You may think that a murder mystery might not be the ideal subject matter for a novel geared towards kids 10 and older. But Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage is a great introduction to this genre for preteens.
Three Times Lucky tells the story of sixth grader Mo LoBeau. Mo is an orphan who washed ashore after a hurricane as a newborn. She lives with her guardians, Miss Lana and the Colonel. Her family is about the most unusual thing in the small North Carolina town that they live in, until a policeman comes to town, looking for clues for about a murder. The Colonel, who found Mo as a baby and has no memory before that time, comes under scrutiny from the lawman. Because of this, Mo and her friend Dale start investigating as well and find themselves swept into the mystery.
This book is a great introduction to the murder mystery genre. All the parts, such as the murders, that could be gory are done “off camera” and none of the kids in the book are exposed to it. Even as an adult, I enjoyed Three Times Lucky a great deal, in part because it is set in my home state of North Carolina.