The 10 Most Ridiculously Difficult Encyclopedia Brown Mysteries
August 30, 2011 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Enclyclopedia Brown is a children's fiction series written by Donald J. Sobol since 1963 and still very popular today. These are the 10 most ridiculously difficult mysteries in the series and baffling as to how a child is supposed to be able to solve them.
posted by rozomon (137 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
*Encyclopedia
posted by rozomon at 3:48 PM on August 30, 2011


I solved exactly ONE of the Encyclopedia Brown mysteries as a kid and I felt like a fucking CHAMPION when I did it. They were excruciatingly difficult but always gave an "a-ha" moment. God, I loved that shit.

That and Nate the Great. That kid LOVED his grape jelly.
posted by disillusioned at 3:49 PM on August 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ok, now I don't feel so bad about not solving any of those puzzles. I felt pretty dumb as a kid when I couldn't figure them out.
posted by hot_monster at 3:50 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I may be hallucinating this, but didn't he once solve a case by recognizing the bad guys as being British because they mis-named "My Country 'Tis of Thee" as "God Save the King"?
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:52 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


My mom gave me a set of Encyclopedia Brown books when I was a little kid and mentioned they were some of her favorite books as a kid (she still reads mystery books to this day). I was skeptical since I could rarely solve anything beyond a basic Scooby Doo type TV show.

The first book I read, the solution was that EB figured out the crook was left handed and figured out who did it because one suspect had shaved their face better on one side, as a left-hander would. I practically threw the book at my mom declaring it was total bullshit, how in the hell was 7 year-old me supposed to figure stuff out about how adult men shave?!

My mom said give it a second chance so I read another book and all I remember is that it involved some long lost cousin driving across the country to see EB and they had a baby who they set on top of the car's hood for a second and Encyclopedia Brown accused them of lying and I didn't know why. The solution was that the hood of the car would be too hot after such a long drive for a baby to sit on it, and I told my mom that again, that was a bullshit story that I had no idea how to solve since I didn't drive yet or even notice how cars worked.

I didn't read them ever again.
posted by mathowie at 3:54 PM on August 30, 2011 [56 favorites]


It wouldn't surprise me to find that Donald J. Sobol and Law & Order's Dick Wolf were somehow related.
posted by bionic.junkie at 3:54 PM on August 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I still remember things I learned from Encyclopedia Brown -- for instance, squirrels don't back down trees.

However, it isn't as much of a compliment to be called a "walking encyclopedia" as an 11-year-old as you'd think. My next-door neighbor's mother lobbed that at me one time, and it was years before I realized she didn't mean it in a nice way.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:54 PM on August 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


Did this guy sit down and re-read these ? Can he give me synopses of the Hardy Boys books next? I must have read dozens and I don't even remember the boys first names.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:56 PM on August 30, 2011


I prefer the mysteries of Wikipedia Brown where it turns out the culprit is dicks shit lol obamasuxxxxx anonimus 4eva
posted by griphus at 3:57 PM on August 30, 2011 [84 favorites]


Encyclopedia Brown taught me the important life lesson of how to be a smartass know-it-all, and piss of all my friends.
posted by TheCoug at 3:59 PM on August 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


This from TV Tropes, featuring a quote from MeFi!
posted by Lucinda at 4:00 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


all I remember is that it involved some long lost cousin driving across the country to see EB and they had a baby who they set on top of the car's hood for a second and Encyclopedia Brown accused them of lying and I didn't know why. The solution was that the hood of the car would be too hot after such a long drive for a baby to sit on it, and I told my mom that again, that was a bullshit story that I had no idea how to solve since I didn't drive yet or even notice how cars worked.

I was going to make this exact same comment.
posted by LionIndex at 4:00 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Previously-ish: Wikipedia Brown
posted by fings at 4:01 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I loved these stories, though I don't think I solved any at the time (I think I solved most of them this time, so FUCK YOU DONALD J. SOBOL).

Coincidentally, the one about Bull Run is the only story I remembered the solution to this day. FUCK YOU! Oh fuck you so hard, Sobol. How was I supposed to know any of this shit?

Can he give me synopses of the Hardy Boys books next? I must have read dozens and I don't even remember the boys first names.

I collected every single one of them, and I can't recall either. I do remember they had a friend named Chet (I think), and he always would greet them with "Hello, chums!" Even as a little boy, I thought that was incredibly annoying. Hello chums? Fuck you too, Franklin W. Dixon!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:01 PM on August 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's supposed to be "baffling" as to why a sword that says "The First Battle of Bull Run" on it is a fake? Agreed on some of the others, but this is a fairly simple riddle, one of the ones I easily solved as a kid (why would an authentic item have "The First Battle Of Anything" written on it, since nobody knew there'd be a second one?) Same with the ice-made-of-ginger-ale puzzle. Neither requires any knowledge of obscure, petticoats-only-go-under-dresses-but-not-if-your-phone-number-starts-with-Z "facts".
posted by vorfeed at 4:01 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


hI prefer the mysteries of Wikipedia Brown where it turns out the culprit is dicks shit lol obamasuxxxxx anonimus 4eva

Adam Cadre beat you to it.
preview: jinx!
posted by en forme de poire at 4:01 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also there's Google Chan, at your service.
posted by griphus at 4:04 PM on August 30, 2011


i still, to this day, purposely pull things out of my left pocket with my right hand just to prove that smarmy Brown kid wrong ... even though he's technically correct that it is pretty difficult to do so. can't remember the name of the mystery, but one of the suspects had a broken arm and therefore couldn't reach into the pocket that the perp would have had to pull whatever it was out of it.

