The Enola Holmes Mysteries

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The Enola Holmes Mysteries
The Case of the Missing Marquess
The Case of the Left-Handed Lady
The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets
The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline
The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye
Author Nancy Springer
Language English
Genre Young adult
Publisher Penguin Young Readers
Published 2006—2010
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.[1][2][3]

Series overview[edit]

On Enola's fourteenth birthday, her mother disappears, and Sherlock and Mycroft, Enola's brothers, conclude that her mother left on her own choice. Enola is devastated, but eventually discovers elaborate ciphers written by her mother, which lead her to conclude that she left to live with gypsies and escape the confines of Victorian society. Furthermore, Enola finds that her mother left considerable resources for her to escape. When Mycroft insists on having Enola go to boarding school and learn to be a proper lady, she decides to run away to London instead. Throughout the series, Enola solves numerous missing persons cases, including a rescue of Dr. John Watson, while eluding her brothers' best efforts to recapture her.

The Case of the Missing Marquess[edit]

When Enola's mother disappears, Enola calls on her elder brothers Sherlock and Mycroft, who dismiss her as stupid and 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 Holmes 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 that 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 Lord Tewksberry, she bribes a woman to buy her and "Tewky" (Lord Tewksberry) 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 gypsies. The epilogue reveals that Enola has taken on two personas, one known to the poor, and the other to the wealthy. 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[edit]

Enola tries to solve the puzzling case of Lady Cecily, who disappeared from her bedroom without a trace. Dodging Sherlock and Mycroft along the way, she must save Lady Cecily. To save her she must find her first and go up against an evil villain.

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets[edit]

Sherlock Holmes' companion, Dr. John Watson, has gone missing. Enola discovers a bouquet of flowers intended for Dr. John Watson. Using the language of the flowers, she detects a sinister 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 John Watson only exacerbated their belief.

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan[edit]

Enola must answer a most curious cry for help from an old acquaintance: Lady Cecily Alistair. But even as she works to free her friend, Enola is becoming perilously close to being caught by her two older brothers. But the twisting path to save Cecily from an unwanted event is more complicated than what Enola hoped for, more even when she almost falls into the grasp of Mycroft.

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline[edit]

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 has met Mrs. Tupper in the Crimean War. After several visits to Nightingale, Enola discovers that the nurse, also known as "the Bird," has 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 hear her. Enola also realizes that Nightingale pretends to be an invalid to avoid attending social functions expected from a wealthy woman, which would take up a considerable amount of time and distract her from writing letters to achieve social reform for the poor and 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[edit]

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 that her current residence at the Professional Women's Club is a safe home for her, grants Enola her liberty and agrees to fund her advanced education. Enola in turn forgives Mycroft, accepts his offer while announcing she is likely continuing her career as a private investigator. For himself, Sherlock enthusiastically accepts Enola as a colleague in his profession and notes that he eagerly awaits to see what she will accomplish in the future.


  1. The Case of the Missing Marquess (2006)
  2. The Case of the Left-Handed Lady (2007)
  3. The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets (2008)
  4. The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan (2008)
  5. The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (2009)
  6. The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye (2010)

Major characters[edit]

  • Enola Eudoria Hedassa Holmes: A detective in her own right, Enola is the narrator and Sherlock Holmes' younger sister. She escapes to London following her mother's disappearance and Mycroft's plans to send her to boarding school. She settles down and opens a business using the pseudonym "Dr. Leslie T. Ragostin." Throughout the series, Enola solves several mysteries by employing disguises and recalling details using her sketches of those involved in the case. Enola develops affection toward Sherlock after he helps her, but continues to run from her older siblings because she prizes her freedom. Sherlock stops pursuing Enola after realizing the horrors of finishing school, and Enola makes peace with Mycroft after impressing him by solving a case. Enola retains her independence while maintaining her relationship with her brothers.
  • Mycroft Holmes: The oldest of the three siblings and twenty-seven years older than Enola. As the oldest, he inherits his mother's property and custody of Enola following his mother's disappearance. Mycroft attempts to make Enola into a young lady and send her off to a finishing school for girls cause her to escape to London, setting into motion the events of the series. Enola dislikes Mycroft until the end of the last book.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A famous detective, twenty years older than Enola. Enola shows great interest in and affection towards Sherlock, though she has only seen him twice in the first fourteen years of her life. Even though Sherlock is less insistent than Mycroft and aids Enola in her cases and escapades, he still is determined to catch Enola and bring her home. Enola sees Sherlock as a threat to her freedom, so she fears Sherlock.
  • Eurdoria Holmes (née Vernet): Mycroft, Sherlock, and Enola's mother and the widow of a squire. Eudoria had had Enola at such an age in her life that Enola considers herself the disaster of the family. Eudoria's daughter was born when she herself was 50 years old and gave her the freedom that in that time almost no girl had. She currently is traveling with the gypsies and keeps in touch with her daughter, since Enola's 14th birthday (when Eurdoria ran away), via newspaper personal columns and coded messages.
  • Diana Tupper: Enola's deaf landlady who knows Enola as "Ivy Meshle". Mrs. Tupper ended up in Scutari as a widow when her husband died from injuries in the Crimean War. Florence Nightingale rescued her and sent her home. Enola later gives up renting from Mrs. Tupper when Mycroft and Sherlock find her. Enola leaves Mrs. Tupper in left her in Nightingale's care.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Category List – Best Juvenile". Edgar Award Winners and Nominees Database. Mystery Writers of America. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 
  2. ^ "2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominees". New Mystery Reader Magazine. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "2010 Edgar® Nominees". Retrieved 16 October 2011. 

External links[edit]