The Return of the Young Detective

‘The young detective genre has been making a comeback over the last few years.’

The Return of the Young Detective
By Kirsten Graham, Marketing, Floris Books

As a child, I loved a good mystery story. As a nineties kid, the proper classics like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys were a bit old fashioned for me, but I remember my mum trying to persuade me of the merits of both. An Enid Blyton box set on my birthday one year got me hooked on the adventures of The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, and while I never understood why ginger beer was their beverage of choice, I loved the independence and the freedom that the central characters had, allowing them to take matters into their own hands, rather than relying on adults to solve the mystery.

And that, I think, is why the young detective genre has been making a comeback in children’s literature over the last few years. For children to read about people their own age outsmarting the adults and solving the case brings a sense of empowerment that helps them to become more confident individuals.

From Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort, it seems that there is once again a young detective to match the interests of any child.

Here at Kelpies HQ, we’re fully embracing the trend, with three brand new young detective series debuting in 2017. Read on to meet your new favourite detectives!

Top-Secret Grandad and Me – David MacPhail

Since his dad literally did a vanishing act (he’s a magician), 12-year-old Jay Patel has turned detective. With the help of his grandad (who also happens to be possibly the world’s worst ghost), he’s on the case of a dead body that has vanished from the library of his Glasgow primary school.

Read this if you like quirky characters, wacky plot twists and plenty of silly, slapstick humour.

Top-Secret Grandad and Me: Death by Tumble Dryer (Book 1) is available now, and part of the Summer Reading Challenge 2018.

Look out for book 2, Death by Soup, in summer 2018!

The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries – Robert J. Harris

A ghostly lady in grey. The paw prints of a gigantic hound. This case can only be solved by the world’s greatest detective. No, not Sherlock Holmes!

Meet boy-detective Artie Conan Doyle, the real brains behind Sherlock Holmes. In the first book in the series, Artie and his best friend Ham uncover the secrets of the sinister Gravediggers’ Club and soon they find themselves pitted against the villainous Colonel Braxton Dash. Will Artie survive his encounters with graveyards and ghosts in the foggy streets of nineteenth century Edinburgh – or will his first case be his last?

Read this if you like sharp, witty dialogue and want a thrilling introduction to the world of Sherlock Holmes, with a nod to the originals.

Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers’ Club (Book 1) is available now. Look out for book 2, Artie Conan Doyle and the Vanishing Dragon, in March 2018.

You might also enjoy this article, ‘Writing for the Young Protagnonist’, by Robert J Harris here.

Museum Mystery Squad – Mike Nicholson




Some people think that museums are boring places full of glass cases, dust and stuff no one cares about: wrong! In a hidden headquarters below the exhibits there’s a gang ready to handle dangerous, spooky or just plain weird problems: the Museum Mystery Squad.

Techie-genius Nabster, mile-a-minute Kennedy and sharp-eyed Laurie (along with Colin the hamster!) tackle the surprising conundrums happening at the museum. From pre-historic creatures that move and secret Egyptian codes to missing treasure and strange messages from the past, there’s no brain-twisting, totally improbable puzzle the Squad can’t solve.

Read this if you like zany illustrations, weird and wonderful facts, and interactive puzzles and activities throughout the story.

Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Moving Mammoth (book 1), Hidden Heiroglyphics (book 2) and Curious Coins (book 3) are out now.

Look out for book 4, Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Roman Riddle, in April 2018 – it’s also part of the Summer Reading Challenge 2018.

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