Monday, July 16, 2012

Donald J. Sobol: R.I.P.

Donald J. Sobol, author of the popular "Encyclopedia Brown" series of children's mysteries, has died. He was 87.

I love these books! The 28-book series, first published in 1963, features boy detective Leroy (Encyclopedia) Brown who solves local mysteries in each book. The books also feature Brown's detective partner, tomboy Sally Kimball. Sobol's son said Sally's character was a strong role model for young girls, especially in 1963 when the series was first published.

The books became staples in classrooms and libraries. They were translated into 12 languages and sold millions of copies worldwide.

The series, which has never been out-of-print, won an Edgar Award in 1976. Throughout the years, Encyclopedia Brown’s adventures have been reincarnated as a comic strip and even an HBO television show.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Encyclopedia Brown series and to celebrate, the Penguin Young Readers Group’s will release a brand new adventure entitled Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme.

Sobol was born in New York City and began his long and productive career with the New York Sun, where he served as a reporter. He began writing mysteries in 1958 with his syndicated column, "Two-Minute Mysteries," which featured a character who solved more heavy-handed crimes.

John Sobol said his father's story was one of perseverance. His first Encyclopedia Brown book was turned down two-dozen times before it was finally published.

1 comment:

John said...

While everyone else in the world will call up Agatha Christie or some other adult writer as their introduction to the mystery world for me it will always be Encylopedia Brown. I have fond memories of poring over those solve-them-yourself tales when I was a lad. Though some of the solutions seem dated now especially the one about how men and women pay a taxi cab driver. Other than in the movies I have never seen anyone pay a cab driver while outside of a cab.