Encyclopedia Brown author Donald J. Sobol has passed away. He was 87 years old.
This GalleyCat editor will never forget the hours and hours he spent devouring this Edgar Award-winning mystery series. In addition to these books, Sobol also wrote the Two Minute Mystery series from 1959 until 1968. He launched Encyclopedia Brown in 1963, and the books are still available today from Penguin. Here is more from his biography:
Each book in the series contains ten mysteries presented in readable sentences and enhanced with witty puns and other verbal jokes. Solutions to each case are printed in the back of the book, but readers are encouraged to solve the cases themselve, reading carefully, and using a variety of methods, including deductive reasoning, psychology, and careful observation of physical evidence. Ten-year-old Leroy Brown is called “Encyclopedia” because he is so smart that he seems to know everything you would find in a set of encyclopedias. Sobol once said, “Readers constantly ask me if Encyclopedia is a real boy. The answer is no … He is, perhaps, the boy I wanted to be — doing the things I wanted to read about but could not find in any book when I was ten.”
The books inspired all sorts of cultural responses: a comic strip, a TV show, a Simpson‘s parody, an Onion article and an awesome list of the 10 Most Ridiculously Difficult Encyclopedia Brown Mysteries. Flickr user jl.incrowd has collected some classic images from the series, including the book cover embedded above.
UPDATE: If you wish to donate in memory of this great author, follow this link: “Gifts made in remembrance of Donald J. Sobol, author of the beloved Encyclopedia Brown Series, will benefit Children’s Services at The New York Public Library. The New York Public Library will send The Sobol Family a card acknowledging your generosity.” (Via Sarah Weinman)