I’ve been asked a few times lately what sort of books I could recommend for children or young adults interested in reading Cozy Mysteries. Though I wrote an article on mystery books for pre-teens a few years ago, I thought it might be interesting to take another look at some of the more popular mystery authors (both Cozy Mystery and some not so Cozy) who write mystery series for adults and also write mysteries for children and young adults. This time I’ll be going into a bit more detail than in my previous post instead of making a longer list.
As a note for the recommended ages I list in these articles, I unfortunately have not had the time to read any of them so this is going off the synopsis and what other people have recommended to me. Don’t just take my word for it if you are worried about exposing your child to potentially rough concepts!
First up, Harlan Coben is an author who doesn’t deal with Cozies so much, however I enjoyed reading his Myron Bolitar series as it was being released. He also has a young adult mystery series worth investigating, the Mickey Bolitar Mystery Series. Mickey’s already been through a lot by the beginning of his first book, Shelter, which was nominated for both the Agatha Awards for Best Children/Young Adults mysteries as well as the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult mysteries. In Shelter, Mickey’s father has died and his mother is in rehab, leaving him with his Uncle Myron. When his girlfriend Ashley unexpectedly disappears, he decides he’s had enough, and sets out to find her on his own if necessary. Though less cozy than many of the series, I’ve had this one recommended several times. This series might be a bit more advanced as it deals with some sensitive issues such as drug addiction, and is likely more appropriate for high-schoolers.
Amanda Flower (aka Isabella Alan) was recently nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Children/Young Adult mystery for Andi Unexpected, the first book in her Andi Boggs Mystery Series. After the death of their parents, Andi and her sister Bethany are forced to move to the family’s old homestead in Ohio to live with their aunt. When Andi discovers an old trunk in the attic containing relics of another Andora Boggs from years ago, who apparently disappeared under mysterious circumstances, she decides to investigate and try to learn what happened to her relative – despite the fact that the townspeople seem to be covering it up for some reason. From what I’ve heard, this series should be well-suited to older elementary or middle schoolers.
Though John Grisham isn’t known for Cozy Mysteries, rather for the courtroom dramas and thrillers he writes, in more recent years Grisham has been branching out into chilren’s mysteries with his Theodore Boone Mystery Series beginning with Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. Grisham’s series stars 13 year old Theo Boone, a young man who wants nothing more than to grow up and become a trial lawyer. When Theo accidentally learns too much, he becomes the only hope to help put a killer behind bars for good. As with Grisham’s other works, the Theodore Boone series takes full advantage of Grisham’s strong understanding of the American legal system. This series appears to be aimed at middle schoolers. Oh, and it has been nominated for the Agatha Awards Best Children/Young Adults mysteries category.
Finally, Carl Hiaasen is a popular mystery author for adults with his Skink Mystery Series. His children books are all stand-alones rather than being organized into a single series. Hiaasen’s children’s mysteries have been nominated for the prestigious Agatha Awards Best Children/Young Adult mysteries, the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile mysteries, and he is a Newbery Honor winner. Most of Hiaasen’s children’s mysteries seems to be appropriate for 5th grad (10 year olds) and up.
I’ll probably be making a few more entries on this subject in the near future – there are still plenty more great mysteries suitable for children and young adults! For now, are there any child-friendly mystery series you might recommend? Be sure to leave a comment below!