holmes.
12-year-old Ollie is struggling to keep her mother's deep depressive episode a secret — even from adults who might support her, like her dad's business partner Apollo. Ollie's dad disappeared weeks ago, running away to France right after he and Apollo quarreled about a statue, so she's not sure Apollo can be trusted any more. With the help of her friends Richard and Alex, Ollie — a talented artist herself — hopes to solve the mystery by finding her father... before time runs out. Set in 1980s SoHo, this debut novel addresses issues about mental illness and the support friendship can give, while also providing a satisfying mystery for young readers.
12-year-old Myrtle Hardcastle is a wickedly smart twelve-year-old with a passion for justice and a Highly Unconventional obsession with criminal science — one that is very much not proper in a Victorian Young Lady of Quality. When her next-door neighbor, a wealthy and eccentric connoisseur of rare flowers, dies mysterious, Myrtle decides this is the chance to prove herself and sets off with her governess, Miss Ada Judson, at her side. Her mission is to prove it was murder and find the killer! Witty, clever, and full of twists and turns, this delightful series opener introduces a clever and determined new detective! Myrtle's adventures continue in the sequels How to Get Away With Myrtle and Cold-Blooded Myrtle.
After 12-year-old Martha O'Doyle gets expelled from her parochial school in 1929 for "cheekiness," her only chocie is to take a job as a maid for the wealthy Sewell family. The family seems to have everything, but Martha begins to suspect something is going on with Rose Sewell, the lady of the house. Although she used to be the life of the party, now she refuses to leave her room — and despite the other servants' claims that she's gone mad, Martha thinks Rose may be trying to sneak a message out through the paintings in the mansion's gallery. Inspired by true events, this sophisticated mystery starring a spunky heroine will leave readers deeply satisfied.
13-year-old Penelope Tredwell is determined not to lose the Penny Dreadful, Victorian Britain's best-selling magazine, even though she's been orphaned. Under the pen name of Montgomery Finch, her inventive and eerie tales captivate the country. But then the governor of Bedlam asylum contacts "Finch" for help with a mystery: at ten minutes to midnight, the inmates burst into frantic automatic writing. What can their scribbling mean, and why is it happening? Penelope's career as a detective of the supernatural has begun! This box set collect all three of the Penelope Tredwell mysteries.
Sally Miyake lives in Sunnyside Plaza, a group home for adults with developmental disabilities; at "8 times 2 plus 3" years old, she takes pride in being able to help in the kitchen. But when a suspicious death occurs, two detectives, Esther Rivas and Lon Bridges, start investigating — and take her under their wings. Sally, it turns out, is tremendously observant... enough that she can crack the case and show that someone at the home isn't trustworthy. Sally's unique and vibrant voice highlights the strengths of the residents at Sunnyside Plaza, providing and empowering and empathetic look at life with a developmental disability.
In the Deepdean School for Girls in 1930s Britain, Daisy Wells, a brash Sherlock Holmes fan, and Hazel Wong, a Hong Kong immigrant still finding her feet in her new home, are best friends who've formed a detective agency... except they don't have anything to investigate. But that changes when Hazel stumbles across the body of their science teacher — which then disappears. Now Hazel and Daisy have to gather clues, spy on suspects, and use every bit of their deductive powers, not just to solve the crime, but to prove that it happened in the first place! And as they do, their friendship will be stretched to the limit. An engaging tale starring two distinct and appealing characters, this will become a fast favorite. The adventures of this detective duo continues in their second volume, Poison is Not Polite.
When Sophie, Margaret, and Rebecca helped out a woman who lives across from their school, they had no idea that they'd end up hiding under tables, tackling world puzzles, and solving geometry problems in a race to solve a mystery! The woman is estranged from her daughter, but she thinks she knows how to become close again: she's found the first step of a scavenger hunt that's supposed to lead to a ring that can grant wishes. But nothing is simple — especially not with family problems and boy friends who might be turning into boyfriends — so can the girls follow the clues and solve the mystery in time? This twisty, adventurous novel provides a perfect blend of mystery and math. For more from this trio, check out the second volume, The Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin.
Why not mix a little extra fantasy in with your detective story? Gilda Joyce has been sharpening her psychic skills ever since her father died, determined to become an investigator of spooky mysteries involving spirits from the Other Side. And she gets a chance to test her skills when she visits her uncle and his strange daughter, whose home is being stalked by a tortured ghost, drawn by a family secret. As she investigates, Gilda writes notes to her father on his old typewriter, eloquently capturing her grief and love for him. The supernatural element and precarious situations will thrill tween readers. Gilda's story continues in Gilda Joyce: the Ladies of the Lake.
