Sunday, July 19, 2009

First Clues, Mysteries for Kids: The Liza Bill & Jed Series, the Samurai Detective, and Barnaby Grimes

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

is your source for information on over 100 mystery series for children and young adults where each series is conveniently listed under four different age categories (New Sleuths, ages 4 to 6; Future Sleuths, ages 7 to 9; Sleuths in Training, ages 10 to 12, and Apprentice Sleuths, ages 13 and older).

This week we added three series that were recommended to us.

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Clues in the Woods by Peggy Parish

Peggy Parish was the author of a number of children's books, including the popular Amelia Bedelia series. In the 1960s she also wrote 6 mysteries featuring three amateur sleuths: twins Liza and Bill, and their brother Jed. The books were recently reissued with new covers.

In their first adventure, Clues in the Woods, who or what is taking the kitchen scraps from the garbage every night? What starts out as a puzzle becomes a mystery. Every night Grandma leaves table scraps in a wrapped plastic bag in the garbage can where, according to plan, the McNellis children pick them up to feed their kittens. But the plan changes when the bag is gone in the morning. The children decide to investigate the matter. First they discover Liza's missing red sweater in a part of the woods she hadn't been to before, next they read about runaway children in the newspaper, and then their new puppy is lost. Finally they find a teepee in the woods with what seems to be Indians in warpaint dancing and shooting arrows! The young detectives must put all the clues together and solve the mystery.

The Liza, Bill & Jed mysteries are recommended for children aged 7 to 9.

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Seven Paths to Death by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler write a series of mysteries set in 18th century Japan and feature Seikei, the 14-year-old son of a tea merchant who dreams of being a samurai. Seikei uses the skills he is learning to solve mysteries in this historical adventure series. The first book, The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn, was a finalist for the Edgar Award in 2003.

In Seikei's most recent mystery, Seven Paths to Death, when a man with a tattoo covering his back is found floating in the water at the rice ceremony, Seikei and Judge Ooka know it’s a bad omen—but not how dangerous the mystery behind it is. Soon, there are seven of these men with partial tattoos on their backs. All different, all seemingly unrelated— except for the tattoos, and the fact they keep turning up dead. It becomes apparent these men are not just carrying body art, but a treasure map … to what? And why is carrying this map so mortally dangerous? Seikei must find and assemble all seven tattoos to find the answer—and the path to a most terrifying destination.

The Samurai Detective mysteries are recommended for children aged 10 to 12.

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Return of the Emerald Skull by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell write the adventures of Barnaby Grimes, a self-described tick-tock lad by trade. He picks up things and delivers them all over his home city as quickly as possible because, "tick-tock", time is money. To save time, he takes the most direct route by "highstacking", leaping from rooftop to rooftop. And, oh by the way, he also solves mysteries. The first book in the series, Curse of the Night Wolf, introduces the character and his environment, a city resembling London in the early 20th century.

In Barnaby Grimes' second adventure published earlier this year, Return of the Emerald Skull, after collecting a strange parcel from a deserted ship in the fog of the docks, and delivering it to the local schoolmaster, Barnaby thinks he’s earned a moment to sit on the rooftops and eat his favorite pastry. But soon he realizes that all is not well at the school—but is the problem quite as he expects it? A gruesome tale of a school overrun by a terrible curse—who will survive?

A third title, Legion of the Dead, is scheduled for publication in March 2010.

The Barnaby Grimes adventure mysteries are recommended for children aged 10 and older.

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We are also pleased to offer First Clues Reviews, reviews of mysteries featured on our site written by students. These book reviews provide a unique perspective by their young readers, often insightful, always entertaining.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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