Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Flowers with a deadly message

Enola Holmes, little sister to Sherlock Holmes, makes her third appearance in The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets. She is still living incognito in London, using all her considerable resourcefulness to make sure her older brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft, do not discover her whereabouts. If they do, they will send her to some horrible boarding school where she'll be corseted and taught all kinds of useless, boring things.

In the previous book in the series, Enola had desperately appealed to her missing mother for help - using a secret code the two of them know, involving the language of flowers, placed in the personals in the newspapers. Her mother never replied, and at the opening of this book, Enola has been moping in her room for weeks, devastated at her mother's refusal to answer her plea. It isn't until she reads the newspaper and discovers that Dr. Watson is missing that she manages to shake free from her despondency.

Enola is ambivalent about her brothers - she admits to idolizing Sherlock, but she's afraid of him, too, and she feels that Mycroft is high handed and pompous. But she adores Dr. Watson, and the thought of him in danger is most distressing. She knows Sherlock will be trying to find his colleague, but she is determined to help all she can, to try to discover his whereabouts as quickly as possible. The reader knows where Dr. Watson is from the beginning, as the opening scene of the book shows him in dire straits indeed.

Enola is an engaging heroine, with faults and weaknesses, but also intelligence, ingenuity, and a caring heart. She visits with Mrs. Watson, hoping not to upset her further but desperately seeking a starting point for her search. And there she finds a most upsetting clue - a bouquet made of flowers that signify bad luck and ill intentions. From there Enola follows a trail of clues that has her honing her skills at disguise and fleeing for her life along the rooftops of London as she tries to unmask the enemy and locate kind old Dr. Watson.

This is an excellent addition to the Enola Holmes series, which not only presents an intriguing historical mystery but also gives us further insight into Enola's character. She continues to follow her dreams despite her intense loneliness and separation from her family. I hope that in further books she will come to realize that she may possibly have misjudged one - or both - of her brothers.

Books in the Enola Holmes series:
1. The Case of the Missing Marquess
2. The Case of the Left-Handed Lady
3. The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets
(#3 in the Enola Holmes series) by Nancy Springer (Philomel Books, 2008)

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6 comments:

  1. This sounds like a really fun series. How come I have never heard of these books? *sulk*

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  2. Lol! Cute idea for a series. It sounds like it's aimed primarily at kids too so maybe they'll be interested in Sherlock when they grow up!

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  3. Sherlock Holmes' little sister - I love the idea. It sounds like lots of fun!

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  4. Rhinoa - it is a fun series, and Nancy Springer is a wonderful writer!

    Ladytink - it's easy to tell that Springer is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. The books in this series ring very true to the time and feel of the original stories.

    Nymeth - it is very fun, and Enola is definitely a character to root for! I think you'll like them.

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  5. I'm going to have to look into this series. I love anything to do with Sherlock Holmes and this series sounds like such a lot of fun! Of course, I need *another* series like I need a hole in the head... *eg*

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  6. I know just what you mean about series, cath - they're like a gateway drug into bigger and bigger piles of books. :-D But I just...can't...stop!!

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