Young detectives have replaced vampires in young adult fiction according to the organizers of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize in the United Kingdom.
This year's shortlist features six titles where children are left to their own devices to solve mysteries.
The awards, now in its 11th year, includes Erin Lange's Dead Ends and Smart by Kim Slater. Waterstones has seen a "striking resurgence" of children's mystery books, according to Melissa Cox of the book company:
By borrowing from the detective genre, many of our shortlisted authors have allowed their characters to deal with some very serious issues within a framework that also feels safe and familiar for young readers.
Also shortlisted for 2015 is Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens, which features a pair of boarding school girls investigating the violent murder of their teacher, while Smart by Slater follows a misfit teen investigating the death of a homeless man.
The list also includes Harriet Whitehorn's Violet and the Pearl of the Orient, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald's The Apple Tart of Hope and A Boy Called Hope, continuing the theme of crime-solving children.
The prize has three categories: picture books, fiction 5-12, and teen.