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'Encyclopedia Brown' Author Dies At 87


Let's take a moment to remember mystery writer Donald Sobol who died last week in Miami. He was a man who wrote his mysteries short. In the 1950s, he succeeded with syndicated column, "Two-Minute Mysteries."


But Sobol is most remembered for his "Encyclopedia Brown" kids' books, books that Don Weisberg knew well as both a publisher and a reader. Weisberg is currently the president of the children' book division of Penguin Books.

MONTAGNE: He came to Sobol's books as a kid when he picked up the first one, "Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective," shortly after it came out in 1963.

DON WEISBERG: I then met Donald at a librarian convention in 1980, so not only did I read him, but then in my career I sold him. And now, coincidentally or whatever, I'm publishing him with great satisfaction. He was an incredible guy and an incredible writer.

INSKEEP: The hero of Sobol's books was Leroy Brown, called Encyclopedia because he was so darn smart; a 10-year-old who solved mysteries that even his father - the local police chief - could not.

MONTAGNE: Each story provided clues to help young readers sharpen their detective skills.

WEISBERG: They had the ability to really discover what solving a mystery was like - and it was great fun. I speak to that personally.

MONTAGNE: Donald Sobol wrote 28 "Encyclopedia Brown" books, including one that will come out next fall. The books have been translated into 12 languages and are all still in print. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.