The Enola Holmes Mysteries
|Publisher||Penguin Young Readers|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
The Enola Holmes Mysteries is a young-adult fiction series of detective novels by American author Nancy Springer, starring Enola Holmes as the fourteen-year-old sister of an already-famous Sherlock Holmes, twenty years her senior. This pastiche series borrows characters and settings from the established canon of Sherlock Holmes, but the Enola character is Springer's creation and specific to this series. The first book, The Case of the Missing Marquess, and the fifth, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, were nominated for the Edgar Awards for Best Juvenile Mystery in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
On Enola's fourteenth birthday, her mother disappears, and Sherlock and Mycroft, Enola's brothers, conclude that her mother voluntarily left. Enola is devastated but eventually discovers elaborate ciphers her mother wrote, which lead her to conclude that she left to live with the Romani people and escape the confines of Victorian society. Enola finds that her mother left money to fund her escape. When Mycroft insists that Enola attend boarding school and learn to be a proper lady, she runs away to London instead. Throughout the series, Enola solves numerous missing persons cases, including a rescue of Dr. John Watson, while eluding her brothers' efforts to recapture her.
The Case of the Missing Marquess
When Enola's mother disappears, Enola calls on her elder brothers Sherlock and Mycroft, who dismiss her as unimportant. Horrified by her brothers' plans to send her to a boarding school and the prospect of wearing a corset, she escapes. Dressed as a widow, she runs across Inspector Lestrade who is working on a case with Sherlock about the disappearance of a young Viscount, Lord Tewksberry. Nearly blowing her cover, she finds a secret hiding place that seems to be the young Viscount's hideaway. Concluding that he ran away, she sets off to look for him. Upon arriving in London, Enola discovers the city is not the magical place of her imagination. The same people who have kidnapped the Viscount, who has no street smarts, kidnap Enola. After escaping with the Viscount, she bribes a woman to buy them clothing. Hiding in a police station right under Sherlock's nose, Enola runs away, leaving only a sketch of the suspect on the bench.
She sends a coded message via the personal column to her mother, who responds that she has gone to live with the Romani. The epilogue reveals that Enola has taken on two personas. To the poor, she's the mute "Sister" and to the rich, Ivy, the secretary to a private investigator.
The Case of the Left-Handed Lady
Enola tries to find Lady Cecily Alistair, who disappeared from her bedroom, while dodging Sherlock and Mycroft.
The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets
Sherlock' companion, Dr. John Watson, has gone missing. Enola discovers a bouquet of flowers intended for Watson. Using the language of the flowers, she detects a threat and sets out to find the missing doctor and his kidnapper. She finds him in an insane asylum. Two police men had been told he was an insane man, and his claims to being Watson only exacerbated their belief.
The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan
Enola helps an old acquaintance, Lady Cecily. But even as she works to free her friend, her two brothers come close to catching her.
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline
Enola returns to her lodgings to find that somebody has kidnapped her landlady, Mrs. Tupper. After investigating the ransacked lodgings, she abduces that the kidnappers were after a secret message hidden in Mrs. Tupper's old crinoline dress. Enola traces the dress to Florence Nightingale, who met Mrs. Tupper in the Crimean War. After several visits to Nightingale, Enola discovers that Nightingale conducted espionage during the war. As such, Nightingale asked Mrs. Tupper to smuggle a note in her crinoline back to England but did not know that the war widow was deaf and did not understand her. Enola also realizes that Nightingale pretends to be an invalid to avoid attending social functions expected of a wealthy woman. She realizes that the functions would take time away from writing letters to achieve social reform for the needy. During her visits to Nightingale, Enola suspects someone is following her. As the person could be related to the case and a danger to Mrs. Tupper's and her safety, she relocates to the Professional Women's Club.
After solving the case, Enola leaves Mrs. Tupper at Nightingale's house, where the landlady is delighted by being able to hear the piano. She escapes upon seeing Sherlock approach. Sherlock converses with Nightingale, and she reveals the reason behind Enola's escape from her brothers by describing horrors of boarding schools and corsets.
The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye
Finally, on Enola's sixth case, Sherlock concludes that Enola has matured rapidly into a capable young woman and helps his sister not only to find her quarry but also to finally convince Mycroft of her skill.
In the end, the Holmes siblings fully reconcile with the help of a final coded message from their mother, a Spartan skytale decoded using bicycle handlebars. With that resolution, Mycroft, further impressed with Enola's sophisticated business arrangements and satisfied with her residence at the Professional Women's Club, grants Enola her liberty and agrees to fund her education. Enola in turn forgives Mycroft, accepts his offer while announcing she is likely continuing her career as a private investigator. Sherlock accepts Enola as a colleague in his profession and notes that he awaits her future accomplishments.
- The Case of the Missing Marquess (2006)
- The Case of the Left-Handed Lady (2007)
- The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets (2008)
- The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan (2008)
- The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (2009)
- The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye (2010)
The first book, The Case of the Missing Marquess, and the fifth, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, were nominated for the Edgar Awards for Best Juvenile Mystery in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Karen MacPherson in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called Enola a "highly appealing heroine". In a review for the first book, Children's Book and Play Review echoed the statement, calling Enola "a bright and endearing character". The review also praised the novel for being "fast-paced and suspenseful" as well as its integration of Victorian culture but noted that it "wrap[ped] up a bit briskly". Carthage College's Center for Children's Literature described the second book as a "solid historical mystery" with a "satisfying and surprising ending" despite being "a bit slow at the beginning".
- "Category List – Best Juvenile". Edgar Award Winners and Nominees Database. Mystery Writers of America. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
- "2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominees". New Mystery Reader Magazine. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- "2010 Edgar® Nominees". TheEdgars.com. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- MacPherson, Karen (29 May 2007). "It's no mystery why these books are engrossing". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. pp. C7. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- Wadley, Laura (2006). "Review of The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer" (PDF). Children's Book and Play Review. 26 (4): 28. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
- Wildner, Kristine. ""The Case of the Left-Handed Lady: An Enola Holmes Mystery" by Nancy Springer". Center for Children's Literature. Carthage College. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- Kirkus for Springer
- Publishers Weekly Marquess
- Horn Book Marquess
- reviews Left-Handed Lady
- reviews Bizarre Bouquets
- reviews Pink Fan
- reviews Goodbye
- Reading History in Children's Books p. 127133
- Children's Literature Reviews: In Defense of Not "Teaching" a Book for Bizarre Bouquets, p. 405
- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 59.6 (2006) 287 Missing Marquess
- Nelson and Morey, 2012
- short review for Vromans's for Marquess
- Herrera 2013
- Biblio Fille Femme
- Carthage review for Pink Fan
- Florida Times-Union
- "intensely action packed"
- a graphic novel? (in French)