Everyone loves a good mystery, and these mystery for third through sixth grade readers will spark the imagination and inspire curiosity.
“Theodore Boone: The Fugitive” by John Grisham, 2015, Dutton Children’s Books, 250 pages, ages 9-13.
John Grisham, author of twenty-seven novels, has written five books for young readers, featuring Theodore Boone, an eighth-grader with a nose for mysteries and an eye for criminals. In “The Fugitive”, kid-lawyer Theo spies a dangerous accused murder on the subway in Washington, D.C., while on a school trip. With the help of his almost-law-abiding uncle, the two hatch a plan to bring the criminal to justice.
“The Midadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe: The Pet and the Pendulum” by Gordon McAlpine, Illustrated by Sam Zuppardi, 2015, 196 pages, ages 8-11.
Twins Edgar and Allen Poe, great, great, great, great, great nephews of the legendary Edgar Allen Poe, have a knack for falling into trouble and outwitting harm. In this third book of the Misadventure series, the boys are unknowingly caught up in a deranged professor’s plot. It will take all of their cleverness and cunning, and a little help from their uncle in the Great Beyond to foil this caper.
“Unstoppable Octobia May” by Sharon G. Flake, 2014, Scholastic, 276 pages, ages 8-12.
Curiosity leads a young girl, Octobia May, on a hunt to determine the secrets of her aunt’s boarder, Mr. Davenport. His incessant daytime typing, secret meetings with men in dark coats, and late night prowling, are all suspicious. Is Mr. Davenport really a World War II hero, or is he fooling her aunt, the other boarders, and the town? Octobia May can’t stop asking questions and seeking answers, even when others call her a trouble-maker and tell her to mind her place. With the help of her best friend Jonah, the truth is discovered, and it’s a surprise to all, except Octobia May.
“Lulu’s Mysterious Mission” by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Kevin Cornell, 2014, Atheneum Books, 182 pages, ages 8-10.
Lulu’s parents are gone on vacation and have left her with a new babysitter, Sonia Sofia Solinksy. Angry at being left at home, Lulu devises a scheme to make Ms. Solinsky regret her role. But this babysitter is just as conniving, and Lulu has met her match. When they call a truce, Lulu willingly follows Ms. Solinsky’s orders that lead toward solving a mystery.
“Murder is Bad Manners” by Robin Stevens, 2015, Simon & Schuster, 307 pages, ages 9-12.
A 1930’s boarding school sets the scene for this murder mystery. Best friends Daisy and Hazel form a secret detective society and when Miss Bell, the science teacher is found dead, the girls have their first case. A running list of suspects, motives, and alibis keeps readers abreast of the case. While ruling out teachers and the headmistress one by one, another murder occurs, and the girls must act quickly to make sure the murderer does not strike again.
“Strike Three You’re Dead” by Josh Berk, 2013, Alfred A. Knopf, 250 pages, ages 8-12.
Lenny, and his best friends Mike and Other Mike, are a middle-school detective trio who seem to stumble upon mysteries and adventure. In this edition of the Lenny and the Mikes series, baseball lover Lenny witnesses a crime at a Phillies game. The three boys are soon on the case, with the help of an unlikely ally – a girl! The four super-sleuths take a few wrong turns with their suspect list, making friends and enemies in the process, but with a little cunning and a lot of luck they solve the mystery and catch the crook in one fell swoop.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler