Top Five Detective Stories for Children - Katherine Woodfine

Katherine Woodfine - author of The Taylor & Rose Secret Agents series - shares five recommendations for children who love detective fiction.

The London Eye Mystery

Siobhan Dowd

Ted and his sister Kat watch their cousin Salim climb aboard the London Eye. But when his pod returns to the ground and the doors open, Salim has completely vanished. Where could Salim have gone? Has he been kidnapped — or worse? With the police baffled by his disappearance, it’s down to Ted to use his unique abilities to solve the mystery — following a trail of clues that lead across London, with Kat’s help. Starring a brilliant young detective, Siobhan Dowd’s ‘howdunnit’ is a real classic, which will keep you gripped from beginning to end.

First Class Murder

Robin Stevens

Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike mystery series brilliantly evokes the golden age murder mysteries of the 1930s: intrepid schoolgirl detectives Daisy and Hazel piece together clues, investigate suspects, assess crime scenes and bring murderers to justice — with plenty of bunbreaks along the way. First Class Murder is one of my favourites in the series, incorporating a clever ‘locked room’ mystery and a glamorous railway journey, in a delightful tribute to Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. 

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase

Jonathan Stroud

I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Stroud’s brilliantly spooky and suspenseful series about paranormal detectives Lockwood & Co. Set in an alternate London plagued by terrifying supernatural forces, it will send genuine shivers up your spine. In the first book, The Screaming Staircase, Lucy Carlyle finds a job at Lockwood & Co, a psychic detective agency run by the mysterious Anthony Lockwood. But can his ramshackle gang of young ghost-hunters survive the night in one of the most haunted houses in England?

Dead Man’s Cove

Lauren St John

11-year-old Laura moves to live with her uncle in Cornwall, where she soon discovers mystery is in store. Why won’t her uncle let her go to Dead Man’s Cove? Who has left a secret message in a bottle for Laura to find? The award-winning first book in Lauren St John’s Laura Marlin series is an absolute delight. It has all the ingredients of a classic children’s mystery story: friendship, adventure, a seaside setting and of course, a loyal dog.

High Rise Mystery

Sharna Jackson

When their art teacher is mysteriously murdered during the summer holiday, sisters Nik and Norva turn detective to solve the case and find his killer. With a modern-day urban setting in a high-rise block, this entertaining whodunnit will keep you turning the pages. A sequel, Mic-Drop, sees the smart and curious young sleuths investigate the suspicious death of a pop-star — and I hope there will be lots more mysteries to come for Norva and Nik.

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Villains in Venice

Katherine Woodfine & Karl James Mountford

Katherine's own international detective series, Taylor and Rose: Secret Agents,  is a popular choice with fans of detective fiction. Find out more about the latest instalment on our blog. 

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Top Five Medieval Stories for Children - Barbara Henderson Barbara Henderson - author of The Seige of Caerlaverock - shares five recommendations for children's books about the Middle Ages  The Book of Boy Catherine Gilbert Murdock Suitable for upper primary, this charming story retains plenty of suspense until the very end. It has a compelling narrator, a mysterious stranger and an impossible mission. It also has one of the best twists of any children’s books I know of. The Middle Ages are evoked in so many ways: language, settings and characters – but never do these things become a barrier to a modern reader connecting with the story. Just fabulous. Buy Online Avoid Being in a Medieval Castle! (Danger Zone) Jacqueline Morley & David Antram This text is an accessible, heavily illustrated and humorous take on life in the Middle Ages and I love the whole Danger Zone series. It will appeal to fans of Horrible Histories and to young readers who will learn without realising that they are learning. An excellent introduction to the topic, enabling children to imagine themselves in a medieval castle. Buy Online King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table Roger Lancelyn Green The granddaddy of them all – what medieval knights and castle game is not inspired in some way by Arthurian legend? This is a compelling collection of the best known Arthurian tales, retold for children and suitable for Upper Primary school. Buy Online Dragons Can't Swim: Book 1 (Knight in Training) Vivian French All the Knight in Training books are excellent, entertaining and exciting young readers in equal measure. The dream team of Vivian French and illustrator David Melling weave their ample magic here: Sam J. Butterbiggins' only ambition is to be a Very Noble Knight, but he has been packed off to the castle next door. Now he has to put up with his annoying cousin Prune, and the weird creatures his aunt looks after in her Luxury Accommodation for Dragons, Griffins and other Regal Beasts! Buy Online See Inside Castles Katie Daynes & David Hancock Usborne sure know how to do a great line in lift the flap books with innumerable interesting facts and insights. The illustrations really sing here, with plenty of detail to be discovered by young 4-8 year-old readers (and their parents!). A joy! Buy Online -------------------------------------------------------- The Siege of Caerlaverock Barbara Henderson Barbara's own medieval story, The Siege of Caerlaverock,  is set in Scotland in 1300. Ada’s castle home is under attack. Rocks and flaming arrows rain from the sky as Ada has a dangerous choice to make. Who will survive the siege of Caerlaverock? Find out more on our blog.

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