Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Encyclopedia Brown

From Crime Reads, via The Passive Voice blog, this post that takes me back to my childhood:

Let me tell you about the most popular mystery author you’ve probably never heard of.

He sold 50 million of copies of his books worldwide. His work was translated into a dozen languages. The Mystery Writers of America gave him a special Edgar. The character he created became a cultural icon—spoofed by The Onion, the star of a short-lived television series, and the subject of a nasty lawsuit over the movie rights.

His name was Donald J. Sobol. He was World War II veteran and New York City native who moved to Florida in 1961. Two years later he created his “Sherlock in sneakers,” boy detective Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown.

I didn’t remember the author’s name, but I certainly remember Encyclopedia Brown. How about you all? Anybody else remember the brilliant kid detective?

Forgetting the author and remembering the character — that would probably have suited the author:

“What I really wanted, and couldn’t achieve—it was just a pipe dream—was to remain anonymous,” Sobol once told his college alumni magazine. “That never worked.”

Interesting that he wanted that! Well, he didn’t manage the anonymity, but he did manage to create a memorable character, still popular today. I see his books are available in Kindle and the first one has 240 reviews. I even think I remember the cover:

The description reads: With a knack for trivia, Encyclopedia solves mysteries for the neighborhood kids through his detective agency. But his dad is also the chief of police, and every night, Encyclopedia helps him solve his most baffling crimes. Join Encyclopedia Brown as he solves ten confounding mysteries, including the theft of a diamond necklace, a bank robbery that happened in broad daylight, the case of the missing roller skates, and more.

If you’ve got a ten-year-old who might like mysteries, this would definitely be a good series to try.

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5 Comments Encyclopedia Brown

  1. Kathryn McConaughy

    I remember these! Encyclopedia Brown inspired a raft of imitators, but I always liked EB best.

  2. Louise

    Oh, how I loved these books when I was a kid! And I have a newly-minted 10yo who’s been complaining about her lack of new reading material, what perfect timing to be reminded of them.

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