Obit of the Day: Encyclopedia Brown Creator, Donald Sobol
If you are a kid in Idaville and you have a mystery that needs to be solved, you didn’t turn to the police. Instead you headed 13 Rover Avenue, knocked on the clubhouse door in the backyard and asked to speak with Leroy Brown, better known as “Encyclopedia” Brown. Son of Idaville’s police chief, Encyclopedia, along with his trusty sidekick - and muscle - Sally Kimball, solved hundreds of mysteries for the pre-teen set, for “only 25¢ per day plus expenses.”
The world of Encyclopedia Brown was created by Donald Sobol in 1963. Sobol, who had already dabbled in the world of mysteries, authoring the weekly column Two-Minute Mysteries in the New York Daily News, decided that a child detective would be the next big thing. He was right. (Brown was younger even that his predecessors The Hardy Boys, Frank and Joe, and Nancy Drew. Encylopedia Brown would also serve as the template for dozens of other kid detectives including Nate the Great, Cam Jansen, the A-Z Mysteries, and John Grisham’s Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer.)
Sobol would publish over 80 books during his career, including 28 “Encyclopedia Brown” collections, the most recent of which Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Carnival Crime was published in 2011.
Donald Sobol died at the age of 87.
Random note: There was an Encyclopedia Brown comic strip that ran daily from December 1978 until September 1980.
Sources: The Washington Post, indiebookspot.com, and wikipedia.org
(Image of the sign that hung on the door of Encyclopedia Brown’s clubhouse is courtesy of ken-jennings.com - the most successful Jeopardy champion of all time.)