Need a mystery solved? Live in Idaville? Got a quarter to spare? Then look no further than Encyclopedia Brown, boy detective.
Puffin Books continues to reissue the original collections of Donald J. Sobol’s grade-school Sherlock, including 1968’s “Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All,” the fifth in the series. They’re just as I remembered them from nearly three decades ago, right down to Leonard Shortall’s nifty little illustrations.
In the 10 mini-mysteries that comprise “Solves Them All,” Brown matches wits against neighborhood nemesis Bugs Meany, defends the honor of a war hero, cracks a circus theft, helps out a burgled bachelor, unravels a beauty shop robbery, thwarts a would-be dog killer and shames a snake-oil salesman, among other feats of deductive know-how.
Aside from Sobol’s easy, attention-holding style, the most enjoyable aspect about the Encyclopedia Brown series is that the solutions are tucked away in the back, challenging young readers to try and figure them out first. A little logic goes a long way, from one generation to another.