Monday, October 12, 2009

Genres Through the Ages Spotlight: Mysteries

Out of all the different genres around today there are a few that can cover such a wide reading audience like mysteries can. From the time that you start to read, and on into adult books you can always be assured of a mystery book for your age group. In this post I will cover the best picks for any mystery or book lover.

Ages: 4-8

Spotlight Series: Nate The Great
Author:Marjorie Sharmat

Pint-sized Sherlock Holmes Nate, and his faithful dog Sludge never say no to a mystery. Following clues, using the third person, and running into such quirky characters like Rosemund, and her black cats, Nate's adventures are great fun for children just starting out. There are 25 titles in the series.
Other Mystery series for ages 4-8 to enjoy: A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy and John Steven Gurney, Jigsaw Jones by James Preller and Young Cam Jansen by David A. Adler

Ages: 9-12

Spotlight Series: The Boxcar Children and Encyclopedia Brown
Author: Gertrude Chandler Warner and Donald J. Sobol

The Boxcar Children I must confess, is where my love of mysteries started. My older sister would read them to me, and I would wait in excited anticipation for the four Alden children to solve another case. Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden, are orphans running away from a grandfather they don't even know. They seek shelter in an abandoned boxcar. If that doesn't spell adventure for children, nothing will. (; What follows is a great collection of books full of the Alden children stumbling upon a mystery and never giving up until the end, going up against a slew of scheming adults. I always loved that about this series. There are 19 original titles by Gertrude Chandler Warner and 121(and counting) titles all together by ghostwriters, and 21 special mysteries in the series.

Like his nickname suggest Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown is nothing short of a child prodigy. He even solves crimes his police father can't figure out. These are great books because they have clues for the reader to pick up, that will (hopefully) allow them to figure out the solution before flipping to the end of the book and reading the answer. I was never that good at picking up on the clues, I mean, I wasn't a genius like the main character. -_-; It didn't really matter though, I still loved reading them as a little girl. There are 25 titles in the series, 26 if you count book 15 1/2 "Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake"
Other Mystery series for ages 9-12 to enjoy: The Trixie Belden Series by Julie Campbell, The Westing Game and The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) stand alone novels by Ellen Raskin, and The American Girl Mystery Series.

Age 13 and Up
Spotlight Book: And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie

Okay, now you have officially hit the big times where mystery writing is concerned. This book is amazing. It's astounding. It's considered one of the best mysteries ever written, and rightly so, 'cause I get shivers just hearing the title. This is a must read for any mystery fan. It's undeniable clever, and creepy. It keeps you continually guessing (unless like the author you a mystery genius)and leaves you breathless at it's shocking conclusion. Yup, I really like this book. (; You also can pretty much be assured of a great mystery if you pick up any Agatha Christie titles. As well as get acquainted with some of the most famous detectives and amateur sleuths in fiction, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Mr. Quin.

Mystery Classics

Spotlight Series: Nancy Drew
By: "Carolyn Keene"

Oh come on you knew she had to be in this post somewhere. You cannot read Mysteries without knowing Nancy Drew, one of the first teen girl detective in fiction. Running around her hometown River Heights, and other locations, in hot pursuit of evildoers she was quite the pioneer when she first appeared in 1930. Since then she has continued on in popularity, an ageless teenager switching from one decade to the next. There are six series, and 56 original Nancy Drew Mystery titles. There are 175 titles in the Nancy Drew Mystery series.

Spotlight Series: Sherlock Holmes
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Ah Sherlock Holmes, another name that is as synonymous with mysteries as Nancy Drew. First bursting out onto the public in 1887 Sherlock Holmes was amazingly successful. Using keen logic and all his resources Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. Watson can solve any baffling case that's thrown at them. Sherlock Holmes even has his own personal arch nemesis Prof. Moriarty, and a bunch of kids on Baker Street that help him out in tough spots. Some think Sherlock is the father of detective fiction, and although he's very good, he was based on the real first hero of detective fiction, C. Auguste Dupin...

Spotlight Story: The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Author: Edgar Allen Poe

I am forever grateful to Edgar Allen Poe for creating the detective fiction. Without his first short stories about C. Auguste Dupin there might not be any Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, or even this post. ^_^ Edgar Allen Poe was a brilliant writer, and he definitely proves it with his three mystery stories. It's definitely a treat to read this particular bit of history. Other classic mysteries to enjoy: Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout, Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers, and Albert Campion Mysteries by Margery Allingham.

Mystery Manga's (comics)

Spotlight Series: Detective Conan (Case Closed in America)
Author: Gosho Aoyama

Aspiring detective Shinichi Kudo has a serious problem. He's a 17 year old trapped in a 7 year old body. But that doesn't stop him from solving mysteries in secret and letting Detective Mouri; father of his high school crush Ran Mouri, get all the credit. This series has a continuing mystery, and lot's of stand alone mysteries that any good detective series has. It also has an animated series, and live action series. It's definitely worth looking into, and is one of my personal favorites. This series is great for ages 14 and up. There are currently 65 volumes in the series. Other manga mysteries to enjoy: Kindaichi Case Files Yozaburo Kanari or Seimaru Amagi, and if you're particularly desperate for anything remotely resembling a manga mystery you could always try Death Note a howcatchem, by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, with a cast of some seriously deranged characters.

Movies based off of Novels

Spotlight Movie: The Thin Man
Starring: William Powell and Myrna Loy
You can find tons of movie adaptations of Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers novels, but in the Thin Mans case, this would be the only time when you will hear me say skip the novel and just watch the movies. Nick Charles a retired detective is married to Nora Charles, a high class girl with lots of money, and lots of curiousity to see her husband back in crime solving action. played brilliantly by William Powell and Myrna Loy; who have such amazing on screen chemistry together, Nick and Nora are one of the best husband and wife teams out there. Sipping martini's and exchanging witty banter, Nick and Nora Charles make marraige, and solving crime great fun. Some will say that the book is better, some may say that it's equal. But for my money I enjoyed the movie (and it's 5 sequels) much more than the book by Dashiell Hammett. Other movies that were books to enjoy: The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall original story by Raymond Chandler and Murder on the Orient Express based off of Agatha Christie's novel.

Well, That pretty much does it for this particular Genre Spotlight. I hope you enjoyed it. There are several other mystery series out there in the world to enjoy, I'm only scratching the surface for you. I hope if you are new to mysteries this was helpful for you to find some good ones. If you are a rabid Mystery fan already I hope this has helped you find some new series to enjoy.

Until next time,


  1. This looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE your signature! The blog itself seems cozy. And that is a great post.
    I can't wait to read more recomendations!

    The Author

  2. Aw thank you! I was trying to project a cozy feel. (:


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