When I was a kid, I read a lot. I worked my way through the Hardy Boys mysteries, and even read a Nancy Drew book or two before I decided those were more in line with my sister’s sensibilities.
One day I discovered Encyclopedia Brown in the local public library, in a book of ten short mysteries whose endings were hidden at the back of the book, like a puzzle book. I was hooked. I read all the EB books the library had, and—if I recall correctly—I also discovered that interlibrary loan would bring me new tales.
As I aged, I discovered that names like “Franklin W. Dixon” and “Carolyn Keene”, authors of the Hardy Boys and the Nancy Drew mysteries, respectively, were “house names”, false identities adopted by writers who would write one or two or ten novels in the series, then move on. I long assumed that Donald J. Sobol, the name on the spine of the Encyclopedia Brown collections, was also a house name.
I was wrong. Donald J. Sobol was a real person, a single, singular author, and this is his story.