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Donald J. Sobol. October 4, 1924 – July 11, 2012. R.I.P.

One of our favorite authors has passed away.

Donald J. Sobol, who wrote more than 80 children’s books has passed away due to lymphoma.

We can’t tell you the number of time we went to the library to get his books. We loved his “Encyclopedia Brown” series for which he was most famous.

His books taught us that reading could be more than words on a page. One could be a detective and think critically, solving police cases which adults could not. We sent some of his books to a friend of ours whose young daughter became a fan as well. Sobol’s books are timeless to young minds.

Sobol was a World War II veteran, serving in the Pacific as a member of the Army Corps of Engineers.

After the war, Sobol started as a copy boy for the New York Sun until he was eventually promoted to being a reporter and then moved to Florida in 1949 to write full time.

He started writing the syndicated series Two-Minute Mysteries in 1959, starring criminologist Dr. Haledjian. It proved very popular and ran for more than ten years. In 1963, he started writing the Encyclopedia Brown series, featuring amateur sleuth Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown. Compared with the Two-Minute Mysteries series, which features crimes as serious as murder, the Encyclopedia Brown books are more juvenile-oriented, often dealing with matters such as pranks or petty theft. Sobol’s Encyclopedia Brown titles have never been out of print and have been translated into twelve languages. In 1975, the Mystery Writers of America honored Sobol and his Encyclopedia Brown series with a Special Edgar Award. In 2007, Sobol released a new Encyclopedia Brown book, Encyclopedia Brown Cracks The Case.

I am totally unqualified to be a writer,” Mr. Sobol once wrote. “My childhood was unimpoverished and joyful. Even worse, I loved and admired my parents.”

In his mind, he may have been “unqualified,” but generations of readers – young and old alike – would all agree his writing was outstanding.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Rose Tiplitz Sobol of South Miami; three children, Diane Sobol of Coral Gables, Fla., Eric Sobol of Sarasota, Fla., and John Sobol of Berkeley Heights, N.J.; a sister; and four grandchildren. A son, Glenn Sobol, died in 1983.

Donald J. Sobol, the creater of the “American Sherlock Holmes in sneakers” was 87 at the time of his death.

Rest in peace.



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