Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mysterious Handprints (Encyclopedia Brown Series #16)

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mysterious Handprints (Encyclopedia Brown Series #16)

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by Donald J. Sobol, Gail Owens

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A stolen watermelon...

Dueling kites...

A blond wig left at the scene of the crime...

And a smashed wristwatch whose time has run out!

These are just some of the ten brain-twisting mysteries that Encyclopedia Brown must solve by using his famous computerlike brain. Try to crack the cases along with him—the answers to all the mysteries are found in the

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A stolen watermelon...

Dueling kites...

A blond wig left at the scene of the crime...

And a smashed wristwatch whose time has run out!

These are just some of the ten brain-twisting mysteries that Encyclopedia Brown must solve by using his famous computerlike brain. Try to crack the cases along with him—the answers to all the mysteries are found in the back!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
There will be a brisk demand for Sobol's new book about the boy detective whose adventures have been bestsellers for years. Lively drawings by Owens illustrate 10 cases that Leroy (Encyclopedia) solves and invites readers to puzzle out. In the title story, it seems that odd handprints will make a wheelchair-bound guest a suspect in the theft of his host's valuables. But Encyclopedia recognizes the red herring, absolves the innocent and clinches the case against the culprit. The clues are presented fairly and the solutions are appended for stumped whodunit fans. A simultaneous publication is Encyclopedia Brown's 3rd Record Book of Weird & Wonderful Facts, with pictures by Sal Murdocca; $10.25 ISBN 0-688-05705-5 . (812)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6 The ten-year-old sleuth, accompanied by his ``Watson,'' Sally, solves ten more cases which plague Idaville. Readers are encouraged to guess the solutions, which are printed at the end of the book. Each case is a short five pages in large type, with a simple plot. The solutions usually follow logically from the set-up, and readers just have to pay careful attention to the clues. There are a couple, however, that depend upon special knowledge that a child might not have. Still, readers can enjoy the revelation and admire Encyclopedia for knowing. Much of the evidence wouldn't stand up in a court of law, but who cares? The villain usually confesses anyway. Idaville has a small town atmosphere, and everyone seems to utter cute, folksy turns of phrase, some of them real groaners like, ``she could move in the best circles without going straight.'' One full-page pen-and-ink drawing accompanies each story, and a half-page illustration appears with each solution. No doubt the book will be as popular as the other books in the series, and it won't let fans down. Annette Curtis Klause, Montgomery County Libraries, Md.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Encyclopedia Brown Series, #16
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.22(d)
660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Case of the Masked Robber

In police stations across the United States, the same question was asked again and again.

Why did every grown-up or child who broke the law in Idaville get caught?

Idaville looked like an ordinary seaside town. It had clean beaches, two delicatessens, and three movie theaters. It had churches, a synagogue, four banks, and a Little League.

What made Idaville different from anyplace in the world was a redbrick house on Rover Avenue. For there lived ten-year-old Encyclopedia Brown, America's Sherlock Holmes in sneakers.

Encyclopedia's father was chief of police. When Chief Brown came up against a crime that he could not solve, he knew what to do. He put on his hat and went home to dinner.

At the table, he told Encyclopedia the facts of the case. Usually Encyclopedia solved the mystery before dessert. If he needed a few extra minutes, his mother was disappointed.

Chief Brown never told anyone the secret of his success. Who would believe him?

Who would believe that the brains behind Idaville's war on crime hadn't yet raised the seat of his two-wheeler?

Encyclopedia never let slip a word about the help he gave his father. He didn't want to seem different from other fifth-graders.

But he was stuck with his nickname. Only his parents and teachers called him by his real name, Leroy. Everyone else called him Encyclopedia.

An encyclopedia is a book or a set of books filled with facts from A to Z. So was Encyclopedia's head. He had read more books than anyone in Idaville, and he never forgot a word. His pals said he was better than a library forgetting answers. He was never closed.

Tuesday evening, Chief Brown took his seat at the dinner table. He looked at his soup without picking up his spoon.

Encyclopedia and his mother knew what that meant. He had a case he could not solve.

"Tim Crandan was robbed in his home early today," Chief Brown said. "The case is a puzzle. "

"Tell Leroy about it, dear," Mrs. Brown urged. "He's never failed you."

Chief Brown nodded. He took a small notebook from the breast pocket of his uniform. Using his notes, he went over the case for Encyclopedia.

"Shortly after sunrise," Chief Brown said, "Mr. Crandan was awakened by noises in his living room. He surprised a robber."

"Who is Mr. Crandan?" Mrs. Brown asked.

"For thirty years he taught tennis in Alabama. He retired last year and moved to IdaVille," Chief Brown answered.

He looked back at his notes and continued.

"Mr. Crandan saw a masked man making off with his three Chinese screens. The masked man pulled a gun and tied Mr. Crandan to a chair. Mr. Crandan watched through a window as the robber loaded the screens into a station wagon and drove off."

"How valuable are the screens?" Mrs. Brown asked.

"Each has six panels of ivory figures," Chief Brown said. "Mr. Crandan has them insured for a huge amount of money."

"Aren't there any clues?" Mrs. Brown inquired.

"A good one," Chief Brown said. "As Mr. Crandan entered the living room, the robber saw him and hurriedly put on a mask. He wasn't quick enough. Mr. Crandan recognized him but was afraid to say anything. The robber might have used his gun if he thought he'd been recognized."

Mrs. Brown glanced at Encyclopedia as if expecting him to speak. The boy detective was not ready to ask his one question. Usually he needed to ask only one question to solve a case at the dinner table.

So Mrs. Brown asked a question herself. "If Mr. Crandan knows who robbed him, why haven't you made an arrest?"

"Because," replied Chief Brown, "the man he recognized is one of the Enright twins, Fred or Carl. They look exactly alike. Mr. Crandan couldn't tell which twin was the robber."

"I don't know the twins," Mrs. Brown said. "What do they do?"

"Fred Enright was a store clerk," Chief Brown replied. "Carl Enright was a top professional tennis player for twenty years. Both men are retired. Fred moved to Idaville six months ago. Carl followed him a month later. Each lives alone."

"What about an alibi?" Mrs. Brown asked. "Where were the twins when Mr. Crandan was robbed?"

Chief Brown flipped a page in his notebook. "Fred claims he didn't get up until eight O'clock today, more than an hour after the robbery. Carl says he slept until nine. Neither has a witness to back up his story.,,

"So neither has a real alibi," Mrs. Brown stated.

"For that matter, neither does Mr. Crandan," Chief Brown pointed out. "He could be making up a story about a robbery."

"I see -- then he can get the insurance money and still keep the Chinese screens," Mrs. Brown murmured. "But why would he say one of the twins robbed him?"

"Mr. Crandan dislikes them," Chief Brown replied. "They dislike him. I don't know why, but it has something to do with a tennis tournament many years ago."

"Mr. Crandan may have faked the robbery," Mrs. Brown said, " and he's trying to blame one of the twins."

"Mr. Crandan doesn't have a criminal record," Chief Brown pointed out. "But the twins do. They spent a year in jail in Alabama two years ago for stealing oil paintings."

"Then turn everything around," Mrs. Brown said thoughtfully. "The robber didn't put on his mask until Mr. Crandan entered the living room because he wanted Mr. Crandan to see his face."

Chief Brown frowned. "The robbery might be a clever trick. The twins could be setting Mr. Crandan up. If he accuses one of them of stealing the screens and can't prove which one, he'll look foolish. Good heavens, what a twist!"

Mrs. Brown glanced at Encyclopedia again. The boy detective had closed his eyes.

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mysterious Handprints. Copyright © by Donald Sobol. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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