(how's that for vague remembrances of Encyclopedia Brown?!?!)
posted by kuppajava at 4:05 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


That 'a narrow flight'/'an arrow flight' one really ticked me off.
posted by box at 4:05 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember reading some of these as a kid (and even having some read to me). I remember very little about them except that Encyclopedia Brown always seemed like a bit of a dick. Sure, he solved crimes, but the whole "walking encyclopedia" thing made him seem kind of arrogant, from what I recall.
posted by asnider at 4:06 PM on August 30, 2011


Allegedly the reason clocks have "IIII" on them instead of "IV" is that IV is the first two letter of IVPITER (aka Jupiter) and the Romans or someone classical felt that was bad luck. Allegedly.
posted by GuyZero at 4:07 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Who says you're supposed to solve the mysteries? They're novels, not Where's Waldo books.
posted by scrowdid at 4:07 PM on August 30, 2011 [18 favorites]


The solution was that the hood of the car would be too hot after such a long drive for a baby to sit on it

I threw the same book after the same story, but for a different reason. I grew up in Arizona. ALL CAR HOODS WERE TOO HOT TO TOUCH.
posted by darksasami at 4:08 PM on August 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


@kuppajava That's the "The Case of the Toy Locomotive" from "Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Jumping Frogs". I literally just read that one minutes ago.
posted by rozomon at 4:08 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


*Cries

(my mom bought our first world books because of that rascal)
posted by clavdivs at 4:09 PM on August 30, 2011


Thanks for this post, rozomon! I loved the Encyclopedia Brown newspaper strip so much as a kid. Those stories, along with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries, and the occasional Hitchcock and Ellery Queen anthology were endlessly addictive and diverting. In a confusing and often disappointing world, they showed that some problems really do have clear cut solutions if you know how to look for them, and gave me hope.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:09 PM on August 30, 2011


Dr. Haledjian could solve these, and in a mere two minutes.

How did Dr. Haledjian outwit the criminals so quickly?





sɹǝʍsuɐ ǝɥʇ ʇɐ pǝʞool puɐ uʍop ǝpısdn ʞooq ǝɥʇ plǝɥ ǝɥ

posted by not_on_display at 4:10 PM on August 30, 2011 [15 favorites]


He had a series of books called Two Minute Mysteries which were really enjoyable for me as a kid. The puzzles weren't so wretched as EB. Being able to solve many of them was quite rewarding. Over all, they really helped train me to be observant instead of oblivious, a skill that stays with me to this day.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:10 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Encyclopedia Brown makes a lot more sense once you realize Donald Sobol is the same guy who wrote/writes the "Two Minute Mysteries". You aren't supposed to be able to figure out either one--they are just trivia in "mystery" form.
posted by DU at 4:13 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is an outrageous trend! I also found out that half the shit the Mad Scientists Club did doesn't work in real life.
The hard way.
posted by localroger at 4:13 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Mad Scientists Club is 100% pure fact. Also the Three Investigators. I was willing, nay, eager, to be Jupiter Jones even if it meant I was going to be fat.
posted by DU at 4:15 PM on August 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


To this day I check the date on handwritten checks to see if they're written for a date that doesn't exist, a la Bugs Meany's secret pitch.

Also, I thought it was way cool his best friend was a girl who could kick his ass.
posted by Mooski at 4:15 PM on August 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


I get the "no seven-year-old could know this!" complaint but.. didn't you ever go and look things up first? Books like this, and games like Where in is Carmen Sandiego? I look at as learning tools more than anything else. Something to guide you as you look up random facts and trivia.
posted by curious nu at 4:21 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I had a crush on Sally Kimball for years there.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:21 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


mathowie: "The solution was that the hood of the car would be too hot after such a long drive for a baby to sit on it,"

Which is especially bullshit because I've never, ever driven a car where the hood would get too hot to touch after a long drive.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:23 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, when I was growing up, we solved hard cases like Encyclopedia Brown did. You kids these days, you can't even solve Slylock Fox half the time!

To be fair, I can't even understand Slylock Fox half the time. That fox is a loser. But never mind that! Get out of my garage-based detective agency!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:24 PM on August 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


I also found out that half the shit the Mad Scientists Club did doesn't work in real life.

The thing that bugged me about Mad Scientist's club was that, no kid I knew that age had income, let along adult-levels of income, and the gear they were throwing around - even the cheapest radio control gear - back in those days, cost the equivalent of thousands of dollars. And they use it in ways where they might not get it back, without a second thought, like it's in unlimited supply :-/
posted by -harlequin- at 4:25 PM on August 30, 2011


The first book I read, the solution was that EB figured out the crook was left handed and figured out who did it because one suspect had shaved their face better on one side, as a left-hander would. I practically threw the book at my mom declaring it was total bullshit, how in the hell was 7 year-old me supposed to figure stuff out about how adult men shave?!

I distinctly remember this one, too. It's haunted me for 25-odd years. My recollection is that EB worked it out without even seeing the crook, after hearing a witness observe that one of his ears was higher than the other - allegedly an illusion caused by one of his sideburns being shaved slightly longer than the other, thereby proving his left-handedness. Uh, what!?

Another solution I remember as being equally tenuous: EB worked out that a woman who had hailed a taxi was actually the male crook in drag. The clue? (S)he had told the driver where (s)he wanted to go before getting into the car. Apparently real (ie. biological) women sit down and get comfortable before announcing the destination. Again, what!?

At 8 or 9 years of age, I decided two things: a) the reader wasn't ever actually expected to solve the mystery, just to think, 'Ah, clever!' when the solution was revealed; and b) it wasn't clever at all, just bullshit lazy hack writing. I feel the same way about CSI, House, etc.
posted by Soulfather at 4:25 PM on August 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


You kids these days, you can't even solve Slylock Fox half the time!

