Award winning author Donald J. Sobol is best known for his popular books featuring ten-year-old Leroy Brown, whose nickname “Encyclopedia” says volumes about his mystery-solving qualifications. The author’s own expertise in combining facts and fun has ensured the Encyclopedia Brown books a solid place with successive generations of young readers since their advent (Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective) in 1963.
Mr. Sobol has commented that he tries to write the kind of books he wanted to read as a child but couldn't find. This is something he has ably achieved. About his mystery stories he has said, “Outwitting you, the reader, is hard, but harder still is making you laugh. I try above all else to entertain . . .I hope to be making children laugh for decades to come.” As so many of his titles are still in print, this is quite likely to happen!
After serving with the Army Corp of Engineers during World War II, Mr. Sobol attended Oberlin College, where a short story class sparked an unexpected interest in writing. Later, in the mid-fifties, at the time of his marriage to Rose Tiplitz, he began to write full time.
The author’s early nonfiction work, including that done under his editorship, reflects a talent for in-depth historical research in which many little or unknown facts are turned up and freshly presented to the reader. In his first novel for children, The Double Quest (1957), a story set firmly in the 12th century England of jousting, intrigue and rebellion, the solutions to two major mysteries are central to the plot; and this is in addition to its overall theme, suggested by an unsolved historical mystery. By the 60’s Mr. Sobol was writing contemporary mystery stories. His historical research has remained evident in the twists and turns the plot follows. Fascination with the thousands of little mysteries hidden in man’s past is thus happily joined to Mr. Sobol’s gift of taking forgotten facts and possibilities and weaving them into humorous, plausible plots for readers young and old.
Mr. Sobol and his wife Rose live in Florida where the author’s many interests, most of which have found their way into his stories from time to time, have included restoring antique cars, boating, scuba diving and gardening.