Series: Enola Holmes #1
Published by Philomel on 16 February 2006
Genres: MG Mystery
When Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared—on her 14th birthday nonetheless—she knows she alone can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, Enola sets out to the heart of London to uncover her mother’s whereabouts—but not even the last name Holmes can prepare her for what awaits. Suddenly involved in the kidnapping of the young Marquess of Basilwether, Enola must escape murderous villains, free the spoiled Marquess, and perhaps hardest of all, elude her shrewd older brother—all while collecting clues to her mother’s disappearance!
So if you guys don’t know, I’ve recently develed into mystery as a genre and have beeing reading mystery novels across all age groups: middle grade, YA and adult. This new genre exploration has a lot to do with my love of Sherlock Holmes. Now I’ve only read one of the original Sherlock Holmes books by Arthur Conan Doyle (*cringes* – I know, I know!), but my love for Sherlock originally came from the BBC TV show that I gulped down rather quickly last year. I have since watched almost all of Elementary (minus the current season) and have begun reading the Arthur Conan Doyle novels (see statement above) as well as anything Sherlock related in YA or MG.
This past summer I finally read A Study in Charlotte and really loved it! I also listened to the audiobook of The 100-Year-Old Secret (The Sherlock Files #1), an early middle-grade novel. So naturally, I decided to read another Sherlock inspired series. This time I picked up The Case of the Missing Marquess — an Enola Holmes Mystery (#1). See below for my thoughts on this unique spin to the Sherlock story.
Ownership: Borrowed from the Library
Genre: Middle Grade; mystery
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Price: $7.99 (Kindle eBook); $6.99 (paperback)
Place: Amazon, B & N, Book Depository, GoodReads, IndieBound
The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes Mystery #1) by Nancy Springer follows fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes, the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. Enola has been living with her mother in the country away from her two older brothers who live in London. However, one day her mother disappears and Enola is left with just the two staff members of the household to fend for herself. Soon her two brothers arrive when they learn of her mother’s disappearance. But when Mycroft wishes to send Enola away to a boarding school, Enola decides to disappear herself. She devises a plan to travel to London, a place she believes her brothers wouldn’t look for her. Along the way, she stumples upon her first mystery — a missing young marquess. While solving the mystery and escaping to London, Enola becomes enravled in a dangerous adventure. Will she survive on her own or need to seek the help of her brothers?
This novel was a great take on the Sherlock Holmes world. Enola is a brand new character and Springer does a great job of making Enola’s story separate from Sherlock & Mycroft’s stories. While the brothers do make an appearance in the novel and are very much how you would expect them to be, this story focuses on Enola soley. Springer’s decision to do this seems to make the story more accessible and didn’t lead me to start “comparing Sherlocks.” Instead, I got to follow along with a new Holmes who had her own quirks and strengths.
The beginning of the novel was really slow. I’m going to chalk this up to being a first novel in a series and having to lay down some background/world building. Still, this slow start might not bode well for enticing readers into the series–especially since the actual mystery part doesn’t come until halfway through the novel.
With that said, once the mystery did start and we got to see Enola on her own and growing as a character, I really ended up enjoying the novel. Enola faces a lot of obstacles not only in this story, but in the time period and setting that Enola lives in. Her brothers, especially Mycroft, have some anti-feministic ideas towards Enola and how a “young girl should behave.” I loved that Springer addressed these issues within the novel and had Enola fighting back against these anti-feministic conventions. Enola definitely arises as a strong female character by the end and the novel is very pro-feminisim.
So combinging mystery, feminism and some Sherlock Holmes…how could I not resist this book? I’m excited to see where Springer takes the series and what other mysteries that Enola stumbles upon. I love that Enola doesn’t solve mysteries like her brother Sherlock, but that she still uses her intelligence and her new passion of being a Scientific Perditorian to do so. I also really loved that her mother was invloved in cultivating some of Enola’s intelligence and confidence, especially her skills at solving ciphers.
Overall, this was a quick, fun read with a strong feminist slant to the story. Definitely pick it up if you’re looking for a strong female detective story, especially for younger readers!
Slow starting, but an easy read that takes a unique spin to the Sherlock Holmes story/family. Loved how Enola became such a strong character by the end!
Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you’ve read this book and if so what are your thoughts on Penny? on the steampunk setting? What other steampunk novels have you read? Let me know below! I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂
As always, Happy Reading!
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