Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Mystery & Suspense

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

Cover image for The charmed children of Rookskill CastleSomething is terribly wrong at the castle.  Is  it haunted by ghosts?  Is it a secret hideout for Nazi spies?  Or is it under the control of an evil witch?  Twelve-year-old Kat and her siblings have been sent to boarding school in the castle in order to avoid the bombing in London.  But when the students start disappearing, Kat is worried that the children may be in even more danger than if they had stayed in London.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

Finders Keepers by Shelly Tougas

Cover image for Finders keepersTen year old Christa loves her family’s cabin in Wisconsin but because of hard times, her family is going to sell it, leaving her without her favorite summer place! Fortunately, she and her friend, Adam, have wonderful imaginations and learn some stories about Al Capone and his stash of cash which is possibly hidden right under their noses. This book is about her search for this fortune and her quest to save the family summer home.

Trying to solve this mystery proves to be more dangerous than they could have ever imagined and her friends and loved ones are at risk.

I recommend this book for 4th-5th grade fans of mystery and adventure that enjoy a touch of humor, friendship and family sprinkled in.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Bowling Alley Bandit by Laurie Keller

Cover image for Bowling alley banditArnie is a pet “doughnut dog.” His owner, Mr. Bing, was hoping to eat him for breakfast, but when Arnie started talking he knew he had to come up with something else to do with his doughnut. He’s exactly the kind of pet you might like to have: he tells jokes, does impressions, and most people think he’s adorable. In this book, Arnie tries to figure out why Mr. Bing keeps rolling gutter balls in his championship bowling match. Together with his friends, a pizza slice, the karaoke lady, and some bowling balls and pins, Arnie will discover if someone is trying to sabotage the game. Along the way there will be songs, dancing, and lucky pink sprinkles galore! If you are a new chapter book reader, and love laughs and silliness, pick up The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut:Bowling Alley Bandit.

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Tru & Nelle by G. Neri

Cover image for Tru & Nelle : a novelWhen Nelle and Tru first meet, they don’t seem to have much in common.  Nelle’s a tomboy, and Tru likes fancy clothes.   It’s their mutual love of mysteries that brings them together.  Soon they have formed their own detective agency and are off solving cases and having adventures.  One particularly funny scheme involves a plan to make money using a monster fish, a two-headed chicken, and pickled baby pig.  Things don’t go quite as planned when the two-headed chicken escapes, knocking the dead piglet onto the minister’s wife’s feet, causing her to faint.  Needless to say, no money was made that day.

Tru & Nelle is based on the childhood friendship of the famous writers Truman Capote and Harper Lee. I highly recommend this book for readers who like historical fiction, mysteries, and stories about friendship.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head

Inspector Flytrap and the Big Deal Mysteries by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell

Cover image for Inspector FlytrapInspector Flytrap is a venus flytrap (that’s a plant that eats insects) on a skateboard, who solves mysteries with the help of his sidekick, Nina the Goat. They only take “Big Deal” mysteries, like the case of a mysterious blob on a famous painting or a single giant stinky shoe! This book has mysteries that need to be solved, but also a lot of funny parts like Nina eating everything in sight or the mysteries too small for Inspector Flytrap to take.  The first in the Inspector Flytrap series is a fun and quick read, especially for someone just starting to read chapter books. You might also like it if you’ve read other books by Tom Angleberger (like Origami Yoda) or Cece Bell (like El Deafo). The second in the series is already out, so there’s a lot to enjoy!

Book reviewed by Claire B., Youth Outreach Librarian

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst

Cover image for Lulu's mysterious missionHave your parents ever gone on vacation without you?!? In Lulu’s Mysterious Mission, Lulu’s parents have decided to leave her home with “the best babysitter in town—maybe the world—,” Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinksy. Lulu doesn’t agree with any of this, so she comes up with several plans to try to get rid of the stern babysitter. Nothing seems to work, and it’s not until Lulu tries to blackmail Ms. Solinsky that she learns this trained professional babysitter is also a retired spy—code name Triple S—and Lulu’s dream is to be a spy when she grows up. Luckily for her, Triple S agrees to teach Lulu tricks of the trade as long as Lulu is obedient and keeps the spy training a secret. Can Lulu follow through with the deal? And what will happen when her parents finally return from their vacation?

Book reviewed by Dana F., Assistant Head of Youth Services

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

Cover image for Space caseTransport yourself to Earth Year 2041 in Space Case by Stuart Gibbs. After months of living inside Moon Base Alpha, Earth’s first human colony on the moon, twelve-year-old Dash Gibson has some choice words to say about his experience:  “Life in outer space sucks. Trust me, I know.” The furniture is inflatable and uncomfortable, the food is iffy, and the faraway toilets clog…A LOT.  He’s resigned to the fact that he’s stuck there until his scientist parents have completed their assignments, so he deals with the monotony until a 2 a.m. bathroom run pulls him into a serious mystery involving the death of the base physician. He decides to investigate the death with the help of friends. What else will he do in this boring place? Crack open this quirky mystery and you too can travel to Moon Base Alpha.

Book reviewed by Amy M., Youth Services Assistant

The Disappearance of Emily H. by Barrie Summy

Cover image for The disappearance of Emily H.Raine is the new girl at school, and she is living in the house Emily H. lived in before she disappeared. What happened to Emily? Do the mean girls know something? Raine has the ability to see “sparkles” on objects, so when she touches them, she can see what happened. Is Emily still alive? Will Raine be able to find her? This is a thrilling mystery that will keep you wanting to know more and find out what happened to Emily.

Book reviewed by Anne W., Youth Services Assistant

10 Little Insects by Davide Cali 

Cover image for 10 little insects10 Little Insects by Davide Cali is a graphic novel parody of Agatha Christie’s 10 Little Indians (also titled And Then There Were None). Even if you haven’t read that, you may still recognize this classic mystery formula. A bunch of people, or in this case bugs, are invited to a mansion for the weekend. Each has been lured there for a different reason and once there, they begin dying mysteriously one by one. The surviving insects work together to solve the mystery of which one of them is the killer and the real reason why they have all been brought there. I would recommend this for kids who like graphic novels, mysteries, and have an off-the wall sense of humor. The comic panels work particularly well for throwing in a lot of extra jokes!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Cover image for Greenglass HouseIt’s the middle of winter at Greenglass House, a smuggler’s inn on the side of a steep hill.  The only way up is a creaky old cable car or a long hike up the stairs.  The house used to belong to the famous smuggler Doc Holliday, who disappeared mysteriously some years ago.   Twelve-year old Milo thinks he will spend a relaxing vacation snowed in with just the owners (his parents), because who would want to stay at the hotel at this time of year?  Wrong!  Guests begin arriving out of nowhere, each one with their own secret agenda, turning Milo’s quiet holiday into chaos. Strange things begin to happen.  Milo finds a mysterious nautical map.  Who does it belong to and where does it lead?   Then items begin disappearing from the guests’ rooms.  Now it is up to Milo and his friend Meddy to follow the clues to find the thief and discover the secrets of the Greenglass House.

Book reviewed by Mary S., Youth Services Department Head