These thrilling books feature daring quests and confounding mysteries that are guaranteed to enthral children. Featuring best-loved books from authors including Enid Blyton, David Walliams and Louis Sachar, see below for a list of the best mystery books for children, ordered by target age.
This sequel to Julia Donaldson's bestselling The Gruffalo follows the Gruffalo's intrepid daughter, who ventures into the woods in search of the Big Bad Mouse! She stumbles across a snake, an owl and a fox, but not a Big Bad Mouse, and she becomes convinced that there's no such thing. Will the creature come out once a little mouse appears? This captivating tale features gorgeous illustrations by Axel Scheffler.
Andrew Cope | 5+
Lara is a spy with a difference... she's a dog! In this exciting tale, Lara must go undercover as a 'normal' family dog, but can she keep it up? This enthralling and funny adventure is perfect for building up the confidence of newly-independent readers and will engross even reluctant readers.
Derek Landy | 7+
12-year-old Stephanie's uncle Gordon is a horror fiction writer. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, she discovers that whilst he may have written horror, it certainly wasn't fiction. As evil forces pursue her, determined to recover a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source: Skulduggery Pleasant, the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard. Will this unlikely duo stop bickering for long enough to save the day? This magical adventure is full of jokes and witty repartee.
Enid Blyton | 7+
Join the intrepid Famous Five - Dick, Anne, Julian, George and Timmy the dog - on all of their exciting escapades, in caves, castles, secret passageways and more! The gang must outsmart thieves, hunt for hidden treasure, and unravel all sorts of mysteries in these riveting classic tales.
David Walliams | 9+
This book follows 12-year-old Alfie, whose teeth are horribly rotten! Throughout the town, children are putting their teeth under their pillows for the tooth fairy, but when they wake up, they don't find money, but horribly disgusting things like cat poo and earwigs. Things get stranger when the new dentist, Miss Root, starts handing out free sweets and acidic toothpaste to children. Alfie resolves to find out the truth - but what will happen when he ends up in the dentist's chair? This gruesome and hilarious story is guaranteed to delight (and horrify!) kids.
R. L. Stine | 9+
Dare your kids to read these heart-pounding books from R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series, in which children must face all sorts of supernatural terrors. These spine-chilling books feature twisted, funny and gritty adventures that will enthral children. Discover ghouls, ghosts, vampires and more in these spectacularly spooky books.
Neil Gaiman | 9+
This perfectly creepy and thrilling novel stars Coraline, whose family moves into a brand new flat. There, she discovers a door that leads to an unnerving mirror universe, where a mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin beckon Coraline to join them. Whilst this strange other world seems in so many ways much better than the original, Coraline will discover that a host of children's souls are trapped there. Will she be able to save them, as well as herself?
Lewis Carroll | 9+
Kids can immerse themselves in a dreamlike world with this enthralling book. Follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole and tumble into a world where all your normal worries disappear, and you must instead contend with the grinning Cheshire Cat, the nonsensical Mad Hatter and the cruel Queen of Hearts. Full of wonderful wordplay and perplexing puzzles, children will love this riveting read.
Erich Kastner | 10+
Young Emil is sent to Berlin with money to give to his grandmother, but the money is stolen by a stranger on the train. Despite being stranded in an unfamiliar part of Berlin, Emil is undeterred, and resolves to track down the thief. A gang of children gather to help him, and so their riveting adventure begins. This wonderful classic novel will captivate children.
Louis Sachar | 11+
This book tells the story of Stanley Yelnats, whose family has a history of bad luck. He's not even surprised when he ends up in a juvenile detention camp in Texas for a crime he didn't commit, but can't believe that all he and the other boys have to do all day is dig holes. How boring! But it's not long before Stanley realises that what he'll need to dig up is the sinister truth... This exciting mystery is full of fun humour and will have children engrossed.