I was usually able to solve Slylock Fox, but I'd always get pissed off when solving the mystery has nothing to do with the actual comic, since you'd normally look for clues in the actual illustration. I'd always get thrown off when you didn't have to look for visual clues.
posted by asnider at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


All that needed to be done was some silly explanation - they had an uncle who ran an electronics store and gave them heaps of stuff every year - so it WAS replaceable without an income, and it would have gone a long way towards believability.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2011


I don't read a lot of mysteries, but I used to love these books. Why all the hate about not being able to figure them out? The point was that during the pause, you would come up with whatever you thought was a plausible explanation. You'd pore over every detail of the story for clues, and come up with your own theory. To me that's the fun part about a mystery. Sure, sometimes the explanation sucked but the whole point was to encourage you to think critically, wasn't it?
posted by Hoopo at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I still have all of my EB books and love them, but really, Leroy was a little factualist -- the kid who actually bothered to learn things because, let's face it, Idaville was boring and his dad would have probably been fired as police chief if his own kid didn't step in and keep dad employed by doing his work forhim.

Mind you, there is a lot of nitpicking in that post, and I am sort of getting bored of the make-fun-of-EB-meme...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 4:27 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


a) the reader wasn't ever actually expected to solve the mystery, just to think, 'Ah, clever!' when the solution was revealed

Are you EVER expected to be able to solve the mystery? That's the whole point of reading mysteries: the suspense waiting for the reveal.
posted by Hoopo at 4:29 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now I wanna go back and watch Mystery Team again...

Anyone remember the EB show on HBO?
posted by inturnaround at 4:29 PM on August 30, 2011


The "Try... Sarah... Topps..." mystery might have fooled kids who didn't know shit about dinosaurs, but I grew up in the 80s, when EVERYTHING was dinosaurs.

I could have sworn Donald J. Sobol wrote a really dark juvenile novel about counterfeiters, featuring a dead kid and the "cauterized wounds can seal themselves up" factoid, but I might be confusing the plot of Secret Agents Four with some of the execrable Hardy Boys Casefiles: Threat Level Midnight YA novels I had a penchant for in late elementary school.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:30 PM on August 30, 2011


The only one I remember is the one Sally solved because she knew that you couldn't file your nails right out of the bath without fucking them up, and so clearly it was the prissy girl out on the beach dangerously kite-fighting, rather than taking a bath as she claimed! I have no idea why that stuck with me. It's not like I'm into kite-fighting. Or am I?!
posted by grapesaresour at 4:30 PM on August 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Was there an Encyclopedia Brown story with a secret submarine that was being towed behind an airplane, or did I make that up? I remember something like that being my "I give up" point because I mean, really? Secret flying submarine?
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 4:31 PM on August 30, 2011


I remember the one where the crying girl was the guilty party because, apparently, if you only cry one tear, the tear falls from the inside corner of your eye.
posted by freshwater at 4:33 PM on August 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


I was usually able to solve Slylock Fox, but I'd always get pissed off when solving the mystery has nothing to do with the actual comic, since you'd normally look for clues in the actual illustration. I'd always get thrown off when you didn't have to look for visual clues.

Kids these days are also evidently into making excuses for their poor mystery-solving performances. When I was a kid, do you think I cried when I was locked in a closet for three days for failing to solve an Encyclopedia Brown case? No! It was a just punishment for my weakness, and it made me study obscure facts about baseball etiquette all the harder.

Because, by God, we cared in those days!
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:37 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal, I think THAT was Secret Agents Four.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:37 PM on August 30, 2011


I loved Encyclopedia Brown as a kid, but what pissed me off more than any of the ones from this list (the only one I remember is the ginger ale one) were the ones where not enough information was in the story to determine the bad guy yourself. I distinctly remember one story that involved a stolen sandwich which Encyclopedia solved (after the primary narrative was finished) by waiting near the drinking fountain to see who was suspiciously thirsty (apparently the sandwich had extra spicy mustard or something). Does anyone else remember that one?

I may be hallucinating this, but didn't he once solve a case by recognizing the bad guys as being British because they mis-named "My Country 'Tis of Thee" as "God Save the King"?

I remember this one too, but I think it was the other way around: a British guy said he heard "My Country 'Tis of Thee" playing while standing outside of a concert as part of his alabi, whereas if he'd really heard it instead of just looking at the program, he would have called it "God Save the King." That one also sucked.

He had a series of books called Two Minute Mysteries which were really enjoyable for me as a kid. The puzzles weren't so wretched as EB. Being able to solve many of them was quite rewarding. Over all, they really helped train me to be observant instead of oblivious, a skill that stays with me to this day.

IIRC, there was enough overlap between the plots of Encyclopedia Brown and Two Minute Mysteries that I always considered them to be essentially the same books, but written for different audiences.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 4:38 PM on August 30, 2011


GuyZero: "Allegedly the reason clocks have "IIII" on them instead of "IV" is that IV is the first two letter of IVPITER (aka Jupiter) and the Romans or someone classical felt that was bad luck. Allegedly."

Wouldn't it just be that IV and VI could easily be confused on the face of a watch?


joe lisboa: "Yeah, I had a crush on Sally Kimball for years there."

My first TV crush was Sally Kimball from the Encyclopedia Brown series they used to have on HBO. It's been ages since I watched any of the video tapes I've still got around somewhere, but my memory is that it's most charitably described as "uneven". They definitely broke out that exact Civil War sword thing, though.
posted by Copronymus at 4:43 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


(apparently the sandwich had extra spicy mustard or something)

It was lox. Did anybody outside of New York know what lox was? I know I had to look it up.
posted by darksasami at 4:44 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Encyclopedia Brown and the Missing Balls
posted by mikelieman at 4:46 PM on August 30, 2011


I remember the one where the crying girl was the guilty party because, apparently, if you only cry one tear, the tear falls from the inside corner of your eye.

