Harriet M. Welsch, in her signature yellow raincoat, is one of the most recognizable kid detectives. Astonishingly astute and observant, Harriet "spies" on the people around her, documenting what she discovers in a notebook. The movie adaptation of the book with Michelle Trachtenberg and Rosie O'Donnell will remain in our hearts forever.
Scooby Doo, the mystery-solving Great Dane, is never without his trusty crew of teenage detectives, Fred, Daphne, Velma, and of course, Shaggy. No to mention the one and only Mystery Machine. I'm fairly certain no other kid detectives on this list have their very own mystery-themed psychedelic van. If it wasn't for these meddling kids, we would have a lot more cartoon villains on the loose.
Everyone knows Nancy Drew -- she's the cream of the crop when it comes to kid detectives. First appearing in 1930, Nancy Drew is truly an icon. Powerful women like Sonia Sotomayor and Hillary Clinton cite her as an influence for them when they were little girls. Nancy Drew is independent and outspoken, not to mention super smart, so it's no wonder this female role model took off and became a staple for kid detective (or you know, Secretary of State) wannabes everywhere.
Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown is one of the most popular kid detectives in literature. Each book in the series contains at least ten mini-mysteries which you, the reader, solve right along with the boy wonder. Encyclopedia Brown has taken us on countless journeys since it was first published in 1963. With a motto like, "25 cents per day, plus expenses - No case too small," I'd say Leroy has done pretty well for himself with his little mystery-solving business.
Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden are the Boxcar Children, orphans who lived in an abandoned boxcar until they meet their grandfather, who takes them in (and moves the boxcar to the backyard so they can use it as a playhouse). They were self-sufficient and happy enough as orphans to make every little kid secretly think of running away and living in the forest, but once they started solving mysteries, the fun really began.
Penny Brown is Inspector Gadget's much more prepared and put-together niece. While the Inspector always gets credit for the completion of the mission, it's normally Penny who does the bulk of the work. She's a kid detective solving adult mysteries (and often saving her uncle in the process).
Frank and Joe Hardy have been solving mysteries since 1927. (And they still look great!) They have gone through several permutations throughout the years, but they never tire of their adventures. More than a million Hardy Boys books are sold each year, and they have been translated into 25 languages. The Hardy Boys are truly a cornerstone of the young detective genre.
The kid detectives of this 1996 movie get embroiled in a real life murder mystery. One night, Billy and Kade Ruckman see their neighbor murder a woman, but the neighbor convinces their mother it was a rehearsal for an opera scene. They get their friends together to find the body and prove their neighbor killed that woman before he moves away and it's too late. Talk about serious stuff for a kids' movie!
The Babysitters Club girls not only babysit and have interpersonal issues, they solve mysteries, too! And they don't just solve mysteries. They also solve super mysteries. This is a classic series with some pretty spooky stories!
Sammy Keyes is sort of accidental detective. She happened to witness a burglary in the hotel across the street, with the help of her binoculars, and decides she must help get to the bottom of it. This is just the first of many adventures for this kid detective.
Nate the Great gets kid detective points for sporting the coolest trench coat/hat combo since Sherlock Holmes. He's been solving mysteries for years, over the course of more than thirty books. Nate is truly one of the greats.
Lindsay Lohan stars in Get A Clue, a 2002 Disney Channel Original Movie as Lexy Gold, a high school detective who's determined to solve the mystery of the missing teacher. Costars include Amanda Plummer, Ian Gomez, Bug Hall, and Brenda Song. It's pretty great.
Cam Jansen is a kid detective with a very cool skill -- a photographic memory. All she has to do is close her eyes and say, "Click!" and she remembers that moment. This proves quite helpful when solving mysteries, as you can imagine.
You can't really talk about kids' adventure stories without mentioning The Goonies. Mikey, Data, Chunk, and the rest of the crew follow a treasure map, find themselves involved with a terrifying family of criminals, escape traps left and right, and solve the mystery of One-Eyed Willy. The Goonies also gives us a good reason to always carry a Baby Ruth in our pocket.
Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are shuffled through foster homes until they find themselves living in Everafters, a town full of characters from fantasy stories and fairy tales. It's here that they stay and begin solving mysteries that might have some connection to the disappearance of their parents. It's a series of nine books that lead the sisters on adventures where they meet the likes of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Prince Charming, The Queen of Hearts, and many more.
Dipper and Mabel Pines are the twin mystery solvers of The Disney Channel's, Gravity Falls. The twins are sent to spend the summer with their strange great-uncle in Gravity Falls, Oregon, a town chock full of mysterious happenings. They help run The Mystery Shack with "Grunkle" Stan, all the while discovering that the little town of Gravity Falls is steeped in more mystery than they could ever imagine.
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are the three main characters of Lemony Snicket's, A Series of Unfortunate Events. They are orphaned when their parents are killed in a fire and they're sent to live with a relative named Count Olaf, who is utterly awful, conniving, creepy, and mean. Throughout the book series, while terrible things keep happening to the Baudelaire children, they nevertheless work to uncover information surrounding the mysterious death of their parents, finding that they were part of a secret organization, the V.F.D.
The Monster Squad is a group of monster-movie obsessed kids who find themselves embroiled in a real life monster mystery. An old diary leads them to an amulet that they must get a hold of before the monsters do, otherwise the world is doomed. They fight real-life Dracula, the Mummy, the Gill Man, and Wolfman (and befriend Frankenstein) -- The Monster Squad is a total classic.
Tintin and his dog, Snowy, travel the world (and other, fictional worlds) solving mysteries, having glorious adventures, and meeting all kinds of people. The Adventures of Tintin comic books, originally published in French, have been translated into over 70 languages and sold over 200 million copies.
Claudia and her little brother, Jamie Kincaid, the kid wonders in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, run away and make their new home in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Aside from sneaking around a museum at night being the coolest thing ever, Claudia and Jamie get mixed up (hence the title) with Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and a statue of an angel that possesses a mysterious secret.