Detective Stories and Mysteries
Three very different and unexpected stories (with a twist) await you in these captivating novels recommended by Readers' Advisory Librarian Nancy.
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
An unlikable private detective, Daniel Hawthorne is tolerated because he is the best at what he does. Now, he's been called in by the London police to help solve a baffling case: the murder of Diana Cowper, the mother of an up-and-coming actor. And, she was killed on the day she arranged her own funeral.
While following Hawthorne meticulously solve this unsolvable crime would be satisfying, there’s even more to love when Hawthorne invites author Anthony Horowitz, a fictionalized version of the author, to turn this “real-life” case into a book and split the proceeds. Offbeat and unconventional, Horowitz reaches a new level of metafiction with a refreshing take on the Sherlock and Watson relationship -- with him playing the part of a wily Watson!
The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
An absolutely original, intricately plotted novel that keeps you guessing at every turn with a supernatural twist on the classic whodunnit. We’re transported to the dilapidated Blackheath House in the English countryside during a masquerade ball being held for the return of the Hardcastle family's daughter, Evelyn. These events are occuring 20 years after she fled the estate under the shadow of the tragic and unsolved murder of her brother.
For the first one hundred pages, the reader (and the narrator) are confused as to who the narrator actually is. When he wakes up in the woods completely disoriented, the first thing he hears is a woman’s scream and a gun shot. The story unfolds to reveal our main character is Aiden Bishop. He's trapped inside a time loop, awakening in a different guests’ body reliving the same day to solve a crime by 11 p.m. Otherwise, Evelyn is murdered every night and the cycle begins again. The catch? Aiden only has eight days and eight bodies to solve the mystery or he will also be killed.
IQ by Joe Ide
Isaiah Quintabe is a loner, a high school dropout, and a resident of one of LA’s toughest neighborhoods. He’s also a completely off-the-grid amateur sleuth nicknamed “IQ” for his high intelligence. IQ takes on the cases that the overwhelmed police can’t handle. Normally, he charges his clients whatever they can afford, but sometimes he must accept more high-profile, high paying jobs to get by. This time he’s investigating threats against a superstar rapper who seems to be going insane. Author Joe Ide somehow pulls off combining a coming-of-age story with a detective story and a caper story. You would think it would all be too much, but it’s the perfect combination including a secondary cast of diverse characters in a realistic urban setting.
Teen Services Librarian Maggie's selections appeal to amateur sleuths and avid readers.
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
If you’re in the mood for a cute, cozy, romantic mystery, Serious Moonlight checks all the boxes. Mystery book aficionado Birdie Lindberg’s new job at a historic Seattle hotel leads her and her co-worker, Daniel, to a real mystery about a reclusive writer who resides there. To uncover the writer’s secrets, Birdie must come out of her shell, only to discover an even more confounding mystery: her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.
This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston
No one knows what happened that morning at River Point: five boys went hunting; four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend and the evidence shows it could have been any one of them. As part of her internship with the district attorney’s office, Kate Marino is assigned to help unravel the boys’ lies. As Kate gets close to the truth, it becomes clear that the shooting was likely no accident, and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line, including her own. If you like a mystery full of shocking twists and turns, this is your book.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Truly Devious is one of the best contemporary YA mysteries out there, but be prepared to commit to a trilogy, at minimum (you’ll want to, trust us). Stevie Bell, an amateur detective, is starting her first year at a private school in Vermont, famous for the unsolved kidnapping of the founder’s wife and daughter. Stevie plans to solve the cold case but when a murderer returns to Ellingham Academy, Stevie finds herself in the middle of an active investigation too.
Library Assistant Victoria and Librarian Lindsay liked these mysterious reads so much they can't wait to share them with you!
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Just imagine, a kid living in an unconventional old inn, full of hidden nooks and crannies, in a snowstorm during winter break. Some of the inn's interesting guests are smugglers, including one who has dropped a mysterious map. Brace yourself for a wonderful story as Milo uncovers secrets behind the mysterious Greenglass House and its visitors. The captivating narrative will have you cheering for Milo as he discovers self-confidence, friendship, and belonging.
Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah and James Howe
Bunnicula combines mystery with comedy as the Monroe family adopt a rabbit they discover while at the movies. This chapter book is told from the perspective of their dog, Harold, who works with Chester the cat to solve the mystery of what kind of creature Bunnicula the rabbit really is. Bunnicula will charm and entertain you with its sophisticated yet approachable writing style that reminds you of Sherlock Holmes-only written by a dog!
The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency No. 1: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford
This book takes us back to 1820s London and introduces us to Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, and Mary Shelley, the world’s first science fiction author. The author creates a fictional timeline where the two girls become friends and form a detective agency together. This series shines in its focus on the two girls as characters and as historical figures. Ada and Mary have different skills and personalities but work well together as a team to cleverly solve cases and provide examples of strong yet realistic female characters. Readers may be introduced to the historical figures of Ada and Mary and learn more about them both through notes in the book and further reading.
(ages 8 - 11)
Pigeon P.I. by Meg McLaren
Murray, the Pigeon P.I., hasn’t taken on a case since his old partner skipped town. But when a string of bird-nappings and rumors of a feather thief emerge, Murray may have to dust-off his detective fedora one more time! Adults will love the hard-boiled references, and kids will love the deliciously detailed illustrations.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Bear has lost his hat, and none of his forest friends seems to know where it is… or do they? Drama ensues when the hat thief is confronted. Klassen’s deceptively simple illustrations communicate volumes through small changes in color and lines – readers will instantly recognize the wide range of emotions Bear and the other animals experience! A modern classic.
Whobert Whover, Owl Detective by Jason Gallaher, illustrated by Jess Pauwels
When Perry the possum is found lying still on the ground, Whobert Whover, Owl Detective is on the case! Whobert searches for clues and interrogates the other forest inhabitants, but sharp-eyed readers may catch on to who the true culprit is! A hilarious read-aloud mystery with a twist.