Apparently last week the world lost children literature author and Encyclopedia Brown creator, Donald Sobol.
Most kids my age grew up reading the books. I tried to get my son interested in the series more recently, but could not get him hooked on it. I may need to try a harder sell.
Reading the obituary, I was impressed to learn that Sobol wrote almost until the end of his life. In fact, this October will see the release of the 28th book in the series, Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme.
In the wake of his death, I went looking for an interview with Sobol. I was fortunate enough to discover Just My Show: The Retro Pop Culture Podcast. Back in 2007, the show interviewed him and he shared how he kept the books ageless. He noted that he once referred to an expensive car in one of the earlier books and quoted the cost of the car ($5,000). Of course, by today’s standards, that’s not a substantial amount for a car–and Sobol expressed his appreciation that in revised releases of the book the cost had been edited.
Also in the interview, Sobol referenced newspaper column of his, the Two-Minute Mystery, that lead to him pursuing Encyclopedia Brown. Thanks to Google News’ archives, I was able to find one of the columns from 1967.
Sobol’s impact on writers and readers is far reaching, as evidenced by this tribute by crime novelist Jonathan Hayes on NPR.
Thanks for enriching a lot of folks’ childhood reading, Mr. Sobol.