'Encyclopedia Brown' Author Dies At 87

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Donald Sobol, author of the popular Encyclopedia Brown series died last week in Miami. Sobol's first big success in writing came in 1958, with his syndicated column, Two-Minute Mysteries.


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.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from