The man behind the favorite detective of multiple generations, Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, was none other than author Donald Sobol, born October 4, 1924. After serving in the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII, Sobol worked as a copy boy for the New York Sun after graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio.
He never seriously considered himself a writer until he took a short writing course in college, soon testing his skills as a journalist while attending the New School of Social Research in New York from 1949-1951. His syndicated series, “Two-Minute Mysteries,” (1959-1968) introduced readers to his captivating style.
In 1963 the first of many Encyclopedia Brown books was published. Even today readers thrill at being able to solve each of the ten mysteries in each book, and rarely refer to the solution in the back until they have figured it out. This series has not been out of print since it was first published. When asked if Brown is a real boy, Sobol answers, “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.”
Sobol also wrote under a variety of pen names and has many nonfiction titles on the market including ones on Ancient Greece and King Arthur. His work can be found in the Kerlan Collection in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sobol died July 11, 2012.