Nancy Springer imagines a sister for famous detective Sherlock Holmes in this engrossing middle-grade novel. With her mother missing, Enola Holmes sets out for London to search for her — but it's not long before she's pulled into even more mystery! Soon, she's investigating the kidnapping of a marquess, evading dangerous villains (and her older brothers), and trying to put together the puzzle pieces to figure out where Mrs. Holmes has gone. Tweens will love this two-in-one mystery story that emphasizes just how revolutionary Enola's pluck, intelligence, and independence makes her in Victoria society. The mysteries continue in the next book in the series, The Case of the Left-Handed Lady.
Young orphan and thief Mary Quinn finds herself like many unfortunates in 1850s London: consigned to the gallows. That is, until she's rescued, and offered an unusual opportunity for education at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. The Academy, it turns out, is actually the front for an all-female detective group called The Agency. And after polishing her skills, Mary is assigned to infiltrate the home of a rich merchant in search of information about his missing ships. Of course, the household is full of danger and deception, but if Mary succeeds, she might find more than a career... she might learn more about her own past. Intriguing and atmospheric, this book is perfect for teen mystery fans. Mary's story continues in the second book of the series, The Body at the Tower.
When Abigail Rook travels to New Fiddleham, New England, in 1892, she knows she's going to need a job — and that could be hard to come by. Then she meets R.F. Jackaby, an investigator with an eye for the occult and mysterious. Abigail, on the other hand, has a knack for noticing ordinary but important details, making her the perfect match as Jackaby's assistant. Soon, she's embroiled in a thrilling case: a serial killer the police believe is human but Jackaby is sure is something else. With a unique blend of science and supernatural, plus a hearty dash of historical detail, teen readers are sure to want to continue following Abigail and Jackaby's adventures in Beastly Bones, Ghostly Echoes, and The Dire King.
Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality is not your ordinary finishing school. When Sophronia is banished there by her exasperated mother, she's expecting lessons on how to curtsy; instead, she discovers that Mademoiselle Geraldine trains young women to be part spy, part assassin, and part lady of quality. It's going to be quite the first year at school for Sophronia.... Author Gail Carriger has created a fascinating steampunk world (complete with a finishing school in a series of dirigibles and mechanimal pets) that will enthrall teens. Fans of this unique setting can continue the series in with Curtsies and Conspiracies and the rest of the Finishing School series.
Victoria's life is perfect, except for her friend Lawrence, with his untucked shirt, his dreamy ways, and his obsession with his piano. Nevertheless, Victoria puts up with Lawrence... until he disappears. Victoria tracks his steps to the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, where she discovers to her horror that children who enter shape up — or they never leave at all. If Victoria is going to stop the malicious Mrs. Cavendish and her dark magic, she'll have to face her fears — and learn to reach out for help from others. This creepy and intense horror novel with a chilling mystery also communicates a powerful message about individuality and friendship.
Sixteen-year-old Marigold "Goldie" Vance has big plans! Her divorced father runs a Florida resort, and Goldie is determined that she'll be the one to take over the in-house detective position. Of course, the current detective, Charles, isn't crazy about her idea, but when he runs into a case that he can't crack, he relents and agrees to take her on as a student... if she'll help him solve the mystery. With her father busy managing the resort, and her mother working as a live mermaid in a downtown club, she's got the perfect opportunity to prove she's got the chops of a detective. This exciting graphic novel will delight would-be detectives! Fans of this volume can also pick up Goldie Vance, Volume 2.
Evaline Stoker — the sister of Dracula author Bram Stoker — and Mina Holmes — the niece of the indomitable Sherlock — never planned to get involved in either family business. But when two society girls disappear, it turns out that mystery and the supernatural are in the blood, and Evaline and Mina can't help but investigate. But to do that, they'll have to work with a single clue, a strange clockwork scarab, and manage the advances of three different young gentlemen. Oh, and resolve their own rivalry at the same time. And if they don't find the solution in time, they might just end up the next victims... Steampunk, vampires, and traditional detective stories make for a rollicking combination that's sure to keep her flipping pages. This exciting series continues with The Spiritglass Charade.
Army brat Lois Lane is starting a new life — again — in Metropolis, and she's determined to stay quiet, fly straight, and blend in. But things aren't that easy: at her new school, a group called the Warheads is messing with another girl's mind through some sort of high tech video game they all play. Lois can't let it stand, so with her wit, her brand new reporter's credentials, and the help of mysterious online friend, Smallville Guy, she's determined to get to the bottom of things. This creative reimagining of classic DC character Lois Lane is first in a series; to continue her story, check out Double Down and Triple Threat.
