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I AM LATE to the party—and to the lawsuit—in that I’ve only recently discovered yet another Holmes family member. We already have Sherlock and his brother Mycroft, so ably chronicled by Dr. John H. Watson (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle being Watson’s literary agent). Now, thanks to Nancy Springer, we can also enjoy Enola Holmes, sister of Sherlock and his elder brother. Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are details of this endearingly spunky 14-year-old.
The Enola Holmes Mysteries. Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes series is written for young adult readers. Demographically challenged though I am, I find The Case of the Missing Marquess to be engaging, charming, entertaining, and Canonically satisfying.
My introduction to Enola came through Michael Wood’s “At the Movies” in London Review of Books, October 22, 2020. Wood writes, “Springer has written more than fifty books for young adults, going some way towards confirming that this category often has nothing to do with the age of the reader, and means only that the writing is better than a lot of the what is apparently suited to older readers. Six of Springer’s books are about Enola Holmes, and the film is her first translation into cinema. It is based on the first in the series, The Case of the Missing Marquess (2006), so we may be witnessing the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”
A Well-Brought-Up Victorian Kid. Enola’s older brothers Sherlock and Mycroft are grown and gone off to London. “Born indecently late in Mother’s life—a scandal, a burden, you see…,” Enola lives with her mother Lady Eudoria Vernet Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Lane, butler and cook at Ferndell Hall.
Given Canonical suggestions about Vernet and other family matters, it’s suggested that Enola is well-brought-up; indeed, occasionally to a spunky fault. As an example, Enola shares an interaction with Mrs. Lane, who complains after Enola’s rainy-day excursion: “ ‘Don’t matter whether a person is common or aristocrat, if a person catches a chill, it could kill her.’ This to the teakettle she was placing on the stove. ‘Consumption is no respecter of persons or circumstances.’ To the tea canister. There was no reason for me to respond, for she wasn’t talking to me. She would not have been permitted to say anything of the sort to me.”
Well, maybe Enola isn’t completely well-brought-up.
A Mystery Evolves. Enola’s Mum has a habit of wandering off with paints and easel. But when she doesn’t return, Enola telegraphs “Lady Eudoria Vernet Holmes Missing Since Yesterday Stop Please Advise Stop Enola Holmes.”
Enola tells us, “I directed this wire to Mycroft Holmes, of Pall Mall, in London. And also, the same message, to Sherlock Holmes, of Baker Street, also in London. My brothers.”
As brother Sherlock would say, “The game is afoot.”
Tomorrow in Part 2, the plot thickens, with no less than lawyers from the Doyle Estate. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com. 2020