When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly sets off to find her. Disguising herself as a widow, Enola embarks on a journey to London, but nothing can prepare her for what awaits. For when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, and must fee murderous villains and try to elude her shrewd older brothers – all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Among all the mayhem, will Enola be able to discover the necessary clues and find her mother?
The Snapshot Review
What I Liked: Strong, independent and smart, Enola is a very likeable protagonist; pace is fast and intense; the writing paints the world of Sherlock Holmes’ London vividly. Not one, but two mysteries …and there are ciphers!
First Line: "The only light struggles from the few gas street-lamps that remain unbroken, and from pots of fire suspended above the cobblestones, tended by old men selling boiled sea snails outside the public houses." (From the prologue – the rest of the novel is in first person.)
Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: A good read, with the action really kicking into high gear as we get further into the story. Very nice wrap-up, too. I finished reading this with a smile, eager to jump into the next book in the series.
The Full Review of The Case of the Missing Marquess
The Case of the Missing Marquess is the first book in a middle grade series that follows the adventures of Enola Holmes, the much-younger sister of famed Sherlock Holmes. When I first discovered the series, I thought it would be a fun read, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
Enola is the kind of protagonist about whom I enjoy reading: she’s strong-willed, smart and independent. She’s also a very lonely girl – spell her name backwards, and you get “alone” – and the reader feels for her vulnerability. She’s lost her mother, and even though they weren’t close, it still hurts.
The writing vividly depicts the world of Victorian England – the male dominated society and the prevailing attitude that females are frail and meant mostly for decoration; the suffering and hopelessness felt by the poor; the inflexibility of the class system. The description of the dosses and how they are treated, women so destitute they have barely the strength to crawl to pick up pennies that might be tossed to them, drives home the brutality that is hidden from the upper class world.
“And there they sit. Three times a month they are allowed a meal and a night’s sleep in the workhouse. Three times. If they ask for more than that, they are locked up and given three days at hard labour.”
It was interesting to meet Sherlock Holmes through the eyes of his much-younger sister; and, Holmes fan that I am, I was very glad when Enola begins to see him, gradually, from a more sympathetic perspective than she did when they first meet in the book.
The novel also picks up pace quite nicely after the situation and major characters have been introduced; the reader is never left in any doubt that in Victorian England, bad things can, do and just might happen, even to our plucky hero. And the bad guys are most definitely bad – they mean business.
The book wraps up nicely and neatly, and the ending made me look forward to the next book in the series, The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, which luckily is in my TBR pile. And yes, I dived into this next book right away. Ms. Bookish’s Rating: A-: Good Read Plus ?