TVTropes says no
I believed this to be 100% true, until 30 seconds ago, when I read the TVTropes page.
posted by BungaDunga at 4:46 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I remember one in which the solution to the mystery hinged on the supposed fact that squirrels don't back down trees, they always go down head-first. For 35 years, every time I have seen a squirrel back partway down a tree (as they do, from time to time, though the head-first method is clearly their preferred way), I think to myself, "So there, Encyclopedia Brown!"
posted by not that girl at 4:47 PM on August 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's funny, we just read the EB series with our son a couple of years ago. He loved 'em (he was 7-8 at the time), but he rarely figured them out. I remember really liking them myself as a kid, but i think I was a year or two older. They've actually aged better than one might think -- certainly better than the hardy Boys, which we also re-read. (And let me give a shout out to poor, poor Chet Morton, the perpetual wingman to Frank and Joe, who was doomed to being referred to as either "stout" or "Big McLarge Huge" in every. fucking. book. Damn you, Franklin B. Dixon writing collective, give the big guy a break.)

I had to chuckle, though, at the one story where the plot hinges on the kid smoking coffee grounds in the woods. Tried explaining THAT one to our son as an example of "Don't do this. No, really: DON'T DO THIS! Nothing remotely good will come of it."
posted by mosk at 4:49 PM on August 30, 2011


I remember that illustration of the blind guy reaching into the safe for the ginger ale!

Also, because of EB, I always know that there's going to be a Friday the 13th if the 1st is a Sunday. (Something about an April Fool's joke? And an elephant?)
posted by epersonae at 4:50 PM on August 30, 2011


This will probably save an AskMe...

What was the title of the story in which some puny kid is forced to undress by a girl threatening him with, possibly, a sock full of coins?
posted by Trurl at 4:54 PM on August 30, 2011


Children were smarter back then.
posted by Renoroc at 4:57 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have the same problem with fucking Gattaca that I have with Encyclopedia Brown. Everything about that movie was pretty cool up until the end- righties and lefties don't hold it in the opposite hand when they pee? BULLSHIT! Bugs Meany should kick the ass of anyone involved with that film!

(I now picture Bugs Meany looking like Nelson from the Simpsons)
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:58 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was lox. Did anybody outside of New York know what lox was?

They did if they were Jewish.
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I now picture Bugs Meany looking like Nelson from the Simpsons)

Based on the illustrations he looked more like Jughead with a hangover.
posted by jonmc at 5:00 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jupe, Pete or Robert?
posted by anigbrowl at 5:03 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hah! When I was a kid, I thought a fair number of these were obvious. Of course the ice cubes melted, you dope! And the First Battle of Anything is obviously fake, because it couldn't commemorate the event until, you know, afterwards.

But then, I was a deeply nerdy kid who read encyclopedias for fun.
posted by klangklangston at 5:05 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Mad Scientists Club is 100% pure fact.

YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH.

The Mad Scientist's Club has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN to be at least 8500% pure fact.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:06 PM on August 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


I remember the white meat/dark meat story because as a kid, I ate duck once and it gelled in my brain the white meat/dark meat breast/wings connection.

But lol: would you really try to challenge a group of isolated strangers who have just proven that they can slaughter and cook a goose, and then lie to innocent children about it?
posted by artifarce at 5:09 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I loved Encyclopedia Brown, because I was also a know-it-all little shit. At least he got to solve mysteries. All I got were rolled eyes and barely-suppressed grimaces when I went off on a hyper-focused tangent.

Several of these rang a bell for me, but the one that has always stuck with me was when there was a vocabulary bee at school, and some sort of cheating scheme was revealed when a girl who called herself a bookkeeper didn't answer the question, 'What's the only English word with three consecutive sets of double letters?' I bet a month hasn't gone by since I first read that one that I haven't rolled bookkeeper around in my head a little.
posted by sugarfish at 5:15 PM on August 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


My bookthrowing moment was when EB knew a person dressed as a woman was really a man because he walked on the sidewalk on the wrong side of the man he was with, and no lady would do that (?!).
posted by gubo at 5:15 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Mad Scientist's Club has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN to be at least 8500% pure fact.

This comment deserves 85 favorites.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:17 PM on August 30, 2011


The thing that bugged me about Mad Scientist's club was that, no kid I knew that age had income, let along adult-levels of income, and the gear they were throwing around

It's not just about science when you can buy a submarine for $3.50.
posted by localroger at 5:17 PM on August 30, 2011


the one that has always stuck with me was when there was a vocabulary bee at school, and some sort of cheating scheme was revealed when a girl who called herself a bookkeeper didn't answer the question, 'What's the only English word with three consecutive sets of double letters?'

OMG, this. I just literally thought about this yesterday. Sad, but true.
posted by joe lisboa at 5:21 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Key points I remember about Encyclopaedia Brown.

1. Idaville had at least 2 synagogues. Idaville? Really?

2. My dad got annoyed when he read them to me. That was how I learned about rules of evidence.
posted by awenner at 5:36 PM on August 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


I read them years and years ago, and still reach into my left pocket with my right hand at times, just to stick it to Encyclopedia. The "first tear comes from the inside corner of your eye" stuck in my head also, as well as the egg-spinning competition. EB was at the soda fountain with the story's undefeated egg-spinning champion, who was practicing on the counter. When the egg fell off the counter, the soda jerk said "I'll grab a broom," which was a horrifically clumsy way to show that something was up with that egg. Of course Encyclopedia figures out that it was hard-boiled. But if you drop a hard-boiled egg, there's nothing to sweep up. You just pick it up.

Does it strike anyone else how consistently the suspected villain who protests their innocence turns out to be a lying criminal who just needs to be proven wrong? The person who looks suspicious is always the culprit.
posted by lostburner at 5:45 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


All the hate is making me sad for your childhoods. So there.
(for some reason the kid with the peg leg comes to mind. Ow.)
posted by canine epigram at 5:48 PM on August 30, 2011


My two Encyclopedia bête noires (though he'd probably call them bêtes noire, the little pedant):

One where it was assumed that I would know that flying the American flag upside down was a commonly known signal that one was besieged by bloodthirsty "Indians", and another where it was clear that a girl was really a boy in drag because when an object was thrown in his lap he clasped his knees together to try and catch it (as a pants-wearing boy would do) instead of spreading his knees apart so that his skirts could catch the item (as any real girl would do).

