Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol. Originally published in 1963.
This is the first in series of books, each containing several short cases in which Encyclopedia Brown, son of the police chief in the fictional town of Idaville, solves crimes and mysteries for hire at a rate of 25 cents per case. Along with his body guard and business partner Sally Kimball, Encycolpedia uses his depth of knowledge and razor sharp intellectual instincts to unravel the cases that come across his desk.
The best part about the series is that the reader is invited to try and solve the mysteries based on the clues offered by the author as we walk through the facts of the case with Encyclopedia Brown. The solution isn’t offered in the case, but is tucked away in the back of the book, giving the child a chance to see if he or she can use their deductive reasoning to figure out how Encyclopedia cracked the case.
For our children, and for me too in fact, a few of the solutions were beyond their ability to figure out without peeking. However, sometimes the kids crack the case before looking in the back to compare their notes with Encyclopedia Brown’s and they find that very satisfying. It’s this opportunity to repeatedly attempt case after case that had our children continuing to read and check out more Encyclopedia Brown mysteries after getting a taste of their first book.
Recommended for ages 9-12. I would put this at 4-5 grade reading level. Our 3rd grader was able to read it and understand most of the time, but on occasion needed a little help grasping the full understanding of some words and phrases. No content advisory required.