Enola Holmes (the much younger sister of Sherlock Holmes) wakes on her fourteenth birthday to find that her mother, the unconventional Lady Eudoria Holmes, has gone missing. She has left Enola some intriguing gifts, though, including a book of ciphers and a volume on the meaning of flowers. In The Case of the Missing Marquess, the first novel in the fascinating six-part mystery series by Nancy Springer, her older brothers Sherlock and Mycroft arrive to take charge, and it soon becomes clear that the freedom Enola has enjoyed under her mother’s permissive tutelage will soon be a thing of the past. Facing a future of boarding schools, bustles, and the endless preparation for matrimony typical of the Victorian era, Enola dons the dress and veil of a widow. Remembering her mother’s words, “You will do very well on your own Enola,” she makes her escape to London. There, the brave Enola (“alone” spelled backwards) will begin her search for her mother, elude capture by her determined brothers, minister to the poor, and of course, solve mysteries with an intelligence and insight that rivals even the famous Sherlock.
These relatively short and fast-paced novels for middle-grade readers cover a time period of one year from Enola’s fourteenth to fifteenth birthday. And what a year it was! During that time we follow Enola, always in disguise, through the streets, back alleys, sewers, and even on roof-tops of nineteenth century London. The first person narrative with abundant historical detail allows one to experience this unique time and place from the perspective of one of the most remarkable and likeable heroines that I have ever encountered. In each novel the author has been careful to bring the reader up to date so that they can be enjoyed independently. However, for the full effect of the tension and suspense of the subplots, I would recommend reading them in order if possible.
Enola’s adventures continue in the following Enola Holmes Mysteries listed in order of publication. You can enjoy them as books or audiobooks.
The Case of the Left-Handed Lady: Posing as the secretary for the world’s first scientific perditorian (one who uses logic and scientific method to find missing persons), Enola sets out to find Lady Cecily who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets: Using her ample wits and knowledge of the language of flowers, Enola seeks to save Dr. Watson from a fate worse than death at the hands of a deranged former patient.
The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan: An odd and out-of-place pink fan is the first clue in another sinister plot involving the tormented Lady Cecily.
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline: As if searching for her mother and eluding her brothers wasn’t enough, Enola returns to her rooms one day to find that the closest thing she has to family – her dear, sweet landlady, Mrs. Tupper, has been kidnapped.
The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye: While Enola pursues the trail of the missing Lady Blanchefleur del Campo, Sherlock and Mycroft follow close behind with a message from their mother that only Enola can decipher.