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franklin county times
Lori Skinner

Try mystery titles for fun intrigue

Year after year, mysteries lead the pack as one of the most popular and enduring genres of pleasure reading.

Edgar Allan Poe penned the first detective story, “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” in 1841. Wilkie Collins followed 20 years later with “The Woman in White,” considered the first mystery novel, and “The Moonstone,” considered the first detective novel. These early works set the stage that all subsequent mysteries would follow.

While you might not immediately think of mysteries for our youngest readers, there are great choices that gently introduce the concept of solving the plot. Jon Klassen’s Caldecott Medal-winning “This is Not My Hat,” is told through the unreliable narration of a little fish who has stolen his headwear from a much larger fish.

Another fun choice is “Little Master Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes in the Hounds of the Baskervilles: A Sounds Primer,” by Jennifer Adams and Allison Oliver. This classic is adapted to focus on the sounds of the moors at night.

Elementary-age readers might be familiar with several great series, such as “A to Z Mysteries,” “Cam Jensen” or “The 39 Clues.” All of these are great options to introduce readers to the concept of mysteries and can be followed up with a series that appeals to your readers’ interests.

If you have an animal lover in your house, be sure to check out “The Pet Detective Mysteries” by Kelly Oliver. This fun series features Kassy’s attempts to solve animal-oriented mysteries that she encounters at her family’s petting zoo.

If you have a reader who loves graphic novels and humor, they are sure to love “Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery” by Renee Treml. Sherlock Bones is a bird skeleton in the Natural History Museum who has a stuffed parrot, Watts, for a sidekick. When a valuable item goes missing, they must solve the mystery before the museum is forced to close. This one is great for fans of “The Bad Guys.”

Adults and young adults alike will be entertained by “The Spellman Files,” the first of a six-book series, written by Lisa Lutz. This Alex Award winner features Izzy Spellman, the 28-year-old daughter of the Spellman Investigations family. Be ready to laugh as we see Izzy try to exit the family business after becoming fed up with her family’s constant surveillance of her private life by taking on a 15-year-old cold case.

If you are looking for something that is a bit grittier, check out “The Ranger” by Ace Atkins. This first in the series introduces Quinn Colson, an Army Ranger, who has returned to Tibbehah County, Mississippi, for the funeral of his beloved uncle. After learning that his death was ruled suicide, he begins an investigation into what really happened.

Contributor Lori Skinner is the Head Librarian for Northwest-Shoals Community College. For more information, she can be contacted at 256-331-6288 or lori.skinner@nwscc.edu. NW-SCC Libraries are open to the public and look forward to serving your library needs. 

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