Solving the Case: Our Favourite Novels for Young Sleuths

Solving the Case: Our Favourite Novels for Young Sleuths

There’s nothing quite like a good mystery to help get kids reading! We have put together some of our favourite detective novels for kids aged around 8-12. There’s some beloved classics as well as a few new surprises, but they are sure to inspire your own budding sleuth (click on the titles or cover images below to learn more about each book or purchase a copy).

The Secret of the Unicorn (Tintin)   Originally translated from French, Herge’s stories of Tintin and his trusty canine companion Snowy continue to delight readers. If your child saw the Tintin movie recently, The Secret of the Unicorn may be a good one to start with, but there are plenty of great titles in the Tintin series.

Friday Barnes, Girl Detective – Meet Friday as she arrives at the exclusive Highcrest Academy and finds herself deep in all kinds of mystery.

The Falcon’s Malteser Anthony Horowitz is a master at quirky tales that will grip even a reluctant reader, and the adventures of Tim and his young brother Nick Diamond are no different.

Freddy the Detective  An American classic, soon to be published for the first time in Australia, Freddy is a pig who finds himself inspired by Sherlock Holmes to set up his own detective agency in the barn.

The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew) You can always trust Nancy to put the clues together and save the day, and now the classic Nancy Drew series has been republished to entertain a whole new generation of readers!

Look Into My Eyes (Ruby Redfort) –  From the mind of Lauren Child comes Ruby Redfort, a wise-cracking and butt-kicking girl detective. Readers may have first met her in Child’s Clarice Bean series, but now Ruby is starring in her own easy to read and engaging novels.

Secret of the Red Arrow (Hardy Boys) –  Frank and Joe Hardy constantly find themselves getting into dangerous scrapes, but always seem to solve the case. Another classic series. 

The Fairytale Detectives (Sisters Grimm) –  Fantasy and mystery combine in The Sisters Grimm series, as Sabrina and Daphne learn they are direct descendants of the Brothers Grimm, and have inherited plenty of mysterious challenges.

Do you have another favourite kid detective? Let us know in the comments! 

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  1. Leanne says:

    How could you not have Trixie Belden and more shockingly, The Famous Five by Enid Blyton
    They had the greatest influence on me growing up that naturally led to Agatha Christie and co

    • Better Reading says:

      Hi Leanne,

      Thanks for commenting! We are big Famous Five fans over here, but for this list we chose to focus mainly on solo (or duo) detectives- maybe we should do one on detective teams in the future! I loved hearing that Famous Five had such a lasting impact on your reading life – Nancy Drew certainly led to finding Poirot for me too, and what a wonderful discovery that was.

      All the best from the Better Reading Team

  2. Other solo/duo teams that haven’t been mentioned that I loved reading would be Encyclopedia Brown with his enormously talented and analytical mind; plus the incredible memory of Cam Janssen

    • Better Reading says:

      Thanks Dan! Encyclopedia Brown always seemed to be one step ahead, didn’t he? Sadly copies are a bit harder to source these days, always worth keeping an eye out at garage sales or book fairs! We’re are less familiar with Cam Janssen, sounds like we need to investigate…

      All the best from the Better Reading team.

  3. Elizabeth Thiele says:

    My daughter loves the Taya Bayliss series by E.J.Gore. Perfect for 8-12 year old readers.