Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science

Ages 9+

My book, Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science (Kids Can Press), illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier, has won the 2011 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-fiction. It was so thrilling to learn the news at the gala on October 4.

This is what the jury said: "A perfect combination of science, story and history, compellingly presented by Susan Hughes who shows with absorbing detail how modern science can shed new light on some of mankind's most beguiling mysteries ... [will] intrigue the curious child as well as adults."

I managed to make it up onto the stage and accept the award from Jim Fleck and his grand-daughter. (Have a look at the photo. See? I can hardly believe it!)

Luckily, I'd prepared an acceptance speech or I would have been speechless! :)

You can order Case Closed? online at Kids Can or pick it up at any local book store.


"I highly recommend Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science. In the 88 pages of the book, Susan Hughes and Michael Wandelmaier have captured what drives scientists, archeologists, forensic anthropologists, and history buffs to undertake the work that they do. The nine cases will certainly capture the imagination of readers who like mysteries and the variety of ways in which mysteries can be solved using the processes of science and technological tools, both ancient and modern."
- Barbara McMillan's review in CM Magazine, Nov 26, 2010, gave 4 out of 4 stars

Here's a spread from a chapter of the book that tries to uncover the secrets behind the disappearance of the Pharoah Hatshepsut:

Awards & Nominations

  • Winner of Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-fiction, 2011
  • Junior Library Guild choice, 2011
  • Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award for English Non-Fiction finalist, 2011
  • Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12, National Science Teachers Association and Children's Book Council (US), 2011
  • Ontario Library Association's Silver Birch award nominee, 2012
  • Atlantic Canada Hackmatack Award nominee, 2012
  • Utah Beehive Informational Book Award nominee, 2012 

Copy from the front flap

Vanished ... An ancient Arabian city is consumed by the desert. A Russian princess escapes burial in her murdered family's mass grave. A British airplane disappears just minutes before its scheduled landing in Santiago, Chile.

Join today's scientists, archeologists and historians as they peer into nine unsolved mysteries from the past.

Read the historical file. Find out who has vanished and the reasons they may have disappeared. Immerse yourself in a different time and place.

Meet the investigators. These determined men and women from around the world showcase an impressive mix of scientific backgrounds. Learn about archeology, anthropology, glaciology, dendrochronology, and more.

Study the tools and techniques important to each case. Researchers use a variety of search methods, some time-tested, others totally innovative. What is revealed when they CAT scan a mummy or tow a sonar device across the Mediterranean seabed?

Armed with the latest technology, can these modern detectives finally declare ... Case Closed?