Encyclopedia Brown Saves the Day

BOOK: Encyclopedia Brown Saves the Day
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Table of Contents
 
A camping trip with an unexpected visitor
Encyclopedia lay beside Benny in their tent and checked his watch. At nine-thirty, Benny was still awake, still silent.
But at seven minutes before ten, faint snorts and heavy breathing arose.
“Did you hear something?” whispered Benny. “What was it?”
“What was it?”
gasped Encyclopedia. “Yipes! I thought
it
was
you!”
“L-listen,” said Benny, as the noises came closer. “I think it’s a bear!”
It wasn’t a bear. It was a man stumbling about in the moonlight. His hands were bound behind him. He was trying to speak, but the gag in his mouth turned his words into wild snorts.
Encyclopedia quickly untied him.
“I’m Jack Evans,” the man panted. “Bring help! At campsite five. Robbers! Kidnappers!”
For Paul and Elaine Furman
PUFFIN BOOKS
 
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre,
Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Registered Offices: Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in the United States of America by Dutton Children’s Books,
a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 1970
Published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2008
 
Copyright © Donald J. Sobol, 1970
Member of the Authors League of America, Inc.
All rights reserved
eISBN : 978-1-101-04234-2
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

The Case of the Electric Clock
Why did the police always catch anyone who broke the law in Idaville?
Only three persons knew the secret—Mr. and Mrs. Brown, and their only child, Encyclopedia.
And they weren’t telling.
Mr. Brown was chief of police. Whenever he was asked about his success, he quickly spoke of many things. He spoke of Idaville’s wonderful fresh air, its beaches, its three movie theaters and four banks, its churches and synagogues, its Little League, and its two delicatessens.
But of catching crooks he spoke not a word.
The police department solved most of the crimes in Idaville, true enough. The hardest cases, however, Chief Brown brought home to his red brick house on Rover Avenue. Encyclopedia solved them while eating dinner.
Chief Brown would have liked to announce on national television, “My son is the greatest detective who ever climbed a tree!” But he didn’t announce it. He didn’t even whisper it.
What good would it do?
Who would believe that the real brain behind Idaville’s war on crime was only ten years old?
So Chief Brown kept the secret even from the FBI. And people across the country went on thinking that Idaville had the smartest policemen in the world.
Encyclopedia never let a word slip about the help he gave his father. He did not want to seem different from other fifth graders.
His nickname was another matter. He was stuck with
it.
Only his parents and teachers called him by his right name, Leroy. Everyone else in Idaville called him Encyclopedia.
An encyclopedia is a book or set of books filled with all kinds of facts from A to Z. Encyclopedia had read more books than anybody in Idaville, and he never forgot a word. Really, he was more like a whole library than an encyclopedia. You might say he was the only library in America that closed at night to take a bath.
In the winter Encyclopedia did his detective work sitting in the dining room. When school let out, he moved to summer quarters in the garage. At his battered old desk by the gasoline can he was ready to help the children of the neighborhood.
Every morning he hung his sign outside the garage. It read:
One morning Gil Tubbs came into the Brown Detective Agency.
Right off Encyclopedia knew something was wrong. Gil didn’t fall over a thing.
Gil was Idaville’s leading boy astronomer. He studied clouds, and he knew the names of two hundred and thirty stars. He could find the Big Dipper faster than his Sunday pants.
Usually Gil walked around staring up at the sky and tripping over porch steps and sleeping cats. But this morning he looked like any other boy—where he was going.
“What’s up?” asked Encyclopedia.
“I wouldn’t know. I can’t raise my head,” said Gil. “Last night I tripped over my desk clock and hurt my neck.”
“Do you often walk across your desk at night?” asked Encyclopedia.
“I wasn’t walking,” said Gil. “I was running.” He put twenty-five cents on the gasoline can beside Encyclopedia. “I want to hire you.”
“To catch a runaway clock?” said Encyclopedia.
“To get back my telescope,” said Gil.
He explained. He had awakened last night and had seen a boy in his room. The boy was climbing out the window with his telescope. Gil had leaped out of bed—and nearly knocked himself out.
“The thief had unplugged my electric desk clock,” said Gil. “He’d tied the cord between my bed and the desk so I’d trip over it chasing him. Did I sail across the room! Wow! My head hit the wall so hard I thought I’d broken both my ankles.”
“Makes my hair hurt just to hear it,” said Encyclopedia. “When did this happen?”
“The clock was stopped at eleven minutes past ten,” answered Gil. “I guess that’s when the thief pulled out the plug. I don’t have another clock so I can’t be sure of the exact time.”
“Did you get a look at the thief?” asked Encyclopedia.
“No, it was too dark. But I think it was Bugs Meany.”
“Bugs!” exclaimed Encyclopedia. “I might have known!”
Bugs Meany was the leader of a gang of wild older boys. They called themselves the Tigers. They should have called themselves the weath ermen. They never stole anything till the coast was clear.
“I’m not
sure
it was Bugs, mind you,” said Gil. “Mr. James, who lives next door, noticed Bugs outside my window a little after ten o‘clock last night. He didn’t pay any attention because Bugs often cuts through our yard to get to his house.”
“Let’s go and question Bugs,” said Encyclopedia.
“Must we?” said Gil. “Bugs is awful tough.”
“I’ve handled him before,” replied Encyclopedia. “Get Bugs talking, and he’ll cook himself in his own lies.”
The Tigers’ clubhouse was an unused tool shed behind Mr. Sweeny’s Auto Body Shop. When Encyclopedia and Gil arrived, they saw a long line of children leading to the front doorway.
Several Tigers were keeping the line straight. Bugs himself stood by the front door.
“No need to push and shove,” he called. “Everybody will get a chance to see the greatest little wonder of the twentieth century!”
The front door of the clubhouse had been taken down. In its place was hung an old army blanket. In the center of the blanket was a small round glass, like a ship’s porthole.
“One thin dime, kids,” shouted Bugs. “That’s all it costs. See the tiny moon man brought back by the crew of the Apollo spaceship!”
Encyclopedia and Gil slipped quietly into line.
One by one the children stepped to the glass in the blanket. They paid Bugs a dime and took a look.
“One dime,” called Bugs. “See the moon man. He’s so tiny that if he fell into a bowl of alphabet soup, he couldn’t throw out an SOS!”
A girl called from the middle of the line.
“How is it that you have a man from the moon and nobody else has one?” she said. “The President didn’t say anything about the astronauts finding life on the moon.”
“The President didn’t
dare
say anything,” shot back Bugs. “Why? Because one moon man escaped! The President knew that a moon creature on the loose would scare the daylights out of everybody in the country!”
The children stepped to the glass and took a look.
BOOK: Encyclopedia Brown Saves the Day
2.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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