The son of the local police chief, Leroy Brown was known by the nickname of Encyclopedia for his amazing memory, knowledge and deductive skills. Each book had ten or so short stories in which Encyclopedia was presented with a mystery that stumped everyone else around but which he was able to solve by paying attention to the clues presented to him. The hook of the books was that each story ended with a challenge to readers to figure it out with Encyclopedia Brown and then turn to the solution in the back of the book.
One of the memorable cases involved a suspect whose alibi was that he’d been out on the road all day. Encyclopedia sees through this thanks to the suspect’s young son who is able to stand on the hood of the car without burning his feet. Had the suspect been out traveling all day, the hood would have been too hot to allow this, thus destroying his alibi.
Many of the cases unfolded along these lines.
It’s been a long time since I read any of these books, but I’d love to visit them again at some point. The books were an entry point to the wonderful world of mystery novels and to other famous detectives like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Some of my love of a good mystery can be traced back to reading this series over and over again growing up.