Gah.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:49 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Other than the fact that most children or adults don't eat geese - aside from their fattened and delicious livers

This is a crying shame. Goose is my ultimate favorite bird to eat. No bird is more juicy or delicious as a goose. The livers are fantastic, sure, but I often wonder why Western civilization stopped having celebratory geese, and why we started substituting in dry, tasteless turkey.

Otherwise, I was never upset by being unable to solve an EB puzzle. But I learned a lot of (useless) trivia from reading those books.

Then again, I'm the kid that would read through the entire Trivial Pursuit deck and memorize every single question and answer for fun.

By the way, the answers are Thor Heyerdahl and Canasta.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:51 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I remember so many of these!! The only one I ever got was one where bugs put his "smoothly tanned arms" into a drawer to get his watch. I always wondered a little about those two after that!!

Love them, going to kindle for my girl!!!


Thanks!!
posted by pearlybob at 5:52 PM on August 30, 2011


A girl who called herself a bookkeeper didn't answer the question, 'What's the only English word with three consecutive sets of double letters?' I bet a month hasn't gone by since I first read that one that I haven't rolled bookkeeper around in my head a little.

Me too!

The one that's stuck with me was one where something broke and supposedly fell out of the back of the truck when they stopped for the light, but that was a lie because things continue moving forward if they're going forward. I still think about that when I see things in the back of people's pickups.
posted by wpenman at 6:00 PM on August 30, 2011


another where it was clear that a girl was really a boy in drag because when an object was thrown in his lap he clasped his knees together to try and catch it (as a pants-wearing boy would do) instead of spreading his knees apart so that his skirts could catch the item (as any real girl would do).

I'll gladly hate on E.B., but wasn't that Tom Sawyer? Or maybe Huck Finn?


....

Yep, some searching comes up with this, from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:

"And mind you, when a girl tries to catch anything in her lap she throws her knees apart; she don't clap them together the way you did when you catched the lump of lead. Why, I spotted you for a boy when you was threading the needle, and I contrived the other things just to make certain."
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 6:00 PM on August 30, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'll gladly hate on E.B., but wasn't that Tom Sawyer? Or maybe Huck Finn?

Who do you think you are, Cam Jansen or somebody? Ehn, I'm sure Sobol swiped it from Twain to reuse.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:19 PM on August 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Obligatory Onion Article
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:19 PM on August 30, 2011 [8 favorites]



mathowie: "The solution was that the hood of the car would be too hot after such a long drive for a baby to sit on it,"

Which is especially bullshit because I've never, ever driven a car where the hood would get too hot to touch after a long drive.


actually back in the days these were written the hood temp would have been an issue, but in the mid 1970s car makers began to insulate car hoods to increase gas mileage.

i was given a couple of these to read but never really enjoyed them for some reason. the baby on the car hood was one of the 2 or 3 i've read.
posted by lester at 6:23 PM on August 30, 2011


I always just skipped straight to the solutions after I read the stories - I was never the least bit tempted to try to figure them out. And then the obscure facts about petticoats and Bull Run stuck in my head and made me really boring at parties.
posted by bendy at 6:25 PM on August 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


The thing that bugged me about Mad Scientist's club was that, no kid I knew that age had income, let along adult-levels of income, and the gear they were throwing around

The MSC didn't have adult levels of income. They had like $5 hidden in a jar in Jeff Crocker's barn. Most of the stuff they got they either built or bought surplus. Remember, these were originally published in the days when you could actually get stuff at the Army/Navy Surplus store.

The submarine in particular has a subplot about how they conned the auction to buy the thing, plus it was just a hull, not a full submarine.

I always particularly liked how the MSC had to kind of scrounge around to get parts and gear and didn't have it handed to them like some kids' series did.
posted by DU at 6:26 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


And they didn't buy radio control gear. They built it. They didn't use fine control for these things (remember the hot air balloon they nearly lost? and the lake monster that they got out of range of?), they used simple radio signals. It might cost you more than depicted in the book to build these, but not multiple orders of magnitude more, especially if you cannibalize old radios and things (I think there's a scene in there somewhere where one of them is doing exactly that).
posted by DU at 6:29 PM on August 30, 2011



another where it was clear that a girl was really a boy in drag because when an object was thrown in his lap he clasped his knees together to try and catch it (as a pants-wearing boy would do) instead of spreading his knees apart so that his skirts could catch the item (as any real girl would do).

I'll gladly hate on E.B., but wasn't that Tom Sawyer? Or maybe Huck Finn?


in h. finn, huck is told this by some grandma after he impersonates a girl for a while. she gives him some other advice about throwing and threading a needle, too.
posted by lester at 6:34 PM on August 30, 2011


Absolutely I remember the tear in the inside corner of the eye (and when I looked and saw that's where my tear ducts were, I was pretty impressed). I also remember the 'penguins only live in the south pole, not the north pole'. Another impressive fact for my 8-10 year old self. I might try to do some cross-pocket retrieval tomorrow, if I have time!
posted by bquarters at 6:48 PM on August 30, 2011


IIRC, Incognito Mosquito was super easy.
posted by ifjuly at 7:01 PM on August 30, 2011


Having his son solve the crimes freed up plenty of time for Chief Brown to shakedown the drug dealers of Idaville.
posted by dr_dank at 7:08 PM on August 30, 2011


Oh, man, I remember one that bugged me: The crooks get caught because the guy sits in the corner booth so he can watch the diner, when Sally knows that clearly a woman is always seated facing the room jeez.

