I love a good mystery but not all mysteries are good. Some are just too predicable. A good mystery has to have clever plot twists and an unexpected ending.
For middle grade there are some great mysteries that run the gamut of humorous to dangerous. Below are a few books for middle graders who have a fondness for mysteries like me. They are listed from younger (9-11) to older readers (11-14).
EDDIE RED UNDERCOVER: MYSTERY ON MUSEUM MILE and the sequel MYSTERY IN MAYAN, MEXICO by Marcia Wells. Eddie Red is a sixth grader with a photographic memory and artistic talent that proves to be very helpful to police. The books are fast paced with lots of clever boy humor. The reader is taken on a journey around New York City and Mayan, Mexico.
DOUBLE VISION series by F.T. Bradley. This trilogy stars look-alike double agents who don’t particularly like eachother. They sometimes make solving the mystery a competition. These stories are fast-paced with lots of action and cool gadgets. The settings are wonderfully vivid and educational, taking place in Paris, Washington D.C. and Hollywood.
THREE TIMES LUCKY by Shelia Turnage. This is a mystery with a lot of heart. Mo Lobeau is a mystery herself because she washed up in the town of Tupelo Landing during a storm and has been there ever since. Her and her friend Dale are self-proclaimed detectives and are out to solve a murder. The southern dialect and humor make this a fun read.
THE WOLLSTONECRAFT DETECTIVE AGENCY by Jordan Stratford. Two unlikely friends team up to form the Wollstonecraft detective agency. Ada is an 11-year-old genius with an abrasive personally who looks at the world very analytically. Mary is well-manered and imaginative with an adventurous side. The two are “clever and clandestine.” The characters are based on real women in history and the setting is authentic1826 London which makes this not only entertaining but educational.
CAPTURE THE FLAG by Kate Messner. Anna, Jose and Henry are snowed in at a busy Washington D.C. airport. They are trapped with many other travelers and some mysterious ones. When the famous flag that inspired “The Star Spangled Banner” turns up stolen, the three realize they are snowed in with the thieves and have to help track them down.
UNDER THE EGG by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. Thirteen-year-old Theo lives with her flighty mother in a delapidated townhouse in Greenwich Village. They live on very little. Then Theo accidentally spills rubbing alcohol on her deceased grandfather’s painting and discovers a masterpiece. However, Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Is the painting stolen? Theo has to find out how her grandfather got the painting and what to do with it.
GREENGLASS HOUSE by Kate Milford. Twelve-year-old Milo lives in an old house on a hill that’s also an inn his adoptive parents run. The guests, however, are often smugglers making their way though town. During one Christmas break some unexpected guests arrive. They are not only peculiar but they all have interesting stories to tell. Milo, with the help of Meddy, find many hidden treasures in the old historic inn that help them discover what may have brought these strange guests to Greenglass House.