Springer (Rowan Hood; I Am Mordred) proves that she is as comfortable in England's late 19th century as she was in Sherwood Forest and Camelot with this debut title in the Enola Holmes Mystery series. Her heroine, however, is not. After Enola's mother disappears, her older brother, Sherlock (yes, that one), and oldest brother, Mycroft, whom she has not seen in 10 years, seem bent on forcing her into a steel-ribbed corset and sending her off to boarding school. But Enola ("which, backwards, spells `alone,' " she points out) rebels. Her mother has left behind a little book of ciphers, so the 14-year-old disguises herself and heads to London, where she hopes to outwit her brothers and find her mother. Readers will find the teen's internal monologue quite entertaining ("Always I felt to blame for-for whatever, for breathing-because I had been born indecently late in Mother's life... And always I had counted upon setting things right after I was grown.... So she had to be alive"). Along the way, Enola becomes involved in the search for the missing Viscount Tewksbury, Marquess of Basilwether, and hair-raising adventures ensue. Enola shows herself to be an intelligent, rational, resourceful and brave protagonist. Readers will look forward to hearing this heroine's unique voice again soon. Ages 9-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of the famous Sherlock Holmes, is growing up in Victorian England, where women are considered less intelligent and less important than men. After her father's premature death, Enola is raised by her mother, who then mysteriously disappears on Enola's fourteenth birthday. Knowing that she is the only one who has the clues to find her mother, Enola sets off for London in disguise. During her travels, Enola faces cutthroats and villains while happening upon and solving the famous kidnapping mystery of the Marquess of Basilwether. Although Enola's brothers underestimate her, she manages to hide from them while discovering how to keep track of her mother's whereabouts. The intriguing novel is the first in a new mystery series by Nancy Springer. Springer's use of historical facts, British dialect, and vocabulary create a believable work of historical fiction, convincing the reader of the setting and time period. The descriptive imagery also helps to draw the reader into the book. Cliffhangers in every chapter offer the reader continuous suspense and keep the pages turning. The excitement of this novel will surely compel readers to continue with the series. 2006, Philomel Books/Penguin, Ages 10 to 12.
Gr 4-8-In what is hopefully the start of an exciting new series, Missing Marquess features the intriguing, much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. Enola was a late-life baby, causing something of a scandal in society. Her rather vague mother is a 64-year-old widow who disappears on Enola's 14th birthday. It takes the girl a short time to realize that her mother left her some ciphers that indicate why she went away and how she is faring. The teen reluctantly enlists the services of her adult brothers, who quickly determine that Lady Holmes has been padding the household accounts for years. When they decide that their sister belongs at a boarding school, Enola escapes and heads for London dressed as a widow. There she is able to solve a mystery involving the disappearance of young Viscount Tewksbury. She decides to stay in the city, adopting a number of disguises, and become a "Perditorian," or finder of lost things or people. Springer focuses a great deal on the restrictions placed on Victorian females by showing how unusual Enola's bravery and common sense are, even as she often struggles with conventional reactions. She wants her brothers' affection, or indeed anyone's, but knows that a socially accepted life will strictly limit her freedom and learning. Enola's loneliness, intelligence, sense of humor, and sheer pluck make her an extremely appealing heroine who hopefully will one day find the affection for which she so desperately longs.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
With gleeful panache, Springer introduces an innocent but capable young sleuth-the younger sister of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, no less-and takes her from wild English countryside to the soupy filth of Victorian London. Having led a free-spirited but cloistered life on the ancestral country estate, 14-year-old Enola Holmes is thrown for a loop by her mother's sudden disappearance-not to mention the subsequent arrival of her long-absent big brothers, both of whom turn out to be overbearing and dismissive of women. Rather than meekly knuckle under, though, Enola makes careful preparation (she thinks) and slips off to track her wayward parent down. On the way, she falls into the furor surrounding an apparent kidnapping (see title)-and then, barely does she arrive in the big city before some authentically scary ruffians snatch her, too. Naive but a quick study, and more resourceful than even her renowned siblings, Enola resolutely surmounts each challenge that comes her way. By the end, she has rescued the spoiled young aristocrat, eluded her brothers, gotten a lead on her mother thanks to a series of cleverly coded messages and even set herself up as a "Perditorian"-a finder of lost things and people. A tasty appetizer, with every sign of further courses to come. (Fiction. 10-12)
Enola shows herself to be an intelligent, rational, resourceful and brave protagonist. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)