And I was like, what about Wild Bill Hickock?
posted by klangklangston at 7:13 PM on August 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


To write an EB story, pick an obscure fact:

Did you know that zebras are black with white stripes? A shaved zebra would be completely black.

Contrive a questionable situation where that fact would matter:

Bugs Meany is trying to sell a horse by claiming its a zebra. He's shaved it and painted it.

Write a brief story:

Johnny came to see EB because he wanted to buy Bugs Meany's zebra. He wanted EB to let him know whether the zebra was real or not. When he visited Bugs Meant's house, he brought out a shaved beast with black and white stripes. "Its a zebra" said Bugs. EB knew he was fibbing. How?

Profit for you and your family for decades
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:20 PM on August 30, 2011 [14 favorites]


I read lots of EB and enjoyed them, but much better books are The Great Brain series. Kind of EB meets Little House on the Prairie.
posted by zardoz at 7:24 PM on August 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


i still, to this day, purposely pull things out of my left pocket with my right hand just to prove that smarmy Brown kid wrong ... even though he's technically correct that it is pretty difficult to do so. can't remember the name of the mystery, but one of the suspects had a broken arm and therefore couldn't reach into the pocket that the perp would have had to pull whatever it was out of it.

(how's that for vague remembrances of Encyclopedia Brown?!?!)


If I half-remember this story half-correctly, the guy was running as he pulled his (car keys?) out of his pocket. That makes it significantly more difficult.

But yes, I also sometimes think about this story as I pull things out of my left pocket with my right hand.
posted by Casuistry at 7:41 PM on August 30, 2011


I was such a nerdy kid too back in the 70s/80s. I read every EB book, and had success on many of the cases. I remember someone was going to win a photograph contest because right at the time of snapping a photograph of a boy lighting a candle it also showed a woman in the window falling from above. Fake-- the window would be like a mirror. But I missed almost all of these ten ones. I guess I'm getting dumber as I age. But yeah, some of these clues and solutions are rather out there.
posted by WilliamMD at 7:42 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


much better books are The Great Brain series.

I was just thinking of those a week or so ago, making a mental note to seek them out when my boys are old enough. I loved them as a kid.
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:57 PM on August 30, 2011


Donald J. Sobol is an anagram of Sherriff Lobo.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:58 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I read lots of EB and enjoyed them, but much better books are The Great Brain series. Kind of EB meets Little House on the Prairie.

I was trying to think of The Great Brain when I made my Cam Jansen joke above, but I couldn't think of it. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:04 PM on August 30, 2011


I was trying to think of The Great Brain when I made my Cam Jansen joke above, but I couldn't think of it.

A cruel person would note that this made it very likely that you only have a Little Brain.

A kinder, brotherly kind of person, like me, would offer not to tell anyone you said this, if you would just show your appreciation by letting me use the bicycle you just got for Christmas for six days a week. As a further kindness, I would let you call it your bicycle in front of our parents, and I would let you use it after school on Mondays, when you need it to complete our chores.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:14 PM on August 30, 2011 [13 favorites]


The Great Brain books are much more closely related to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and much better for it. While the Great Brain, is also a know-it-all asshole, he gets what's coming to him, at least sometimes. Now that I'm older and more cynical, I've occasionally wondered whether the Law or an avenging Bugs Meany, that would first catch up with Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown and put an end to his heinous crimes.
posted by wobh at 8:24 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recognize several of these but I was hoping to see my all-time favorite EB story. A boy shows up who supposedly visited Moscow but EB exposes him when he doesn't recognize the word "restaurant" written in Cyrillic, pronounces it "pec-to-pah" instead.
posted by scalefree at 8:42 PM on August 30, 2011


scalefree, I knew pectopah sounded familiar.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:49 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read lots of EB and enjoyed them, but much better books are The Great Brain series.

I regret that I can only favorite this once. The Great Brain series made young me feel like being smart was okay, if not desirable.

I wish my dad was smart enough to be an early adopter of the toilet.
posted by Sphinx at 8:57 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Great Brain books were the best! I remember thinking it would be so awful to be thrown in bed with your brothers/sisters when you had a contagious illness so everyone would get it 'at the same time'. But then my brother and I had chicken pox at the same time anyway. Also...it made me want to go to boarding school where we could get up to various hijinks, eat candy and hide among statues. Alas, it wasn't to be. But ..we did have an indoor toilet.
posted by bquarters at 9:18 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Great Brain series

And now for the quadfecta of that sort of kid's / young adult books, please allow me to mention Henry Reed and also Alvin's Swap Shop.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:19 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


(It's funny how these things clump -- I couldn't remember the exact title of the swap-shop book, so I googled for the bits I remembered -- "swap shop book eleuthera." And in the first comment/review on the Amazon page, the person mentions how this book reminds him of Henry Reed, the Mad Scientists, and Encyclopedia Brown)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:20 PM on August 30, 2011


I was going to write that I credit the Encyclopedia Brown series for teaching me that odd numbered pages are always on the right-hand side of a book based on a EB story where a character was caught in a lie by claiming that he left a $2 bill tucked between the odd and even numbered pages of a book (which would have been impossible since they are opposite sides of the same physical piece of paper). But then I had to grab a book to figure out what the correct order is so I guess the lesson didn't stick.
posted by The Gooch at 9:39 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't believe how many things I originally learned from Encyclopedia Brown.
posted by dame at 9:56 PM on August 30, 2011


I'm going to whip up a little theory here, from the perspective of these books as teaching tools:

The cases being ridiculously difficult to solve due to the obscurity of the key facts is part of the point. If the solutions were obvious, readers would "get" them without having to consciously work through the problems. It is in this conscious problem-solving process that the magic of learning how to think critically/logically happens. First, in thinking through the facts to try to construct a plausible explanation (especially after you've read a few and learned the EB formula -- I'm looking at you, book-throwers!), and then, once the key fact has been revealed, thinking through the facts again to replicate EB's sleuthing in your own mind. Some valuable insights can be gained from comparing your own process to EB's and trying to get the two to converge. Even if for some cases, it would be impossible to get to the answer from the information provided in the book, you should at least be able to figure out what info you're lacking (which EB will dutifully collect for you once you turn the page). That is an extremely important part of problem solving. In the real world, when you're solving problems, no one lays all the facts out in front of you. You have to search for them. And more importantly, you have to know what to search for.

