Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol
From Goodreads (for the first in the series, Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective):
"A Civil War sword, missing roller skates, a trapeze artist's inheritance, a ghost who whistles, eight stuffed penguins... Is there any case this kid can't crack? Introduce your favorite bookworm to boy detective Encyclopedia Brown, fifth-grade mastermind behind Idaville's police force, "a complete library walking around in sneakers." Each book is set up so that readers can try to solve the case along with the boy genius, and the answers to all the mysteries are found in the back."
When I was younger I went through an Encyclopedia Brown phase. I read a bunch in the series (each book has several short mystery stories, so you don't need to go in any particular order), but the funny thing is, I was absolutely terrible at solving them. I seriously sucked at it, I'd always have to look in the back for the clues and then usually I still wouldn't get the answer they gave! I think I cared less about the mystery aspect (trying to solve that was a combination of fun and frustrating) and more about Encyclopedia Brown's awesomeness and how he always triumphed over the bullies. Although I did wonder a few times why his parents let him go around solving all these mysteries, that sometimes involved murders and such...I mean, really, irresponsible much?
As you can see from the various covers, Encyclopedia Brown has gone through a ton of reprints. Anyone know if it's still popular among the MG crowd? Anyone else remember reading these and actually being able to solve them? :D