Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Case of the Missing Marquess

This is the first book of the wonderful Enola Holmes series, which I adore.  I first read this before I started book blogging, so while I've reviewed all the others in the series, I've never written about this one.  I read it to my 9- and 11-year-old girls over the summer, and it was a definite hit with both of them.  And as I'd just finished the final book of the series, it was fun to go back and read the first one.  And I have to say, it held up very well - all the clues are there, back in the very first book, that lead to the final reveal in the sixth book, and it all fits together quite nicely.

In this book we are introduced to Enola Holmes, the much, much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes.  She barely knows either of her brothers; she lives on a secluded estate with her mother, a progressive woman who has raised Enola to be an independent thinker.

When her mother disappears into thin air - on Enola's birthday, of all days - Enola finds herself faced with some dreadful changes in her life.  Mycroft has been appointed as Enola's guardian, and as both of her older brothers are dismayed by her lack of ladylike sensibilities, they determine to send her to a private girls' boarding school.  Enola has no intention of being locked up in a horrid school, and she travels to London in disguise in order to discover the truth about her mother's disappearance.

This book is in many ways a setup for the rest of the series, as it introduces the larger mystery that comprises a story arc that runs throughout all the books.  But it also contains a separate mystery that does have a definite conclusion, which makes it a satisfying read while leaving enough unresolved issues to make readers eager to reach for the next book.  I am a huge fan of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and I am very happy with the way Springer has treated my beloved characters.  This mystery should appeal to young readers who enjoy historical fiction, adventure stories, mysteries and puzzles - and adult fans of Holmes would likely enjoy this series as well.  I know it's become one of my favorites (although I am a huge fan of the Mary Russell series as well).

Books in the Enola Holmes series:
1. The Case of the Missing Marquess
The Case of the Left-Handed Lady
The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets
4. The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan

5. The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline
6. The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye

The Case of the Missing Marquess (#1 in the Enola Holmes series) by Nancy Springer (Philomel Books, 2006)

Source: My own personal copy

Also reviewed at:
Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog:  "I really enjoyed this book. It’s really more of a set-up for the rest of a series that an encompassing first novel, but I liked reading about Enola finding out useful things about herself, like how she’s good at disguises and finding things and other generally exciting detective-like traits."
Bookshelves of Doom:  "Enola herself is bright, courageous, stubborn and sees the ridiculousness of the Way Things Are Done* -- all qualities I love in a heroine -- and I'm DYING to read the other books in the series."
Jen Robinson's Book Page:  "The Case of the Missing Marquess is a quick but atmospheric read, with a protagonist strong enough to carry a longer-running series."
Kinnie's Korner (my daughter's book blog):  "I loved this book a lot."


  1. This one is on my bookshelf, patiently waiting to be read, and I'm glad to hear I'm really going to enjoy it! I don't think I realized that it's the first one in the series, and it sounds like it's important to begin at the beginning, so I made a good choice without knowing it. Great review!

  2. Willow - I don't want to set you up with too high expectations, so be aware that they get progressively more complex as they go, and better and better. Enola is such a plucky heroine - I think you'll like her!

  3. I think I am going to give this a try. I just requested it from the library. :)

  4. Kailana - Oh, good! Can't wait to hear what you think.


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