Since 1963, generations of children have pored over the adventures of boy detective Encyclopedia Brown, who solves neighborhood mysteries for 25 a day and outsmarts meddlers with help from his tomboy sidekick Sally. Brown is “the boy I wanted to be — doing the things I wanted to read about but could not find in any book when I was 10,” said the author, Donald J. Sobol, who died on July 11 at 87. He kept readers engaged by leaving a trail of clues while not explaining the whodunit; readers try to solve the mystery themselves, then flip to the back to check if they’re right. The reporter turned author also wrote nonfiction under pen names but is best loved for his children’s stories. The 28th boy-sleuth book will be published in October.
This text originally appeared in the July 30, 2012 issue of TIME magazine.
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