I think the argument could also be made that the books are good at fostering connections between different mental processes -- e.g. logical, visual, auditory. There were some solutions that didn't rely on obscure facts but rather the ability to think about the problem visually. I remember one about a candle and a door that had supposedly been left open, and EB's insight was that the candle wax had dripped in the opposite direction from what you'd expect if the door had been open (due to the breeze). There were others, like the bookkeeper example mentioned upthread (I'm trying to remember why I always think of bubblegum when I think of that case...), or the one that worked off of the flour/flower homonym, that required the involvement of the language center. I think this is all great stuff for a kid to be exposed to.

If you're looking for the instant gratification you'd get from, say, crime-fighting in a video game, you're going to be sorely disappointed. But that's not what I read them for. Like others have said, I still get flashbacks to EB every so often, demonstrating that (for better or worse!) the books had a profound impact on my thought processes.
posted by mantecol at 10:04 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think this was an EB...might have been a two-minute mystery though. Someone claimed to have been awakened by thunder, then they saw some crime out their window when lightning flashed. But lightning always comes BEFORE thunder, so this was a lie. Think about that every storm...
posted by GaelFC at 10:33 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love that one where he solves the mystery of whether Apple is better than Microsoft. He noticed that Steve Jobs had pancreatic cancer but claimed to have created the world's most valuable company from a niche computer store. Not a "lie" as such but obviously he had help, and ergo the Venusians were involved, and Apple users were being turned into their robotic mind-slaves. So we should all buy PCs. Thanks, 'Cyco Brown!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 12:36 AM on August 31, 2011


Thanks to Encyclopedia Brown, I know that even numbered buildings are on one side of a street and odd ones are opposite. Also, I almost always pick the chair facing the room in a restaurant, because women like to be seen. (That was another "Sally beats Encyclopedia to the answer" story.)
posted by TrishaLynn at 5:16 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bought one of these for my child. Now I remember how awful they were. I'm not buying any more.

Christ, what an asshole. To hell with this guy.

But thanks for mentioning the Mad Scientists Club. Now those I will buy again - they were pretty cool.
posted by etherist at 5:51 AM on August 31, 2011


Wow, lots of hating on Encyclopedia here. Is MeFi a sinister regrouping of the Tigers?

I don't remember him as being *such* an asshole. A little cocksure, and waaay ahead of what logic or facts available to the reader would compel. But you've got to remember that in his fictional universe, he *was* always right. (It's kind of a wonder that he didn't up his price, or abuse his power by falsely accusing people or extorting money from them, or coercing them into calling him Colt or something instead.) And he was either Bugs's or Sally's bitch, depending on the day, and his dad ended up taking tons of credit for the police department. Basically, Encyclopedia had amazing intuition and an extraordinary command of factoids irrelevant to anything but solving the mysteries. I think he was terrified by his powers and lived in constant fear and dread -- I mean, he saw guilty people.

And one day, by noting the moss on a tree and the date on a nickel, he learned that he had cancer.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:13 AM on August 31, 2011 [7 favorites]


I read and loved Encyclopedia Brown books as a child, but rarely could solve the mystery. I would often read the solution before the story so I could at least follow the clues knowing what was going to happen (no I'm not a cheater, it's my learning style!).

I remember in high school some kids were talking about "those Encyclopedia Brown books we used to read. They were always so easy to solve!" Everyone agreed. I held my tongue and cursed my ignorance.

Thank you MetaFilter for showing me that I am not alone.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 7:12 AM on August 31, 2011


Party game: Take turns recalling Encyclopedia Brown solutions. My wife and (adult) son are ridiculously good at this, remembering many solutions verbatim. I usually come up with the lame ones (ancient coin wouldn't have "B.C." on it, etc.)
posted by Gull City at 7:26 AM on August 31, 2011


Not an EB, but a 2 minute mystery that has stuck in my mind as a WTF. The detective knew that the suspect had edited the movie of whatever the crime was after he grabbed the movie reel off the projector. He knew this because when the movie was viewed later at the police station it was not running backwards. The fact that the movie did not run backwards or that it was later watched at the police station was not stated until the solution. The "crucial clue" was not in the mystery. Book throwing did not ensue, as my dad was the one holding the book. But that has always bothered me.

That and the one where the murderer was discovered because the man had the phone to his ear and there was a dial tone. I guessed as a kid, not knowing how phone systems worked that he would have not have had a dial tone unless his phone had been hung up. Which was the solution. Of course, this is complete bullshit.

I don't remember the issues being this flagrant in the EB series, but I didn't read them out loud with my dad and try to figure out the solutions.
posted by Hactar at 7:36 AM on August 31, 2011


My bugaboo (Bugs-aboo?) was the one where they apparently hid a coin or something under the condiments on a hot dog. Encyclopedia figured it out because EVERYONE knows you don't put mustard on TOP of the sauerkraut! That would be GROSS!

I think about these books every time I see a flag flying too late at night without proper illumination, or in the rain. I think that one was the one at the fort, where he makes the tour guide look like a dumbass. I'll bet he got kicked off that tour.
posted by Madamina at 7:56 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I often wonder why Western civilization stopped having celebratory geese, and why we started substituting in dry, tasteless turkey.

It's still pretty common in Germany. And yes, deeeeeelicious.

