Warner Bros. Consult Encyclopedia Brown

Boy detective investigates a movie

Encyclopedia Brown

A year after the sad death of his creator Donald J. Sobol, boy detective Encyclopedia Brown finally looks set to make his big screen debut. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the well-loved children's books series, but better late than never, eh? Warner Bros. are in final negotiations to pick up the film rights, and with around 280 short stories in the 28-book series, they should have plenty of adaptation options once the ink is dry on the contract.

Making his debut in 1963, Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown (he's American so he's got an "a" missing) is the son of a police chief in smalltown Idaville, Indiana. He runs a detective agency from his garage, charging a mere 25c a day (plus expenses). He sometimes enlists the help of his friend and "bodyguard" Sally Kimball, who's actually a bit smarter than he is and apt to notice clues that he's missed. The young Sherlock even had his own Moriarty, in local bully Bugs Meany.

There was an HBO series in the late '80s, but various previous attempts at a film have foundered, including one by Ridley Scott and one with Chevy Chase. The producer for this go-around is Roy Lee, who's also behind the Lego movie and the recently announced Archie revival. He's joined by Encyclopedia's rights-holder Howard David Deutsch.

The project is currently "out to writers", with all clues pointing to a potential franchise. With its fast succession of instalments and suprisingly large box-office, we'd surmise Fox's Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series might prove inspirational.

The original Encyclopedia Brown books don't seem to be in print in the UK, but are published in the US by Puffin.