Book Review: The Case of the Missing Marquess

The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery
By Nancy Springer

My Edition:
Paperback, 216 pages
2006, Puffin
ISBN: 9780142409336

Enola is the little sister of the infamous Holmes brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. She lives on the family estate with her eccentric mother, mostly forgotten by her brothers until her mother’s mysterious disappearance. Eager to avoid boarding school and desperate to find her mother, Enola sets out on her own. She must evade her brothers while deciphering cryptic clues left by  her mother, and on the way finds another mystery to solve – that of a young marquess who appears to have been kidnapped. Enola finds herself caught up in a villainous plot while trying to make her own way in life and solve her own mysteries without the help of Sherlock.

I love middle grade and I love Sherlock Holmes (the books, the BBC TV series and the Robert Downey Jr. films), so I wasn’t surprised to find I also loved this book. After I started reading I realized I recognised Springer’s name – back in high school I devoured a couple of her other books, I Am Morgan Le Fay and I Am Mordred and I was happy to be back in one of her worlds. Enola has just as much personality as her brothers (who I couldn’t help but picture as the actors from BBC’s Sherlock) and she was smart without being too smart. It’s no fun to read about a genius child who always has the answers and is never downtrodden or close to defeat. Enola made mistakes and learned from them.

I flew through this book in a day (not just because it’s middle grade) and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series. There’s some ciphering activities worked into the book that one could try to solve before Enola does if one was feeling a challenge (I was not) and as I usually do in middle grade novels, I picked up a few new vocabulary words. Also I love the cover art (bet you didn’t see that coming!)

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