Usually, our “One for You and One for Me” posts feature a piece of children’s literature and an adult book, so the big and little people of the family can be reading something similar. This summer, we noticed that there are two great new series for those of us who love solving mysteries, but one is for middle graders, and the other is for the younger set. As always, there is crossover in ages, and the interest in both series is high, so. . .the game is afoot!
For Middle Schoolers:
Murder is Bad Manners (A Wells and Wong Mystery) by Robin Stevens
Daisy Wells, a young student at Deepdean School for Girls, fancies herself a “modern-day” (though it is set in the 1930’s) Sherlock Holmes. Hazel, Daisy’s best friend also loves a good mystery, so is perfect as her friend’s Watson. They decide to form their own detective agency. The only problem? No mysteries to solve. Until they discover a murder no one else knows about! In the course of their investigation, Hazel–a bit of an outsider, recently relocated from Hong Kong, and Daisy–a very confident blonde Brit–become close friends despite tensions along the way. It reminds me of Agatha Christie in its classic detective writing, maybe even a little bit of a satire. At the same time, there is plenty of humor and clever plot devices. And if it does strike your fancy, you can dig right into the second in the series, Poison is Not Polite.
For Early Elementary Readers:
Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nillson, illustrated by Gitte Spee
Detective Gordon’s favorite thing is to sip tea and eat cakes. Solving mysteries: not so much. But as the only policeman in the forest, he agrees to tackle the case of the squirrel’s missing stockpile of nuts. Detective Gordon is a delightful character, a chubby toad who is both clever and kind. He soon deputizes a hungry young mouse who has been stealing food. Buffy, as he names her, is an invaluable help and together they find the criminals. The text is enhanced by lovely pastel drawings. I’ve heard it describes as “Wind in the Willows” meets “Columbo” meets “Crime and Punishment.” Intrigued? Introduce it to your young readers! And then, give them book number 2, A Complicated Case.