Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers by Donald J. Sobol Read Free Book Online

Book: Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers by Donald J. Sobol Read Free Book Online
Authors: Donald J. Sobol
The Case of the Fifth Word
    I n Idaville, no one—grown-up or child—got away with breaking the law.
    Police officers across the nation wondered how Idaville did it. What was the secret?
    To passing motorists, Idaville looked like any other seaside town. It had playgrounds, banks, parking meters, and beautiful white beaches. It had churches, a synagogue, and two delicatessens.
    And it had a fine new police station.
    But the real headquarters for catching lawbreakers was a red brick house at 13Rover Avenue. There lived ten-year-old Encyclopedia Brown, America’s crime-buster in sneakers. No one except his parents knew that he was the mastermind behind the town’s spotless police record.
    Encyclopedia’s father was chief of police. Everyone thought that he must be the smartest police chief in the country.
    Chief Brown was smart and quick. He didn’t sit around and worry. When he came up against a case he could not solve, he acted at once.
    He cleared his desk, put on his hat, and went home to dinner.
    Encyclopedia solved the case for him before the meal was over.
    Chief Brown would have liked to tell everyone about his only child. But who would believe him? Who would believe the best detective alive was a fifth-grader?
    So he said nothing.
    Encyclopedia never spoke of the help he gave his father. He didn’t want to seem different from other boys.
    But there was nothing he could do about his nickname. He was stuck with it.
    Only his parents and teachers called himby his real name, Leroy. Everyone else called him Encyclopedia.
    An encyclopedia is a book or set of books filled with facts from
. So was Encyclopedia’s head. He read more books than anyone in Idaville, and he never forgot a fact.
    His pals said he was like a library and a computer rolled into one, and more user-friendly.
    At the dinner table Tuesday night, Chief Brown stared at his cream of mushroom soup. Encyclopedia and his mother knew what
meant. He had a mystery he could not solve.
    “Tim Nolan died yesterday,” he announced matter-of-factly.
    “That name is familiar,” Mrs. Brown said. “Wasn’t he mixed up in a jewelry robbery a few years ago?”
    “Five years ago,” Chief Brown replied. “Two masked men held up the Diamond Mart on Sixth Avenue. They got away with a million dollars’ worth of jewelry.”
    “I thought Tim Nolan was arrested,” Mrs. Brown said.
    “He was questioned, not arrested,” ChiefBrown corrected. “I always believed that Nolan and a friend, a man named Daniel Davenport, pulled the holdup. There wasn’t any proof, though.”
    Encyclopedia sat quietly. He knew his mother and father were discussing the case for his benefit.
    His father filled in the facts.
    Nolan and Davenport had met, Chief Brown said, while both were in prison in South Carolina. They became friendly because of a shared interest—codes. Nolan was let out first. He settled in Idaville and started a small palm-tree nursery. It barely yielded him a living.
    Davenport came to live with Nolan a week before the jewelry-store holdup. During the holdup, one gunman’s mask slipped. A clerk thought she recognized Nolan. But she wasn’t absolutely sure.
    “I remember now,” Mrs. Brown said. “The clerk refused to testify against him, and no trace of the stolen jewelry ever turned up.”
    “Davenport hasn’t been seen since the holdup,” Chief Brown said. “My hunch isthat he and Nolan decided to hide the loot until things cooled down.”
    “Didn’t you search Nolan’s house, dear?”
    “I got a court order this morning,” Chief Brown said. “Officers Lewis and Maloney just about took Nolan’s place apart. They didn’t find one piece of the stolen jewelry.”
    “Is there some mystery about Nolan’s death yesterday?” Mrs. Brown inquired.
    “Yes and no,” Chief Brown answered. “Nolan suffered from a bad heart for many years. Yesterday morning he had a stroke. He must have realized he was dying. With his last strength, he managed

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