I will never forget the book that got me hooked on mysteries. When I was probably 12 years old, I read a book called The Ninth Guest and I remember it vividly. I loved that book! I am sure that it is out of print now, but I remember how gripping it was, that I couldn’t put it down, and that I was dying to know whodunnit. I wonder if I can get my hands on that book and give it a re-read, just to see what I think of it now, 30 years later!!
After The Ninth Guest, I read every Agatha Christie novel (And Then There Were None was my favorite!), tried a few Sherlock Holmes (was not a big fan), read The Maltese Falcon, and moved on to more contemporary mysteries. I have read everyone from Lawrence Block and Ed McBain to Lawrence Sanders, Robert B. Parker, Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly. Nothing I love better than a good mystery that I cannot figure out until the very end.
In reading for this website I have been pleasantly surprised to get my hands on more than a few great mysteries for tweens and teens. Most recently I read The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk, which I did not realize was a murder mystery until (surprise!), a main character plummets to his death! This was a fantastic first novel featuring a deaf 16-year old male character and it was written with wit and sarcasm and provided great insight into the hearing-impaired issues of a hearing impaired kid trying to make it in a mainstream high school. Not only was it a fun mystery, keeping the reader guessing as to who killed the star quarterback, but it had so much more to it than that.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Reality Check by Peter Abrahams, the 2010 winner of the Edgar Award for young adult literature. This book was every bit as good as any of the mysteries I have read that were intended for adults. Peter also writes for the younger crowd, and I have just ventured into the Echo Falls Mysteries he writes and I am most entertained.
For those in the younger set, there are so many fun choices: The Red Blazer Girls, The London Eye Mystery, The Name of This Book is Secret. For those slightly older: All Unquiet Things, Bad Kitty, Saving Zoe.
I urge you to get some age appropriate mysteries in the hands of your youngsters, as they just may enjoy a life-long love affair with this genre. What type of mystery will be the one that hooks your reader? A humorous, silly and fun one? A “keep you up all night”, scary and suspenseful one? A sports mystery? Who knows? Give it a try, see what happens!