Top 10 Best Mystery Books for Children

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.

1. The Gruffalo's Child

Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler | 3+

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.

2. Spy Dog

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.

3. Skulduggery Pleasant

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.

4. The Famous Five

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.

5. Demon Dentist

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.

6. Goosebumps Series

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.

7. Coraline

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?

8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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.

9. Emil and the Detectives

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.

10. Holes

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.

  • EIL2 9 years +
    9 years +
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00Save 42.0000000000000005684341886080801486968994140625%
    Widely regarded as a modern classic of children's literature, and also the inspiration for a major film adaptation directed by Henry Selick, this is a special tenth anniversary edition of Coraline.

    Written by the bestselling Neil Gaiman, this edition comes complete with a new foreword from the author, as well as visually striking illustrations from Children's Laureate Chris Riddell.

    There's something strange about Coraline's new home, and it's not the constant mist or the cat that keeps watching her, it's the other house... The one behind the old door in the drawing room, where a mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin want Coraline to join them. But if Coraline steps through that door, she knows she may not come back...

    A gripping and dark contemporary fairy tale with just the right amount of creepiness.
  • 6DOG 5 years +
    5 years +
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    Andrew Cope's special agent, Lara, is a spy with a difference. The difference is: she's a dog! In Spy Dog, Lara has been told to go undercover as a normal dog with a family because her last mission put her in danger from an evil drugs baron. Lara is a fabulous canine heroine and her adventures are perfect for building the confidence of newly independent readers. Boy and girl readers of five years and above will be captivated by Lara and her adventures.

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
  • DWAL 9 years +
    9 years +
    • £4.99
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    Following on from the success of Mr Stink, Gangsta Granny and his three other bestselling children's novels, Little Britain actor, comedian, fundraiser and talented author David Walliams returns with Demon Dentist.

    Another jaw-achingly funny read, this time a cloud of darkness has come to town. Children who put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy are waking up to find dead slugs, live spiders and earwigs underneath. Someone or something evil is lurking, but who or what is it?

    With Tony Ross' hilarious illustrations once again featured throughout and a hint of Roald Dahl-style macabre humour, this is a funny but heart-warming book that will make parents laugh just as much as children.

    David Walliams' Demon Dentist has been named the winner of the Red House Children's Book Award 2015 Younger Readers category.
  • CHI2 3 years +
    3 years +
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    The Gruffalo's Child introduces more magical rhyming fun from Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler.

    The award-winning team have created an enchanting sequel to The Gruffalo with a bold and naughty character who goes in search of a big, bad mouse.

    Young readers will love the cleverness of the cunning mouse and the cute and impulsive mini Gruffalo. Perfect for youngsters from 3+.
  • The Famous Five Collection - 22 Books - Collection - 9781444936278 - Enid Blyton
    FFCC 7 years +
    7 years +
    • £22.00
    • RRP £153.78
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    • Just £1.00 per book
    With mysteries, adventure and lashings of ginger beer, The Famous Five have entertained generations of young readers. In fact, the books have never been out of print!

    Here, in a keepsake box, you can enjoy all 22 novels that follow Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog as they visit some thrilling places and explore and uncover all sorts of secrets. To complete the set, there's a book of short stories about our favourite would-be detectives.

    From Kirrin Island to the lighthouse at Demon's Rocks and farms, castles, caves and secret passages galore, the gang outwit thieves, seek hidden treasure and encounter spook trains in their exciting journeys. Illustrated by Eileen Soper, this complete set of books shows how courage and determination can always help children achieve great things.

    Book People and Enid Blyton - A Lifetime of Adventure
    Format: paperback
  • R.L. Stine's Goosebumps Collection - 10 Books - Collection - 9781407179896 - R.L. Stine
    BUMP 9 years +
    9 years +
    • £9.99
    • RRP £49.90
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    • Just £1.00 per book
    Prepare for your children to be sleeping with the lights on... our latest 10-book Goosebumps collection is sure to give them the creeps!

    R.L. Stine's spooky books have sold over 400 million copies worldwide and have helped to ensure generations are terrified of ventriloquist's dummies... following the success of the film starring Jack Black, the books have been brought to a whole new audience and here are 10 adventures that are twisted, funny and rather dark. They'll be top of every child's reading list.

    This collection features the classic Night of the Living Dummy alongside other memorable titles including Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes and The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena. Great books for encouraging a love of reading, will your kids dare to read through all 10?
  • HOZ2 11 years +
    Louis Sachar
    11 years +
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    Award-winning author Louis Sachar is a terrific storyteller who always has an original and interesting perspective.

    Holes tells the story of Stanley Yelnats, whose family has a history of bad luck. Stanley's not too surprised when he's sent to a juvenile detention centre in Texas for a crime he didn't commit, but even he can't believe that all he and the other boys have to do is dig holes all day.

    Before long, Stanley realises that what he must actually uncover is the truth... Readers from 11+ who love a good story will find this totally unputdownable.
  • ETD2 10 years +
    10 years +
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    Emil and the Detectives was written by Erich Kastner more than 80 years ago but this classic book continues to delight generations of children.

    Emil is sent to Berlin with money to give to his grandmother, but the money is stolen by a stranger on the train. Undeterred by being stranded without money in an unfamiliar area of Berlin, Emil is determined to track down the thief.

    A gang of children gather to help him, and their adventures will capture and enthral readers from 9+.
  • KGY2 11 years +
    11 years +
    • £4.49
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £2.50Save 34.99999999999999914734871708787977695465087890625%
    Skulduggery Pleasant is the first volume in Derek Landy's series about a skeleton detective and his assistant, 12-year-old Stephanie Valkyrie.

    Stephanie's uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn't fiction. Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source - the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard. Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing's for sure: evil won't know what's hit it.

    Winner of the Red House Children's Book Award, Landy mixes up magic, fantasy and adventure and tops them off with sparky dialogue and lots of jokes. A perfect choice for readers aged 11+ who are waiting to get sucked into a book they can't put down!
  • ALBSU 9 years +
    9 years +
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    When Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole, she finds herself in an enchanted world, filled with creatures like the Mad Hatter, the disappearing Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts. Alice quickly finds out that nothing is as it seems in the wild world of Wonderland...