Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Case of the Missing Marquess

The Case of the Missing Marquess:
An Enola Holmes Mystery
Nancy Springer

Last night I was exhausted and honestly just wanted to be a couch potato. Unfortunately there was nothing on tv that I wanted to watch. I had brought home a mystery that I needed to read for booktalks so I picked it up. What a great choice!

Enola Holmes may be the sister of one of the most famous people in England, but because she’s so much younger than Sherlock and her other brother Mycroft she doesn’t know them at all – she’s not even seen them since her father’s funeral when she was four. But now she’s fourteen and her mother has disappeared and she has no other choice than to telegraph her brothers for help.

Help, when it arrives, is not what Enola wanted. Sherlock and Mycroft determine that their mother has quite willfully run away and so they don’t worry about her. Enola, they discover, has not been brought up as a young girl should and so the best solution is to send her off to boarding school. Enola is not happy.

She does figure out, however, that her mother has left her a series of ciphers and as she solves them, she uncovers money that her mother has hidden for her – money that will allow her to run away and either find her mother or lead a better life than that which her brothers envision.

So Enola sets off to find her mother and almost immediately gets herself involved in the mystery of a young marquess who has apparently been kidnapped. Excitement ensues as Enola tries to fend off kidnappers and stay hidden from the famous Sherlock Holmes.

As a child I loved mysteries (I had read the Complete Sherlock Holmes before I entered high school), and I would have torn through this series. Not only is it an engaging mystery, but I really liked Enola’s spunk. Nobody (except, perhaps, her mother) seems to think she’s very bright, but she manages to figure out the importance of what her mother was wearing when left home when Sherlock overlooks it. I would have loved to have seen a little more of Sherlock, but maybe in later books. At this point there are three books in the series – I have the second book in my media center (and will be reading it soon) and the third book is a 2008 release.

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