Top Ten Tuesday: Mysteries I Wish I’d Read As a Child

Posted April 28, 2020 by meezcarrie in mystery/suspense, Top Ten Tuesday / 37 Comments

Happy Tuesday! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is books we wish we’d read as a child, and there were certainly many directions I could have taken this post. (see my list of diverse books I wish I’d read as a child HERE) I read A LOT – and fairly widely as far as genres – but mysteries were (and still are) my fave. Apparently, though, I had a bit of tunnel vision where those were concerned. I read mostly Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys & Trixie Belden & Perry Mason mysteries… with an occasional Bobbsey Twins or Boxcar Children or Sue Barton or Encyclopedia Brown for variety lol. But the longer I’ve been a part of the book world, the more I’ve discovered other mysteries that I could have been reading waaaaaay back then too! So here are some mysteries I wish I’d read as a child!

(PS – I still maintain that Frank Hardy was a much better book boyfriend than Ned Nickerson.)

Disclaimer: I know literally nothing about most of these mysteries, so if you read them as a child (or more recently) let me know whether they’re worth reading now or not!

Along with her popular mystery books for adults, Phyllis A. Whitney apparently also had a bunch of mysteries for younger readers. Titles such as Secret of the Samurai Sword, Mystery on the Isle of Skye, and The Vanishing Scarecrow aren’t necessarily for the age group we today consider ‘young adult’ but probably ‘middle grade’ instead.

I’m still not sure how I missed the Judy Bolton series by Margaret Sutton, especially when it has the distinction of being the longest-lasting juvenile mystery series written by an individual author (as opposed to the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys series which were written by various authors under the same pseudonym for each series).

Yet another titian-haired teen solving crimes, the Kay Tracey series was written in response to the popularity of Nancy Drew but never achieved similar success. It lasted nine years and was written by 4 different women over those years.

The Penny Parker Mystery series was written by Mildred A. Wirt, who was an original author of the Nancy Drew series (under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene, of course), and basically sounds like the same thing lol. Blond teenage girl (seriously, can’t brunettes solve crimes too? lol), daughter of a widowed father (a newspaper publisher instead of a lawyer), raised by her housekeeper, and solves mysteries with the help of her best friends.

The Happy Hollisters series is about a family that solves mysteries together, and the author based several of the characters on his own family & people they encountered. Even the dog and cat (which I think is a super cute fact).

Finally! A brunette crime solver! haha! The Cherry Ames series about a mystery-solving nurse who adds variety to her career by taking nearly every nurse-type job imaginable (mountaineer nurse, dude ranch nurse, department store nurse, etc.) was written by Helen Wells and Julie Campbell Tatham (the latter of whom created the Trixie Belden books).

The Dana Girls mysteries were written under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene and followed the adventures of two teenage orphan sisters who solve mysteries at their boarding school or on vacation at their guardians’ home (their sea captain uncle and spinster aunt).

Enid Blyton’s Five Find-Outers mystery series is set in a fictitious British village and follows five children (and their dog) who have a propensity for stumbling onto mysteries & solving them before the unpleasant village policeman does.

Apparently there are more than 24 books in the Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat – and I have read none of them to my recollection. Nate is a child version of Sam Spade who solves crimes and loves pancakes with his dog Sludge.

I love Peggy Parish (author of the Amelia Bedelia books) but I have never heard of the Liza, Bill & Jed Mysteries before now! They were published from 1966-1986 (though, sporadically, since there are only 6 books in the whole series) and feature twins Liza & Bill and their brother Jed.

What about you? Did you read any of these books growing up? What were some of your fave mysteries as a child?

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37 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Mysteries I Wish I’d Read As a Child

  1. DeAnna Dodson

    I haven’t read any of these except “The Key to the Treasure,” which I loved as a kid and remembered as an adult. I loved it because it gave you real puzzles to solve in the story. Those puzzles even inspired one of my books. So yay for that!

  2. I’ve heard of Cherry Ames, and I used to have some Dana Girl (sad that I got rid of them! A person should never get rid of books!)

    Have you ever read any of the Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators books? Those were my favorites, right next to Trixie Belden!

    I also have a few Kim Aldrich mysteries and a Robin Kane. Someday I’ll re-read them all…

    • No I haven’t read the Three Investigators – haven’t heard of them until I was doing research for this post. But I’m really glad to know they were good because now I’m adding them to my TBR …. maybe I should blame you for that hahaha

  3. Elizabeth Litton

    I’ve read several of series (or at least books in the series). The Judy Bolton mysteries are good–Judy actually grows up and marries in the books too, unlike Nancy Drew who is perpetually 18! I liked the Happy Hollisters and Nate the Great is funny. My mom owns almost the entire set of Cherry Ames. That is a pretty good series too.
    The Trixie Belden mystery series is another one I’ve read, along with the Robin Kane mysteries (I know those weren’t on your list though)!

  4. Patsy Curry

    I’ve read Cherry Ames and the Dana Girls mysteries. I also loved the Bobbsey twins and Trixie Belden. Nancy Drew was my favorite by far! I still have some of my mom’s books from the 30’s. My daughter has read them as well.

  5. Wonderful list! The only mysteries I recall liking as a child were the Sherlock Holmes my mother read aloud. I wasn’t into Nancy Drew. I do recall reading a Cherry Ames once. So many books then looked just like the top one!

  6. Oh, The Happy Hollisters! My oldest brother is still scarred by our mom donating his complete set to the school library. He did find some used copies to introduce my daughter to them though. I loved those books!!!!

  7. Caryl Kane

    I missed ALL of these. Last Summer I read Nancy Drew for my Library Summer Reading program.

  8. Peggy Parish is on my list today for her Amelia Bedelia books. I had no idea she wrote mysteries as well! I wish I had known that as a kid. I would have devoured them, no doubt. I was more into Nancy Drew, the Boxcar Children, and Encyclopedia Brown. I know I read and enjoyed some of Phyllis Whitney’s books back in the day, although I could not tell you which ones!

    Happy TTT!


  9. Not sure if my first comment went through, so do feel free to delete this if it’s a duplicate.

    I wanted to let you know that I loved mysteries as a kid and would have no doubt loved these titles. Great list.

    My TTT .

  10. Megan

    I’ve never heard of these, but they sound really good! I didn’t realize there were so many options.

  11. RS

    What a fun set of vintage options! I actually don’t know most of these, but I can’t believe I didn’t know Cherry Ames was a mystery series before now. I wasn’t super well versed in the older mysteries but my mom had a few representatives from several different ones and I tried them all: Trixie Belden, Annette, Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins. I tried the Happy Hollisters, but they just made me want to go back to the Bobbsey Twins.

  12. Marilyn

    I loved the Bobbsey Twins[probably because I have a twin sister] and have most of the entire set. I read the Nancy Drew series,Beverly Gray,A few Hardy Boys. My older sister has many Judy Bolton books. My twin and I buy her a Judy Bolton book every Christmas to try and complete her collection. They are available at Applewood books. Fortunately she has kept her books from her childhood. We love to read them.

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