If you have a young reader in your life, you’re likely familiar with The Mysterious Benedict Society. The charming mystery series is jam-packed with riddles, puzzles, adventure, ethical dilemmas, life lessons, and characters you cheer for. It’s the perfect recipe for creating a lifelong mystery reader and the television adaptation is drawing even more curious youngsters into the mystery aisle. And the adaptation on Disney+—season two just released!—is a lot of fun, too.
With only four books and a prequel in the series, a voracious reader might run out of adventure while waiting for season two. We gathered eight more middle-grade books just like The Mysterious Benedict Society to keep any young detective busy solving mysteries.
The Secret Keepers
When Reuben finds an antique watch, he’s thrilled with his new treasure. Even more, when he finds out it has a secret power. But one secret leads to another, and soon, Reuben is on a dangerous journey to uncover the mystery of a devious villain called The Smoke. He meets three friends along the way, but time is running out. To save the city, Reuben has to follow clues through dangerous traps with narrow escapes. In the end, is knowing a secret a gift or a curse?
The challenge to make the most delicious candy in the world. Will it be Logan, Miles, Daisy, or Philip? They each have their own strengths—and secrets. But as they get to know each other, the more they realize there’s something else going on in the factory and the contest. And if they’re going to find the truth, they have to work together.
A fun mystery that unfolds through each character’s perspective, The Candymakers is a sweet story about friendship, kindness, and finding happiness.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Kyle Keeley loves games. Video games, board games, word games. And his favorite game maker in the world, Luigi Lemoncello, is building his new town library. As part of the grand opening adventure, twelve lucky kids have the chance to win an overnight stay filled with food, fun, and you guessed it—games. Kyle wins one of the coveted spots and is elated. But when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Now, Kyle and the other kids have to find the clues and solve the secret puzzle leading to a hidden escape route. Or face drastic consequences if they don’t.
A book about puzzles wouldn’t be complete without one more puzzle woven into the mix. At the end, the author gives his email and challenges you to find the hidden puzzle in the prose.
12-year-old Emily loves playing Book Scavenger, the online game where books are hidden all over the country and players have to solve puzzles to get the clues to find them. When the creator of the game, Garrison Griswold, is attacked, no one knows anything about the epic new game he had hinted at launching. But then Emily and her friends find a strange book and they think it’s part of the mysterious new game. As they race to find the puzzles, they realize they’re not the only ones looking for the prize. And Emily and her friends are now targets.
Milo plans on spending the holidays relaxing at Greenglass House. As the innkeeper’s adopted son, he knows winter is usually quiet at the smuggler’s inn. But on the first icy night, a guest arrives. And then another. And then another. Soon, the house is bursting with guests, all with strange stories about the house and plenty of secrets they aren’t willing to share. As things go missing and accusations are thrown around, Milo partners up with Meddy, the cook’s daughter, to try and figure out the truth behind the mystery of Greenglass House and maybe learn something about themselves, too.
The only thing worse than spending the holidays with her malevolent aunt and uncle, is being shipped off to the creepy Winterhouse hotel by herself. But it’s not all terrible for orphan Elizabeth Somer. The hotel has an amazing library where she discovers a magical book of puzzles promising to unlock the secrets of owner Norbridge Falls and his sinister family. The deeper she goes, she begins to realize her own history might be connected to the hotel. And she might be the only one who can solve the mystery and break the hotel’s curse. The only problem is, doing so might mean losing everyone she cares about, including Winterhouse itself.
The Westing Game
Sixteen strangers are called to read Samuel W. Westing’s will. The eccentric millionaire loved games when he was alive and being dead isn’t about to stop him from playing one last game. The will is a contest. And one of the players is the murderer. Only two people hold all the clues. One is the heir, the other is you. The players will have to navigate blizzards, burglaries, bombings, and more. The only question that matters is: what would you do for $200 million dollars?
The Name of This Book Is Secret
Everything in this book is a secret. The name. The story. The author. He doesn’t want you to know about this book. Or Cass and Max Earnest. Or how the Symphony of Smells, a strange box of vials, sent them on a mission to find a magician who disappeared. Or how that magician vanished under strange and smelly circumstances. Sometimes it’s better that you simply don’t know about the adventures or the villain or how the heroes save the day because then you might be tempted to tell someone. Secrets are hard to keep. So, only read this book if you are absolutely sure you can keep them.