Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"The Case of the Missing Marquess" by Nancy Springer

Eva from Coffee, Classics, and Craziness recommended this series to me because she knows I love Sherlock Holmes and good middle-grade fiction.  Thanks, Eva!  This was a fun, fast read.

Enola Holmes is the much, much, much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes.  While they're off pursuing their adult lives in London, she's growing up footloose and free in the country.  Or she was.  Their mother disappears on Enola's fourteenth birthday, and none of the Holmes siblings can figure out where she's gone.

Sherlock and Mycroft are appalled at the non-ladylike behavior of their little sister and determine to send her to boarding school so she can have a proper upbringing.  Enola has been taught to fear things like corsets and male authority by her proto-feminist mother, and she runs away, determined to find her missing parent.  Instead, she gets tangled up in the mystery of a runaway aristocrat and succeeds where her famous brothers fail.

The idea of Sherlock Holmes having a younger sister amused me greatly, and I really liked Enola as a character.  I didn't enjoy the almost militant feminist overtones quite so much, and the book as a whole fell just a little into the trap of "let's make our detective look smarter by making everyone else kind of dim" that a lot of Holmes pastiches get snared in.  However, I'm pretty sure I'll try another book in the series to see if I like it better.

Particularly Good Bits:

Lead-coloured clouds hung low while the setting sun oozed molten light between them; the Gothic towers of the city stood festive yet foreboding against that glowering sky, like candles on the Devil's birthday cake (p. 141).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for repeated mentions of ladies-of-the-evening and fairly delicate allusions to how they make their living.  That's why I'd call this "middle-grade fiction" and not "junior fiction."  No bad language or other objectionable material, though.


This is my 9th book read and reviewed for the Adventure of Reading Challenge 2017.

11 comments:

  1. I was so excited to see your review of this pop up in my blog feed! :)

    It's been so long since I read any of these books, so I have go with memories of my memories, basically, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't my favorite book of the series (first books rarely are, since the author is getting in the flow of the characters, story, dialogue, etc.).

    Mom wouldn't let me read the second book in the series, I think because it dealt with psychics (I'm not sure, though). Bizarre Bouquets was a little...bizarre and deals with Watson disappearing. My favorite is probably Peculiar Pink Fan. Very interesting and enjoyable. And the last two are good as well.

    I look forward to reading further reviews! :)

    ~Eva

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    1. Eva, I'll probably try the next book later this fall. I tend not to read books in a series too close together so I don't get them all muddled :-)

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    2. That's an interesting policy + one that I've never heard of before. Unfortunately, I usually get to invested in a series to practice that much self control. ;)

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    3. Hee! Well, it's borne of long experience. If I read a book series all in a lump, I have trouble remembering what happens in which book, and everything runs together. Eventually, that's going to happen anyway -- though I was careful to read a book in between each of Patrick O'Brian's naval novels, all twenty of them now are smooshed into one long entity in my head because I read them more than a decade ago. (Time for a re-read!)

      I take great delight in savoring things that I enjoy, be they books or movies or food, and making them last as long as possible, so that's also part of it.

      (But I don't always do this. I watched Lost as fast as I could inhale the episodes. I was into it back when my kids still napped, and I would just chow through as many eps as I could per naptime, not caring if I was going to have to stop in the middle of an ep when they woke up. It's the closest to binge-watching as I've ever gotten, and it still took me like 2 years to watch all 6 seasons.)

      (This is why I've been a fan of Combat! for more than 20 years, and there are still forty-some eps I haven't seen.)

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  2. Omg I read this book! It was so good (if I remember correctly, which I think I do!). I think for me it was just a bit slow at first, but then it got really really interesting. Fun!

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    1. Jasmine, very cool! I agree that it got better as it went along :-) The last few chapters were quite involving.

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  3. Oh I love the Enola Holmes series! I always thought that it was so clever that her name backwards was Alone, perfect for her character...

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    1. Evangeline, I LOVE words that spelled backward mean something else (like the Mirror or Erised in Harry Potter). So I definitely appreciated that!

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  4. I love that gorgeous cover! It looks like the trees say SEBQR for some reason!

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    1. There is some suggestion online that Holmes liked absinthe. Maybe there's a connection to "Sebor Absinth"-brand absinthe? If that existed back then?

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    2. John Smith, I don't know! The book has lots of stuff about ciphers in it, and I never got around to figuring out what the cover meant. But I'm sure it does mean something. There's nothing about absinthe in the book, but who knows?

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