The big mystery of the summer is: who killed Annabel Harper, the teen beauty queen who was found dead in the pool at an elite tennis club? Best friends Evie and Chelsea decide to try to find out, eavesdropping on conversations and following the lead detective on the case. Chapters alternate between Chelsea's voice, telling the story of the weeks before Annabel was found dead, and Evie's, talking about after, and it soon becomes clear that the pieces don't fit together as expected. As Evie overcomes bullying for her size and discovers a talent for tennis — which somehow eludes her tennis-pro father — and Chelsea slowly reveals her own history of abuse and trauma, teen readers will eagerly flip pages to learn the truth... and get surprised with a startling twist. Don't be surprised if they reread it right away to look for all the clues!
Flavia de Luce is an aspiring chemist with a particular interest in poisons, but in her 1950s English village, she's definitely the oddball. But her talents for listening at keyholes and picking locks come in handy when a series of mysterious events come to the mansion at Buckshaw: first a dead bird on the doorstep with a postage stamp on its beak, then a dying man in the family's cucumber patch. No matter what happens, Flavia can't help but admit that her life began in earnest once murder came calling! Rollicking and intriguing, this is an excellent option for teens and adults alike. You can continue the series with The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag or check out the entire 10-book Flavia de Luce series.
17-year-old Evelyn has suffered some of the worst that Victorian London has to offer: her jaw has been destroyed by phosphorus necrosis after working in a matchstick factory for years. She's able to find a job as a maid for John Merrick, the famous Elephant Man, who lives his days locked in the London Hospital — and she finds the work suits her, since she'd like nothing else than to be kept away from the dangers of the streets. But when Jack the Ripper starts terrorizing the East End, the ghosts of his victims appear — and Evelyn will take the bold step of chasing down the monster so the women he killed can rest. Grim and eerie, this historical suspense novel will make readers gasp with exciting revelations.
When Ky's father is framed for murder, she moves in with her grandfather. She's not happy to be back in Jasperville, Ohio: two years ago, her ex-boyfriend shared topless photos of her on social media, and everyone blamed her. With the help of her childhood friend Garrett and a new friend, Tabby, Ky wants to get justice for her humiliation, too — but one of those responsible may be a real danger. And when a rookie FBI agent, who believes her father is guilty, is sent to keep an eye on her, it won't be long before Ky digs deep enough to discover there's a lot of ugly underneath Jasperville's friendly small town surface. Thrilling and tense, this young adult mystery features a capable heroine who refuses to be beaten down; Ky's adventures continue in the sequel, Don't Say A Word.
Fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital and learns that on her journey home to her grandfather's estate, someone hit her hard on the head...but she doesn't remember who or why. Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her, and his intelligent and suspicious sister, Ellen, might be the key to Julie finding out what happened — and to solving the mystery of a disappearing employee and a cup full of missing river pearls. But Julie may not have time to reconstruct her memory: prejudice and bias against Travellers make Euan and Ellen the perfect targets for police who would rather just wrap up the whole business if Julie can't figure it out in time. A complex mystery and an enthralling setting make this prequel to Code Name Verity a fast-paced and exciting read.
Ellingham Academy is famous for recruiting the greatest minds — and for the mysterious kidnapping of the founder's wife and daughter shortly after it opened, with a note signed by the pseudonym "Truly, Devious." True-crime fan Stevie Bell is just starting at the academy and she's determined to crack the case. But when Truly Devious returns to the school, and a student ends up dead, Stevie will have to overcome her anxiety and depression to find the culprit... before Truly Devious strikes again. Suspenseful and atmospheric, this series opener will leave young adult readers eager to return to the Academy in the second book, The Vanishing Stair.
When Sadie was 6, her drug-addicted single mother gave birth to Mattie — so Sadie basically raised her. When their mother disappeared, Sadie kept caring for her... until Mattie was found dead at 13. Heartbroken and furious, especially once the police investigation gets botched, Sadie sets off on a road trip to find her sister's killer — and make him pay. Then she too disappears. Months later, West McCray, a radio personality, overhears Sadie's story and becomes obsessed with finding her. Readers will be riveted as Sadie's first-person account alternates with McCray's investigation, revealing the ugly truths of Sadie's quest for vengeance.
Additional Recommended Resources
- For more suspenseful Mighty Girl stories, including more detective tales, visit our Mystery & Suspense Collection.
- Fans of the first teen girl detective, Nancy Drew, can find more products starring her in our Nancy Drew Collection.
- Budding detectives should check out the Master Detective Toolkit (age 8 and up) to explore what real evidence collection is all about.
- For fun mystery-solving puzzles on the go, check out Bella's Mystery Deck and Bella's Mystery Deck 2, each of which contain 50 mystery cards (with solutions.)