Reading 1 Encyclopedia Brown

Mr. and Mrs. Brown had one child. They called him Leroy, and so did his teachers. Everyone else in Idaville called him Encyclopedia because his head was like an encyclopedia. He learned many facts from books, and his head was filled with them. He was like a complete library walking around in sneakers.
Old ladies who did crossword puzzles were always stopping him on the street to ask him questions. However, his father asked him more questions than anyone else. Mr. Brown was the chief of police of Idaville.
The town had four banks, three movie theaters, and a Little League. It had the usual number of gas stations, churches, schools, stores, and houses. And it had the average number of crimes for a town of its size.
Idaville, however, only looked like the usual American town. It was, really, most unusual.
For a whole year no criminal escaped arrest and no boy or girl got away with breaking a single law in Idaville.
This was partly because the town’s policemen were clever and brave. But mostly it was because Chief Brown was Encyclopedia’s father.
His hardest cases were solved by Encyclopedia during dinner in the Browns’ red brick house on Rover Avenue.
Of course, nobody knew a boy was helping the town’s police.
You wouldn’t guess it by looking at Encyclopedia. He looked like a common fifth-grade boy and acted like one, too.
Mr. Brown never said a word about the advice his son gave him. Who would believe that his best detective was only ten years old?
It began like this:
One evening at dinner, Mr. Brown said, “Natty Nat has struck again. He has held up another store-and right here in Idaville.”
“What store, Dad?” asked Encyclopedia.
“The Men’s Shop, owned by Mr. Dillon and Mr. Jones,” answered Mr. Brown. “So now Natty Nat has held up six stores in the state this month.”
“Are you sure the robber was Natty Nat?” asked Encyclopedia.
“Mr. Dillon himself said it was Natty Nat,” replied Mr. Brown.
He pulled a notebook from his pocket and put it beside his plate. “I wrote down everything Mr. Dillon told me about the holdup. I’ll read it to you.”
Encyclopedia closed his eyes. He always closed his eyes when he was getting ready to think hard.
His father began to read Mr. Dillon’s speech about the holdup:

I was alone in the store. I did not know anyone had come in. Suddenly a man’s voice told me to raise my hands. I looked up then. I was face to face with the man the newspapers call Natty Nat. He wore a gray coat with a belt in the back, just as the newspapers said. He told me to turn and face the wall. Since he had a gun, I did as he said. When I turned around again, he was gone-with all the money.

Chief Brown finished reading and closed his notebook.
Encyclopedia asked only one question: “Did the newspapers ever print a picture of Natty Nat?”
“No,” answered his father. “He never stands still long enough for a picture to be taken. Remember, he’s never been caught. But every policeman in the state knows he always wears that gray coat with the belt in the back.”
“Nobody even knows his real name,” said Encyclopedia, half to himself. “Natty Nat is just a made-up name in the newspapers.”
Suddenly he opened his eyes. “Say, the only reason Mr. Dillon thought it was Natty Nat was because of that gray coat!” he said. “The case is solved!”
“There is nothing to solve,” objected Chief Brown. “There is no mystery. Mr. Dillon was robbed. The holdup man was the same one who has robbed other stores in the state.”
“Not quite,” said Encyclopedia. “There was no holdup at The Men’s Shop.”
“What do you mean?” exclaimed Mr. Brown.
“I mean Mr. Dillon wasn’t robbed, Dad. He lied from beginning to end,” answered Encyclopedia.
“Why should Mr. Dillon lie?” demanded his father.
“I guess he spent the money. He didn’t want his partner, Mr. Jones, to know it was missing,” said Encyclopedia. “So Mr. Dillon said he was robbed.”
“Leroy,” said his mother, “please explain what you are saying.”
“It’s simple, Mom,” said Encyclopedia. “Mr. Dillon read all about Natty Nat in the newspapers. So he knew Natty Nat always wore a gray coat with a belt in the back when he held up stores.”
“Go on, Leroy,” said Mr. Brown.
“Mr. Dillon wanted to blame his holdup on someone people have read about,” said Encyclopedia. “He said he knew it was Natty Nat because of the coat he wore-”
“That could be true,” Chief Brown said.
“That couldn’t be true,” said Encyclopedia.
“Mr. Dillon never saw the back of the man who held him up. He said so himself. Remember?”
Chief Brown frowned. He picked up his notebook again. He read to himself for a while.
Then he shouted, “Leroy, I believe you are right!”
Encyclopedia said, “Mr. Dillon only saw the front of the holdup man. He had no way of knowing that the man’s coat had a belt in the back!!
“He stole money from his own store and from his partner too,” cried Chief Brown. “And he nearly got away with it!”
He rushed from the dining room.
“Leroy,” said Mrs. Brown, “did you get this idea from a TV program?”
“No,” said Encyclopedia. “I got it from a book I read about a great detective and his ways of observation.”
“Well,” said his mother proudly, “this proves how important it is to listen carefully and watch closely, to train your memory. Perhaps you will be a detective when you grow up.”
“Mom,” said Encyclopedia, “can I have another piece of pie?”
Mrs. Brown sighed. She was an English teacher in the Idaville High School before her marriage. “You may have another piece of pie,” she said.




Reading 1 エンサイクロペディア・ブラウン