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Classical Childrens Books

Great Detective Stories

Fictional Detectives from Classic Literature


Your young detective fans will not want to miss any of these great detective stories
for kids and teens.

detective cap

Grown Up Fictional Detectives

Realistic Stories of Adult Detectives

Sherlock Holmes

By Arthur Conan Doyle

Of course, the famous sleuth from 221 B. Baker Street is at the top of every list of great detective stories. His uncanny ability of deduction continuously surprises his sidekick, the humble Dr. Watson. While not all stories are appropriate for children, you can check out these Sherlock stories for kids.
All of the Sherlock Holmes stories are appropriate for teens and adults.

Read Sherlock Holmes Quotes, Projects, and Mysteries.

Sherlock Holmes Stories on Kindle




Father Brown

By G.K. Chesterton

Don't stop with Sherlock! Detective fans will have fun following clues with this kindly priest turned sleuth as he hunts down his arch-nemesis Flambeau (who later repents and joins the good father in the pursuit of justice.) Unlike Sherlock, Father Brown follows his intuition regarding human motivation rather than deductive reasoning.

Father Brown on Kindle




The Stolen White Elephant

By Mark Twain

My apologies to all serious students of detective literature for including this in our list. But no list of detective short stories would be complete without this silly satire of incompetent detectives looking for a "mislaid elephant."

Twain included this statement as a footnote to his story: "Left out of 'A Tramp Abroad' because it was feared that some of the particulars had been exaggerated and that others were not true. Before these suspicious had been proven groundless, the book had gone to press."

The Stolen White Elephant on Kindle




Around the World In Eighty Days

By Jules Verne

Middle School and Above

Okay, this is not strictly a detective story - but for lovers of detective stories who have to do a book report on classic literature - this ought to work. Phileas Fogg is a wealthy, predictable English gentleman who makes an absurb bet that he can travel around the world in 80 days. Has he lost his mind, or is he the notorious bank robber that Detective Fix is trailing. Follow Fogg and Fix to find out.

Teen Detectives

Enjoy series of teen detective stories: the sleuths are teenagers

detective cap

Nancy Drew

By Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew needs no introduction to fans of great detective stories. However, you might be interested to know that the series of this famous girl detective has gone through its own changes over the decades. We recommend reading some of the oldest stories (like the first, The Secret of the Old Clock). You can also try titles in the newer series and see which you enjoy the most. Of course, I tend to like the older books better as I think they have more action and charm.

Read more about the Nancy Drew series.

Available on Kindle




Trixie Belden

By Julie Campbell

While 13 year old Trixie may never have been as famous as Nancy, her 18 year old literary counter-part; however, I think many of her fans were much more devoted. (Okay, I'll admit I was one. We actually had a Trixie neighborhood reading club and bought the books eagerly as soon as they came off the press. But shhhhh, I don't want to date myself.)

For one thing, Trixie's hot headed personality and tendency to put her foot in her mouth was more humorous as well as realistic. And she and her cool friends had LOADS of fun, as well as dangerous adventures capturing criminals who just happened to cross her path in the small town of Sleepyside. Every pre-teen girl should read AT LEAST ONE of these mysteries - and I'll bet some new fans will be made.

Find out more about Trixie and her friends.

Trixie's on Kindle


The Hardy Boys

By Franklin Dixon

We can't let the girls have all the fun, can we? Male readers particularly will enjoy reading about the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy, as will girls who like mystery and detective stories. Follow the two brothers who have endless energy for helping others and solving mysteries. Continuously popular and translated into multiple languages, these are great books to introduce to boys who are looking for chapter books they will enjoy.

See more about the books in this series.

Hardy Boys Available On Kindle


Kid Detectives

Who Can Bring A New Perspective To Spying Better Than The Kids?

magnifying glass

Emil and the Detectives

By Erich Kastner

Set in Berlin, Germany 1920's
Originally written in German
A ten year old boy boards a train to Berlin to see his grandmother with his mother's savings in his pocket. When the money is stollen, he feels he cannot go to the police. But a group of a hundred kids act as detectives to find the money AND uncover a ring of theives.







Harriet the Spy

By Louise Fitzhugh

Humorous fiction
Harriet is a sixth grade detective - whose spying on her neighbors, classmates, and nanny gets her into trouble. But she gets out of it - only to find a new detective project in her next book.

Harriet On Kindle



Encyclopedia Brown

By Donald Sobol

No high-minded criminal or low-handed prankster can outsmart the fifth grade Encyclopedia Brown. Would you want to outsmart a kid named "Encyclopedia?" Your kids in 3rd and 4th grade can follow along as Encyclopedia solves all the riddles and rights all the wrongs in Idaville.






Nate the Great

By Marjorie Sharmat

Early Chapter Books
Almost a classic - the first Nate the Great books came out 40 year ago. Nate is an elementary school detective - probably about 2nd or 3rd grade. Large print and easy chapters make this a good book for early readers who want to join Nate on his hunts through the neighborhood to solve serious mysteries (like missing objects.) For those who can't get enough of Nate the Great, more than 25 other detective books are waiting to be read.






Cam Jansen

By David Adler

Cam's name is short for camera; because our young heroine's photographic memory allows her and her readers to solve mysteries that have the local detectives scratching their heads. More than 30 easy chapter books will get your primary grade readers confidently reading chapter books AND capturing criminals.






Key to the Treasure

Peggy Parish



This is the fictitious story of three siblings who find a mystery to solve while visiting their grandparents over the summer. After setting out to solve a family mystery with an old map, the treasure seekers encounter success. First published in 1964, this book has almost met the standard of 50 years in continuous publication.








Other Fictional Detectives

Blackstone The Magic Detective

1948 Radio Broadcast

15 minute broadcasts
Crimes are solved by Harry Blackstone, Sr, a popular real-life magician in the 1940's. These stories are fictitious accounts of crimes that were solved using magic.

The stories were also available in comic book form - now a hard to find collector's relic.






Carmen Sandiego

By Houghton Mifflin

Computer Games, Software, DVD
Okay, we will admit this is neither a classic (1985) or a book. Instead, it is an educational series that teaches history, geography, and now math; as detectives follow the villain Carmen Sandiego all over the world. While we are not recommending this as literature, for your youngsters who are detective fans (and/or computer game fans) Carmen may be a great way to increase their knowledge of math or geography. You will both have fun chasing her down.




Detective Hat

detective hat



Put on your detective hat and see if you can become a top notch spy.

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