Mysteries have always been important to me; some of you will already know that I’m a huge mystery/Sherlock Holmes fan! Since my parents didn’t allow fantasy books, like Narnia, into the house at all when I grew up (anything supernatural or ghostly in entertainment was just not acceptable) the majority of my reading as a child was mysteries.
I fell in LOVE with the genre before I was ten years old and before I discovered Sherlock Holmes (who is my favorite fictional character of all time.)
While I’ve never read the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, there were several children series that I read from early readers into my early teens that made the genre my favorite, and a staple in my present entertainment. I have a great love for mystery TV shows like Hercule Poirot, Jessica Fletcher, Miss Marple, Charlie Chan, and Peter Whimsy, to the many stories and theatrical versions of Sherlock Holmes, to my current favorite movies Clue and Murder by Death (GO WATCH THOSE NOW)…
…and I can pin the blame on these influential children’s series!
6. Cam Jansen by David A. Adler
I started off with Cam very early, thanks to the The Young Cam Jansen series for beginning readers, so Cam was one of my first detectives. I especially liked the longer stories when I was older, like eight or nine, because the mysteries were more detailed. With her photographic memory and her best friend Eric always by her side, I got to watch Cam catch shoplifters and diamond thieves from my living room couch. I vividly remember one particular story when she and Eric went in search of a museum’s stolen dinosaur bone; there was a thrilling chase scene and everything!
5. Three Cousins Detective Club by Elspeth Campbell Murphy.
Ah, yes. I had a fondness for these because I was close to my own cousins, so it was fun to read about other cousins solving mysteries. My parents bought the complete set because they were Christian-based, though thankfully not unbearably drenched in it (a true rarity!). What I remember best about these is that each story had a zany sense of humor, and how each book switched between the three cousins’ perspective. The set was very large, so it was hard to get bored with them; I often read these aloud to my younger sister. <3
4. Nate The Great by Majorie Weinman Sharmat.
Nate was possibly my very first detective; I know I was reading them when I was about five or six. Narrated by pancake-“addicted” Nate himself (who’s look is inspired off Sherlock Holmes), who had an enjoyably sarcastic voice, the stories were told with quirky drawings accompanied by even quirkier characters: I shall never forget strange Rosamond and her cats, Oliver who followed people, and the sweet neighbor girl Annie with her huge scary dog, Fang. The mysteries were very simple but told in a straightforward and memorable way. I recently bought most of the series to share with my younger brother and I intend to read these to my future children as they learn to read. Oh how I love my memories of Nate the Great!
3. American Girl’s History Mystery Series.
I read these between the ages of twelve and fifteen and they were wonderful. Growing up in a overprotected homeschool family, I had a very small social circle. So I was fascinated by each new girl and how they saw life in their time period: Some were rebellious, others were timid, others curious, and others calmly brave. These stories also inspired my imagination as I started writing books, which makes them extra special to me. Plus, they were just really well written mysteries with excellent plots and suspense. (I listened to my audio book of The Night Flyers forever until we lost the last cassette. XD )
2. The Boxcar Children created by Gertrude Chandler Warner.
Five years ago I could have easily claimed that I’d read every single Boxcar Children book–at the time being approximately 110 books–many times! I loved the Alden children because they were polite, nice kids always solving a new mystery with their plucky make-do spirit. When I was between the ages of eight and fourteen, they were almost like an extra set of siblings and I got to travel with them into radio stations, medieval reenactments, mansions, and trains. And… even though I knew I wasn’t supposed to, I smuggled the few ghostly ones home from the library anyway, because I knew they always turned out to be not so ghostly after all. Yes, I was that type of kid. XD I would love to own the full set one day…
1. The Encyclopedia Brown Series by Donald J. Sobol.
The Encyclopedia Brown series is very easily number one here because of the impact it had on my life. Not only did I love the fun variety of quirky mysteries (seriously, these were fun!) but the colorful characters inspired an onslaught of fanfiction novels that set me down the path of novel-writing at the age of 12. I am only as good of a writer now because of these characters and my own six very long books featuring Sobol’s characters (with my many original ones.) Encyclopedia Brown not only fueled my love for mysteries but also fueled my passion for writing which truly changed my life. I would be such an incredibly different person without these stories. <3
How I love a good mystery story! I think I’m gonna rewatch Clue tonight…again. XD
How about you? Did you read any of these growing up? Do you enjoy a good mystery?