I've never read any EB but that list gave me major Sherlock Holmes flashbacks. I know the reader wasn't supposed to solve those cases, but the crazy conclusion jumping was just as annoying. Also, the smugness.
posted by pishposh at 8:24 AM on August 31, 2011


My bookthrowing moment was when EB knew a person dressed as a woman was really a man because he walked on the sidewalk on the wrong side of the man he was with, and no lady would do that (?!).

That actually may be an example of "These Haven't Aged Well In Places". Lots of these books were first published in 1963, when things like "etiquette for where men and women walk on streets" and "knowing that petticoats don't go under pants" were a little more in the cultural ether, so there was indeed more of a shot that kids would know "oh, hey yeah, ladies do walk further from the curb when they're on a sidewalk with a man, I've seen that!" If the series was being written anew today, Encyclopedia Brown would be solving puzzles based on "An out-of-the-box Dell computer wouldn't make the Mac chime noise on startup because Dell's contract is with Windows" or something like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:24 AM on August 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Solos + Noon = Bob and Anna. That one has really stuck with me, for whatever reason.
posted by dersins at 8:31 AM on August 31, 2011


Oh, I loved these as a kid, but I always had to suspend my disbelief just a little bit because the punkass little fuck never took a cap in his ass.
posted by malocchio at 8:39 AM on August 31, 2011


I think this was an EB...might have been a two-minute mystery though. Someone claimed to have been awakened by thunder, then they saw some crime out their window when lightning flashed. But lightning always comes BEFORE thunder, so this was a lie. Think about that every storm...

This one bugged me because I have seen storms where after the thunder crash (lightning/thunder pair #1), there is an immediate NEW lightning flash (lightning/thunder pair #2).

So SUCK IT, ENCYCLOPEDIA.
posted by Lucinda at 8:44 AM on August 31, 2011


I think Lucinda was just released from Idaville penitentiary.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:48 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't think, read.
posted by clavdivs at 9:02 AM on August 31, 2011


I read several of the EB books back in the '70s, and I think I probably got a higher percentage of these right than most other commenters; not because I was a particularly smart kid, but because I had nothing but time when I was reading them, laid up in the hospital as I was. I was a sickly kid and my Mom would buy me the EB books as well as MAD Magazine to pore over as I had nothing to do day after day. The Skunk Ape, the missing violin, the mis-dated check...

I haven't looked at EB or MAD in the 35+ years since, because I'm afraid of the memories.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:20 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


My bugaboo (Bugs-aboo?) was the one where they apparently hid a coin or something under the condiments on a hot dog. Encyclopedia figured it out because EVERYONE knows you don't put mustard on TOP of the sauerkraut! That would be GROSS!

I wanted to comment on this one. I think the final reveal was that this person was a hotdog eating champion or something, and should have known better. I was actually pretty incredulous at that, as I hadn't ever, at any time, learned anything about proper hotdog etiquette that would have made that conclusion logically necessary. First, in our family,we always threw everything on a hot dog, willie nillie. Secondly, there was no necessary connection between being a hot dog eating champion and the way that you stacked your hotdog condiments. I mean, really. Maybe he liked to not work so hard at hotdogs on his off time, or maybe he was trying to reform the system by doing it his way.

At some point, I think it dawned on me that DJS was likely working with deadlines and had to pull some of this stuff out of thin air. I had a deeper appreciation for his work when I tried to think of just one semi-plausiable mystery story, and couldn't, and realized that he'd already come up with books worth.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:24 AM on August 31, 2011


Wasn't there one where EB put a piece of sheet metal down his pants so when a bully punched him in the gut, the bully would break his knuckles? I may be thinking of something else, since I have no earthly idea why that would be part of a mystery.
posted by cereselle at 12:50 PM on August 31, 2011


Hactar, I remember the phone 2MM, because it came with an editorial asterisk in the collection that said "This one is obscure and difficult!"
posted by infinitewindow at 1:39 PM on August 31, 2011


Huh, that's what they used to say about me as well.

They still do...

No one has ever said anything about me.
posted by griphus at 1:42 PM on August 31, 2011


My least favorite EB mystery solution required knowing the length of a dollar bill, and IIRC, it was the length of an antique dollar bill, as the culprit was a collector of old bills.

The one I liked the most involved the culprit cheating at the sour-food eating contest by icing his tongue beforehand.
posted by Four Flavors at 1:48 PM on August 31, 2011


Oh thank god the petticoat one is in there. That one pissed me off so much as a kid.

Because, yeah, allllllllllllllllllllll girls know about petticoats.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:44 PM on August 31, 2011


The one that really pissed me off as a kid, and got me to swear the books off entirely, was when the solution was, basically, "Encyclopedia Brown talked to a guy who hadn't been mentioned and he provided the answer." What is this I don't even?
posted by waldo at 4:11 PM on August 31, 2011


'What's the only English word with three consecutive sets of double letters?' I bet a month hasn't gone by since I first read that one that I haven't rolled bookkeeper around in my head a little.

In the EB spirit of being overly picky with details: Bookkeeping.
posted by cholstro at 4:54 PM on August 31, 2011


By the way, the answers are Thor Heyerdahl and Canasta.

I think you'll find that the answers are Jack Lemmon and La Paz, Bolivia.
posted by harriet vane at 5:00 AM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will always remember that peanut butter can be used to remove gum from your hair, thanks to Encyclopedia Brown. So far, this information has never ever come in hand, but it's there, so thank you Encyclopedia Brown.
posted by drezdn at 5:43 AM on September 1, 2011


infinitewindow: "The "Try... Sarah... Topps..." mystery might have fooled kids who didn't know shit about dinosaurs, but I grew up in the 80s, when EVERYTHING was dinosaurs. "

That wasn't an Encyclopedia Brown one. That was an Isaac Asimov kids' mystery, collected in The Key Word and Other Mysteries.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:31 AM on September 9, 2011


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