My cousin Ronny suggested I read The Case of the Missing Marquess, an Enola Holmes mystery by Nancy Springer. It is the first in a series of books all featuring the 14-year-old sister of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes.
Mycroft and Sherlock both have left the ancestral home and are living in London. Enola, which is alone spelled backwards, lives with her mother, the Marquess, on the family’s estate. Mycroft and Sherlock live their lives without much thought to their mother or their much younger sister. That is, they ignore the two females UNTIL they learn their mother has disappeared, leaving Enola home alone.
Mycroft and Sherlock descend upon the home. As the elder brother, Mycroft has inherited the estate and becomes Enola’s guardian. He determines that Enola must be dressed as a proper young lady which means corsets and bustles! He also insists she must go to finishing school. Enola detests the new clothing she must wear as well as the thought of leaving home and going to finishing school. Besides all that, she knows she needs to find her mother.
Oddly, Enola’s mother disappears on Enola’s fourteenth birthday, but she has left gifts for her daughter. After the initial shock of realizing her mother has disappeared and on her birthday at that, Enola looks more carefully at her birthday gifts. She examines the book of ciphers her mother has included in the gifts along with a book about the language of flowers. These books turn out to hold valuable clues for Enola and she does not share what she learns with her brothers.
With her brothers safely back in London, Enola develops a plan to find her mother. After figuring out some of the messages hidden in the ciphers her mother has left, Enola finds a great deal of money which her mother has hidden. Enola devises a way to hide the money on her person so that she can make a getaway and search for her missing mother and without her brothers’ knowledge.
This decision involves a great deal of careful planning. Since her brothers are no longer in the home, she can come and go as she pleases without arousing suspicion among the two servants at the home. She puts her plans into action and escapes to London instead of finishing school.
Naturally, Enola will encounter danger and intrigue along the way. She also solves a mystery along the way of the disappearance of Viscount Tweksbury Basilwether, a boy thought to have been kidnapped for ransom.
In London, Enola finds that she is not quite prepared for the constant dangers of a large city. Those dangers will require her cunning intellect to help keep her safe. She must think quickly and on her feet much of the time. Still, she is determined to find her missing mom regardless of the dangers.
Getting to know Enola Holmes provided me with great satisfaction. She is a resourceful young lady who can think logically and carefully about situations, even dangerous ones. She can also act quickly in the face of danger. All in all, Enola is a character others will enjoy. I look forward learning if Enola will locate her mother and to the next adventure: The Case of the Left-Handed Lady.
Nancy Springer has written more than fifty books. Her novels include fantasy, young adult novels, mystery and science fiction. The Case of the Missing Marquess, the first Enola Holmes book, was published in 2006. Springer has continued to write additional books in the series. The Case of the Missing Marquess was also made into a movie for Netflix.