Donald J. Sobol, creator of the enduring popular Encyclopedia Brown children's detective series, has written his last case. Sobol, who has died at the age of 87, wrote a total of 28 books in the best-selling series, starting in 1963 and finishing with Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme, which will be published this fall. The books, starring 10-year-old Leroy Brown and his sidekick Sally Kimball, gave readers a chance to crack the case before Brown did, "which was a smart move by Sobol to let youthful, aspiring detectives participate in solving each crime story," writes Ethan Gilsdorf at Wired.
Sokol, a native of New York City, became a reporter at the New York Sun after serving in a combat engineer battalion in the Pacific in World War II. His first book was rejected more than two dozen times but he went on to write more than 80, including many nonfiction works. The Brown books sold millions of copies worldwide and were translated into 12 languages but Sobol, who kept writing until the end, never grew rich from his creation, his son says. "My father was not a businessman," he tells the New York Times. "His contribution was sort of inversely proportional to his financial compensation. He lived a comfortable middle-class life."