Monday, February 23, 2009

Crime solver

I think I gobbled up the Encyclopedia Brown series when I was a young reader (they are that old ... and except for the frequent mention of guns and the casual fistfights they don't seem that old-fashioned), so it was a brief trip down memory lane listening to Encyclopedia Brown Keeps the Peace by Donald Sobol. I like the format of the short story, followed by the chance to solve the mystery yourself. Once you've got how it works, it's fun to listen for the clues. I was sitting at home knitting yesterday saying, "It's got something to do with the tan."

So here are 10 mysteries set in that crime-ridden town of Idaville, solved by Leroy and his dad, the police chief. The one with the tan had to do with Encyclopedia's nemesis, the bad boy Bugs Meany, who tried to frame Encyclopedia for the theft of his watch. But he had that tan, all down his arm, thus proving that he didn't have the watch when he said he did. Aha!

Greg Steinbruner, reading without an English accent, keeps the stories moving and creates a cheerful portrait of the young crime solver. He does tend to read on the loud side, though, and seems to read a tad slowly -- as if for the remedial listener. At the beginning of the cd, the publisher, Recorded Books, politely encourages you to press pause after the end of the story so you can solve the crime yourself, before resuming play to see if you are right. I appreciated that, as it makes the audio version very listener-friendly. At the end of each story, there is a significant pause that affords the listener the chance to say "Yes! I will take a moment and show the other people in the car how smart I am!"

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