Classic Mystery Series for Young Mystery Lovers

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mystery series

“Look! A clue!” my friend yelled across the carnival ride. We were on different seats on the Scrambler looking for clues!

We were determined to solve our own mystery at the church carnival and our pastor had actually let us try! He had smiled with delight when we told him the clues we found. Maybe he was a mystery lover, too.

Yes, I read too many Nancy Drew books as a child. Of course, you can guess, my children grew up loving mysteries, too.

Why Children Love Mystery Series

Like most popular series, children love reading books about characters they love. It’s so thrilling to have those characters come back book after book.

Beyond characters, children love the adventure in a mystery, especially one where children are the main characters. That could happen to me, too, they imagine. Children enjoy following clues and being tricked by red herrings. Reading a mystery is like playing a game where you can win if you guess who did it.

Are Mysteries Worth Reading?

Mystery series like the Three Cousins Detective series and Bobbsey Twins series were great for my young readers. They read book after book until they have read them all. Meanwhile, they were sharpening their reading skills.

Yes, some of the books like Nancy Drew are formulaic, so I wouldn’t recommend a reading diet of only mystery books, but they are great for free reading time and help students become fluid readers.

Mysteries at every age also build logic skills and the children never even know it’s happening.

Classic Mystery Series

I’m not a fan of many of the modern mystery series because of the disrespect to parents among other things, but I can recommend some classic mystery series. We have all these books in our house and my children grew up reading and loving them.

Make sure you get the older version of these books. When books are updated, vocabulary is simplified, and negative behaviors and attitudes are added.

For the Younger Set (New Readers)

Three Cousins Detective Clubseries by Elspeth Campbell Murphy This is a Christian series written in the 1980s and 1990s.

Bobbsey Twins series by Laura Lee Hope, written 1904-1979 about two sets of twins

Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, newer series written 1972-2002, but all I’ve read are wholesome.

Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erikson, Christian series set on a ranch in Texas.

For the Younger & Older Set

Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol, first published in 1963

Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner, first published in 1924.

For the Older Set

Adventures in the Northwoods Mysteries by Lois Walfrid Johnson, a Christian series about a Swedish family living on a farm in Wisconsin at turn of twentieth century.

Mandie Mysteries by Lois Gladys Johnson, a Christian series about a girl who lives in the backwoods of North Carolina at turn of twentieth century.

Sugar Creek Gang Mysteries by Paul Hutchens, a Christian series about loveable boys who learn more about God through their adventures in a small town in Indiana.

Trixie Belden Mysteries by Julie Campbell or Kathryn Kenny, Trixie lives on a farm with her three brothers and her best friend lives in a mansion next door.

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene, published 1930-1979. Nancy can do anything!

Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon, published 1927-1973, sons of a private detective/former NYPD officer.

Free Lists & Books

You can download two free eBooks here: The Boxcar Children (first in series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner and The Bobbsey Twins (first in series) by Laura Lee Hope.

Download your FREE copies of Young Readers Classic Mystery Series List, Boxcar Children List, Children’s Classic Mystery Series List, and Classic Mystery List on our Free Reading List Page.

Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,


Meredith Curtis


Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author ofWho Dun It Mystery Literature & Writing Course(high school) and the Maggie King Cozy Mystery series(Drug Dealers Deadly Disguise, Legend of the Candy Cane Murder, War of the Roses Mystery, and Murder in the Mountains), about a homeschool mom sleuth. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at Read her blogs at ( ) and and listen to her podcast at Finish Well Radio

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).