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The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery Paperback – November 8, 2007
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
Top Customer Reviews
When Enola Holmes's mother disappears without a trace on the day of her birthday, her daughter doesn't fret too much. Her mother often wanders off on her own. She's a singularly single-minded woman, after all, and has raised Enola to be the same. But when it becomes clear, however, that Lady Eudoria Vernet Holmes is not coming back, Enola has no choice but to contact her two elder brothers: Mycroft and Sherlock. The men had not been home in years, owing partly to a fight they had had with the now missing Lady. On their return they are shocked at the state of things and Mycroft in particular becomes intent upon bending his stubborn little sister to his will. Enola has other plans in mind, however, and in no time she concocts a plan on escaping the rigid role both her brothers and society have assigned her. Along her journey she also gets wrapped up in the case of a missing heir to a Duke and finds herself thoroughly ensconced in the slimy backwaters of London's foulest dens. But if anyone's up to the task of battling villains and saving young heirs, it's a girl with the last name of Holmes.
As a children's librarian I hear no end of demands from stubborn young `uns for an unceasing and steady supply of mystery fiction. Kids love a good mystery, be it the fabulous "Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin or the tepid "Chasing Vermeer" by Blue Balliett. In spite of the demand, very few quality works of fiction fulfill this need. You could close your eyes, spin around in the children's room of a library or bookstore, and end up pointing at one of the five million mystery series out there, but GOOD ones are as rare as rubies. All the more reason why this book (hopefully only the first of more to come) will be greatly appreciated by kids of many persuasions.
Because you see, the writing is key. Though the book spends half its time getting Enola on the road, you don't feel that it ever goes any faster or slower than it should. Enola is not only engaging (she points out to Mycroft that the chances of marrying her off are probably fairly slim since, "I look just like Sherlock"), but also on top of things. She is very touched by her mother's disappearance but when it becomes clear that she is truly on her own, she rallies admirably. She even eschews the usual girl-dressing-up-like-a-boy conceit (OVERDONE conceit, I add) because she knows that if she is to hide from Sherlock she must do what he doesn't expect. That makes for especially good disguises on her part. Ones that make sense too. And there are plenty of ciphers, codes, clues, and neat twists to keep the book interesting for both kids and adults alike. I was delighted to find on more than one occasion that the book would surprise me with a twist that, had I been looking for it, I should have discovered on my own. I cannot quite figure out if the hidden numbers and letters on the cover of "The Case of the Missing Marquess" are a code, but I'm certain that enterprising youth everywhere will try to figure it out on their own.
There is a small problem with the essential conceit behind this book, of course. I mean, it starts off with a woman abandoning her daughter so that she herself can lead her own carefree life without worrying about a young `un. Say what you will about the difficulties faced back in the day, it's very hard to justify a mother leaving her child and without so much as a card or hug. Enola tries to come up with several justifications for her mom's actions, but when you get right down to it it's a nasty thing to do. She definitely could have taken Enola along with her. It just would have made for an entirely different story, and not one that Ms. Springer particularly wanted to tell.
All in all, Enola Holmes and her book make for a difficult-to-resist pairing. I've little doubt that kids will be clamoring for the next installment in the series and that this is only the beginning. A great combination of humor, history, and contemporary good sense. An excellent addition to any collection.
Morgan Le Fay has always been one of those strong woman, and evil, from Arthurian legend. But who knew her childhood stories? Nancy did. She wrote two of the young Morgan Le Fay.
When I think of private detectives, I always think of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and Mycroft Holmes. But who knew that Sherlock and Mycroft had a younger sister? Nancy did. And she's just now penning the curious adventures of Enola Holmes, the fourteen-year-old younger sister of the Great Detective.
I first met Miss Enola Holmes in the novel, ENOLA HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING MARQUESS. I found her to be utterly brilliant, like her older brothers, and quite given to solving mysteries. Her deductive reasoning is a delight, as is her particular views on society.
Regrettably, young Enola is not a proper young lady. She loves traipsing through forests, wearing men's clothing, and having hideouts that require journeying through streams and across muddy earth. She's also quite fearless and knowledgeable about a great many things.
The first-person narrative of the novels revealed a lot of Miss Holmes's character to me within a few short pages. I found her to be, not so much a carbon copy of Sherlock Holmes, but rather a young lady with all of Sherlock's best qualities who was also equipped with the vision of youth and feminine perspective.
There are a great many puzzles in Miss Holmes's life. Not in the least of these is the reason why her mother abandoned Miss Holmes on the morning of her fourteenth birthday. As much as that bothered and stymied young Miss Holmes, it also burdened me with curiosity and speculation.
But Miss Holmes's mother left many messages behind for her young daughter. They shared a passion for puzzles and curiosities. Miss Holmes's first name, Enola, is actually ALONE spelled backward. Once you understand that, you begin to worry at what prompted her mother to name her such. The name, though, offers hints as to how to solve the other mysteries her mother left her. The interpretations are so obvious when the solution is given.
After she discovers she's been abandoned, Miss Holmes puts the police to searching for her mother, but at the same time she knows that if her brothers find her alone and uncared for they'll ship her off to a young ladies' finishing school. That's not something Miss Holmes wants.
Before long, she figures out a way to escape the watchful eye of Mycroft as he stays there to set his mother's affairs right. Then she's on her way to London, the Greatest City in the world, on her trusty bicycle. Along the way I was treated to a great many descriptions of the time and land that were truly amazing.
It also doesn't take Enola long to come across a mystery that haunts her all the way to London. While at the estates of the Marquess of Tewksbury, Enola takes the case long enough to figure out what happened to the young boy. She doesn't dream that this endeavor will follow her all the way to her destination and place her squarely in the path of the worst danger she's ever known amid London's seedier alleys.
ENOLA HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING MARQUESS is a wonderful book for the 9-12 year old minds. It's small and compact, not overly long, and physically fits into small hands quite well. Not only that, but the cover art is outstanding. I also liked the fact that the cover is printed right on the hardcover under the dust jacket.
The second book is called ENOLA HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE LEFT-HANDED LADY, and is already out. ENOLA HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE BIZARRE BOUQUETS is coming in January 2008. The first two books would make excellent gifts for the upcoming Christmas season.