temporaryworlds (temporaryworlds) wrote in bookish,

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#51 The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

While Enola Holmes was growing up, there was one message her mother repeated to her over and over again: “You will do very well on your own, Enola.” This theory is put to the test on Enola's fourteenth birthday, when her mother vanishes. Enola initially reaches out to her two older brothers, Mycroft and the detective Sherlock Holmes, who come to the conclusion that their mother ran away of her own accord. Unwilling to accept that she was abandoned, Enola decides to launch her own investigation, but her brothers would rather see her at a boarding school, like other girls her age. Enola flees her home, but how long can she remain hidden from England's most famous detective?

The Case of the Missing Marquess is the first book in the Enola Holmes mysteries, which focus on the life of Sherlock Holmes's much younger sister. The reason why The Missing Marquess is so successful is due to the character of Enola herself. Due to a very hands off upbringing, Enola is surprisingly self sufficient for a young woman of her era. At the same time, as she was raised in a rather isolated manner, she is completely unaware of the expectations for a girl of her age. I loved the fact that Enola managed to be so intelligent and tough, yet vulnerable at the same time. It makes sense that someone raised with little affection from her family would yearn for nothing more than to be loved and accepted by her mother and two brothers, and it is heartbreaking when the three of them give so little affection. 

The Case of the Missing Marquess should hold interest to fans of young adult/middle reader historical fiction. It's quite accessible to people who are familiar with Arthur Conan Doyle's work, as well as new fans. I enjoy how characters from the Sherlock Holmes stories (such as Inspector Lestrade and Sherlock himself) were woven into this tale. They appear in a few scenes, but this is really Enola's story. The Case of the Missing Marquess also does a good job of establishing the historical setting. This is most noticeable in the scenes that establish the poverty present in London. The book's one drawback is that the actual mystery story (involving, as you can probably tell from the title, a missing marquess), is somewhat weak, and pales in comparison to the larger story of Enola's missing mother (which I suspect will span multiple books). Otherwise, it's a very strong historical fiction novel.

I experienced The Case of the Missing Marquess as an audiobook, narrated by the talented Katherine Kellgreen. The one drawback to the audio format is it makes it more difficult to decode some of the ciphers Enola encounters, but I feel as if the quality of the narration makes up for it.

Rating: four and a half stars
Length: the print version has 208 pages
Source: Lewiston Public Library
Other books I've read by this author: I Am Mordred

Next up I will be reviewing Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

xposted to temporaryworlds , bookish , and goodreads
Tags: xxx author last name: r-z

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