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"Encyclopedia Brown" author Donald J. Sobol dies in Florida

Random House Children's Books

(CBS/AP) MIAMI - Donald J. Sobol, author of the popular "Encyclopedia Brown" series of children's mysteries, has died in Florida, where he lived for many years. He was 87.

Sobol's son said Monday his father died in Miami from natural causes on July 11.

Publisher's Weekly tweeted about the death Monday morning, setting off an outpouring of sympathy and memories from fans.

Sobol's 28-book series featured amateur sleuth Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown, who would unravel local mysteries.

The Edgar Award-winning series also featured Brown's detective partner, tomboy Sally Kimball. Sobol's son said Sally's character was a strong role model for young girls, especially in 1963 when the series was first published.

The books became staples in classrooms and libraries. They were translated into 12 languages and sold millions of copies worldwide.

John Sobol said his father's story was one of perseverance. His first Encyclopedia Brown book was turned down two-dozen times before it was finally published.

The New York-born Sobel, who has written more than 80 books, began his career as a newspaper reporter in New York. He turned to writing full-time after moving to Florida.