Best Selling Children's Books - Mysteries, Espionage, & Detectives

Discover best selling children's books - mysteries, espionage, & detectives from local library. Read book reviews and check book availability from public library with one click.

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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release date: Aug 03, 2004
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The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt)
A haunting gothic tale by master mysery writer John Bellairs--soon to be a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett and Jack Black!

"The House With a Clock in Its Walls will cast its spell for a long time."--The New York Times Book Review


When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan. comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both magicians! Lewis is thrilled. At first, watchng magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Serenna Izard. It seems that Serenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls--a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can stop it!
release date: May 09, 2000
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Holes (Holes Series)

Winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award! This #1 New York Times bestselling, modern classic in which boys are forced to dig holes day in and day out is now available with a splashy new look.

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

Includes a double bonus: an excerpt from Small Steps, the follow-up to Holes, as well as an excerpt from Louis Sachar’s new middle-grade novel, Fuzzy Mud.

"A smart jigsaw puzzle of a novel." --The New York Times 

WINNER OF THE BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK AWARD
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NOTABLE CHILDREN'S BOOK
SELECTED FOR NUMEROUS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR AND ALA HONORS 

release date: Sep 01, 1990
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The Boxcar Children Books 1-4
The paperback editions of The Boxcar Children Mysteries: #1, The Boxcar Children; #2, Surprise Island; #3, The Yellow House Mystery; and #4, Mystery Ranch are offered together in a cardboard case.

release date: Apr 10, 2018
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Trapped in a Video Game (Book 1)
Age Level: 8-12

Kids who love video games will love this first installment of the new 5-book series about 12-year old Jesse Rigsby and his wild adventures inside different video games.

Jesse Rigsby hates video games - and for good reason. You see, a video game character is trying to kill him. After getting sucked in the new game Full Blast with his friend Eric, Jesse starts to see the appeal of vaporizing man-size praying mantis while cruising around by jet pack. But pretty soon, a mysterious figure begins following Eric and Jesse, and they discover they can't leave the game. If they don't figure out what's going on fast, they'll be trapped for good!

Fun, relevant, and action-packed Trapped in a Video Game is the perfect book to get kids off screens and into books! Included in this edition is a bonus More to Explore section that teaches computer programming concepts through a fun game.
release date: May 22, 2018
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Legend of the Star Runner: A Timmi Tobbson Adventure (Solve-Them-Yourself Mysteries for Kids 8-12)
Ages 8-12 Chapter Book Short Attention Spans Video Preview Below

"With the exuberance of a caper, determined protagonists, and a message steeped in family legacy, this is a splendid homage to adventure." - FOREWORD MAGAZINE - 5 out of 5

Unravel 'solve-them-yourself picture mysteries' and uncover the Legend of the Star Runner!

Following the clues concealed within a centuries-old family legacy, Timmi Tobbson and his friends hope to save a dear friend. But only twenty-four hours remain to unravel the legend of a long-lost pirate ship, buried somewhere deep beneath the city streets. Unbeknownst to them, their search awakens a mystical dark power, sworn to protect what is hidden on board the once famous Star Runner.

Mysteries to Solve

The adventure is divided into 31 concise chapters, each of which ends with a puzzle to be solved by finding and interpreting visual clues concealed within a beautiful color illustration. Suited for explorers and sleuths young and old. Children under 8 years may need assistance in solving some of the puzzles. Grade level: 3rd and up.

Beautiful Color Illustrations

Legend of the Star Runner gives readers the best of both worlds, merging the visual appeal of a graphic novel with text-based storytelling's power to spark imagination.

Fun Facts

The illustrations of most Timmi Tobbson characters were inspired by actors and/or their fictional characters from well-known movies.
  • Marvin was inspired by Gaten Matarazzo's performance as Dustin in Stranger Things.
  • Sir London was inspired by Christopher Lloyd's interpretation of Dr. Emmet Brown in Back to the Future.
  • Lotterlulu was inspired by Johnny Depp's character Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean as well as Dustin Hoffman's performance in Hook.
  • The Guardian was inspired by the looks of American actor, director and producer Danny DeVito.
  • Lilli's Grandpa was inspired by Sir Sean Connery's portrayal of the father of Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade.

