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CrimeFest: The best crime novels for children

by Sophie Green

Annual crime writing convention CrimeFest recently announced its shortlisted 2021 award nominees for their contributions to the crime genre, including the shortlist for 'Best Crime Novels for Children.' These titles are available to borrow from our catalogue.

Sophie Deen – Mission Shark Bytes (Walker Books)

Asha Joshi has the perfect excuse not to finish her homework. She's just been recruited to join the top-secret Children's Spy Agency. Her first mission: SAVE THE WORLD. Can she do it?

Reserve Mission Shark Bytes for collection

Elly Griffiths – A Girl Called Justice – The Smugglers’ Secret (Imprint – Quercus Children’s Books)

When Justice Jones returns for spring term at Highbury House, it's not long before murder is back on her mind. Assigned to look after the elderly Mr Arthur in Smugglers' Lodge on the other side of the marshes from school, Justice is initially dismayed. But dismay quickly gives way to intrigue as she finds herself drawn to Mr Arthur and his stories of piloting in the First World War - and especially when Dorothy, who lives nearby, tells her that the lodge is haunted.

Reserve A Girl Called Justice – The Smugglers’ Secret for collection

Anthony Horowitz – Nightshade (Walker Books)

Alex Rider is sent by MI6 Special Operations to infiltrate a new and sinister organisation known only as Nightshade. Alex is on his own, with the fate of thousands of people resting in his hands.

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Jack Noel – My Headteacher is an Evil Genius (Walker Books)

Meet Tom Ginger. She's shy! she's retiring! She's our only hope! Not exactly the stuff that heroes are made of - or is it? Shy girl Tom Ginger is the world's most unlikeliest hero - until she discovers that her new braces have the power to act as radio transmitters, allowing her to tune into the conversations of her new super-evil head teacher. Suddenly it's up to Tom to save the school from Miss Fortune's dastardly plans. Can she do it?

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Serena Patel – Anisha, Accidental Detective (Usborne Publishing)

Anisha Mistry is all set to be a bridesmaid at her Aunty Bindi's wedding tomorrow - until she finds a note in her family's letterbox. Bindi's groom has been kidnapped and will only be released if the wedding is called off! With best friend Milo, a mischievous granny, a runaway lobster, a giant chauffeur, and some super sleuthing skills, it's up to Anisha Mistry to find her uncle and save the big Indian wedding of the year.

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Serena Patel – School’s Cancelled (Usborne Publishing)

I've been working sooo hard with Milo and Govi to make our super-erupting volcano for the school science fair. I really thought we might win first prize - a trip to the National Space Centre. But now we're in BIG trouble. One minute we were in the lab practising our science demo, and the next thing we knew, our volcano exploded and flooded the corridors. School had to be cancelled! But did we really get our project so wrong - or is someone else trying to win first prize? Looks like a case for Anisha, accidental detective!

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Onjali Q. Rauf – The Night Bus Hero (Imprint – Orion Children’s Books)

Told from the perspective of a bully, this book explores themes of homelessness, while celebrating kindness, friendship and the potential everyone has to change for the good. Inspired by Onjali's own childhood experiences of growing up in London and seeing the impact of homelessness on those around her, 'The Night Bus Hero' follows an unlikely friendship between our narrator and Thomas - who lives in the park. Can they get to the bottom of some unusual thefts taking place across the city, and discover what it takes to be a real hero?

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Dave Shelton – The Pencil Case (David Fickling Books)

It's a new term at St Rita's School for Spirited Girls, and there are new mysteries for Emily, Daphne, and George to solve! Who has stolen a painting from Pilkington Art Gallery? (And why? It's not even a very good one!) How can they get rid of a new headmistress who theatens the very future of the library? And why are there cows all over the sports field? Expect the unexpected as Emily Lime investigates!

Reserve The Pencil Case for collection