Psst: This book contains a puzzle which is unrelated to the story and involves all thirty-one main illustrations.

Shelve under:
  • mystery books for kids 9-12
  • mystery books for kids 8-10
  • adventure books for boys
  • adventure books for girls
  • chapter books for kids age 9-12
  • chapter books for kids age 8-10
  • graphic novels kids
  • books for intermediate readers
  • books for reluctant readers
  • solve riddles, solve puzzles, solve mysteries
  • crack the case like a sleuth
  • choose your own adventure books for kids 9-12
  • choose your own adventure books for kids 8-10
Especially for fans of:
  • Adventures of the Black Hand Gang
  • Gravity Falls
  • Get a Clue
  • Captain Underpants
  • A to Z Mysteries
  • Dog Man
  • Boxcar Children
  • Encyclopedia Brown
  • Hardy Boys
  • Ballpark Mysteries
  • Seek and Find / Hidden Pictures
  • Video Games Featuring Exploration
  • Video Games Featuring Puzzle Solving
  • Point and Click Adventure Games
release date: Oct 02, 2018
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Spy School Goes South
Ben is taken to Mexico by his nemesis in the hopes that he’ll finally be able to take down SPYDER in this latest addition to the New York Times bestselling Spy School series.

Thirteen-year-old Ben Ripley has been caught in the snares of SPYDER more than once and knows well enough to be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true—despite needing special tutoring in advanced survival techniques. So when Murray Hill finally breaks his silence with an offer to hand over the SPYDER elite, Ben knows that there must be something going on. But his hesitation doesn’t stop the assignment.

The Mission: Follow Murray Hill to an undisclosed location with no one else but Erica Hale to identify SPYDER leadership. Once found, contact the CIA to sweep in and finish the job. DO NOT CONTACT SPYDER DIRECTLY.

However, as Ben suspected, nothing goes as planned, and what should be an easy mission quickly turns deadly. Now, Ben and Erica will have to face rogue agents, trained killers, and even very hungry crocodiles in a race against the clock to find out what SPYDER is up to this time—and thwart their evil plans.
release date: Oct 18, 2007
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Encyclopedia Brown Box Set (4 Books)
Perfect for aspiring sleuths--master crime-solver Encyclopedia Brown lets you crack the cases along with him!

A set of the first four books in the classic mystery series starring everyone's favorite boy detective Encyclopedia Brown! Whether Encyclopedia is solving cases for his neighborhood friends or his chief-of-police dad, he always has an intriguing mystery to crack. 
Set includes: Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective; Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret Pitch; Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues; and Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man
release date: Dec 27, 2005
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Hoot
This Newbery Honor-winning, hilarious Floridian adventure involves new kids, bullies, alligators, eco-warriors, pancakes, pint-sized owls, and more. A New York Times bestseller!

Everybody loves Mother Paula’s pancakes. Everybody, that is, except the colony of cute but endangered owls that live on the building site of the new restaurant. Can the awkward new kid and his feral friend prank the pancake people out of town? Or is the owls’ fate cemented in pancake batter?

“A wonderful tour de-force.” —The Boston Globe
 
“A rollicking, righteous story.” —The Miami Herald
 
“Yes, it is a hoot.”—The Washington Post


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: Oct 03, 2017
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The Mysterious Benedict Society Complete Paperback Collection
A gorgeous paperback gift set of the New York Times bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society books as well as the prequel novel and the companion puzzle book, all featuring fresh, updated covers!

Catch up on the adventures of the Mysterious Benedict Society with this paperback boxed set, which includes the three original books in the New York Times bestselling series: The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma, as well as the prequel, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, and the must-have companion puzzle book, The Mysterious Benedict Society: Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums.

Filled with page-turning action and mind-bending brain teasers, and each with a fresh new cover design, these wildly inventive journeys are sure to delight new and old fans alike.
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