review; The Case of the Missing Marquess

Rainy days are great curl-up-with-a-book days! Sick days are fabulous curl-up-with-a-book days! Combine the two and you get the perfect day for reading. Yesterday I finally read The Case of the Missing Marquess.

The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes Mystery #1) by Nancy Springer

When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly embarks on a journey to London in search of her. But nothing can prepare her for what awaits. Because when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, fleeing murderous villains, and trying to elude her shrewd older brothers—all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Amid all the mayhem, will Enola be able to decode the necessary clues and find her mother?

– taken from goodreads

What a lovely, lovely book. I finished it in one sitting (granted, I was sick in bed and it wasn’t a particularly long book, but there’s something to be said for a book you can read cover-to-cover in one go). I love when I stumble upon a book by chance and it turns out to be magical. I forget where I first heard of this series, but something about Sherlock Holmes’s little sister intrigued me.

The book opens with Enola’s 14th birthday. Her mother mysteriously vanishes and cannot be found anywhere. All she’s left behind for Enola are a few small presents: a handmade book of ciphers and a small book about the meaning of various plants and flowers.

After searching the grounds of Ferndell Hall Enola sends a telegraph to her brothers, Mycroft and the famous Sherlock. It has been ten years since she last saw either of them – not since their father’s funeral – and she had always believed it was her fault. She was born so late in her parents’ life, she wasn’t a son, she wasn’t ladylike enough, she was always viewed as a disgrace to her family, the list goes on and on.

Her brothers arrive and Enola realizes things aren’t always what they seem. Her brothers, in their own way, do care about her, and the reason for their avoidance wasn’t because of her, but because of their mother. After the death of their father, Mycroft became head of the household and, therefore, in charge of both Lady Eudoria and Enola. Both Mycroft and Sherlock are appalled by the state of the house and its grounds: the only help left are the cook and butler. It is discovered Lady Eudoria had been requesting more and more money from Mycroft (to pay for larger stables, various maids, gardeners, a governess, etc) only to take the money for herself and eventually flee the house she viewed as a prison.

Mycroft takes it upon himself to send Enola to a boarding school and the day she’s set to leave, she flees. After solving a few of the ciphers, she finds some of the money her mother hid away and embarks on her own quest to find Lady Eudoria.

I truly don’t think I can say enough about this book. It was that wonderful. I adored Enola. Whereas Sherlock feels she is of “limited cranial capacity” she is, on the contrary, quite smart and loves solving riddles and puzzles. She’s also incredibly witty and sarcastic and I simply loved her.

She looked all of a glow from the heat and the exercise. Horses sweat, you know, and men perspire, whereas ladies glow. I am sure I looked all of a glow also. Indeed, I could feel all-of-a-glow trickling down my sides beneath my corset, the steel ribs of which jabbed me under the arms most annoyingly.

The other characters – particularly Viscount Tewksbury – were equally as lovely and I hope they have larger roles throughout the rest of the series.

Quotes I enjoyed:

That word: Perditorian.

From the Latin perditus, meaning “lost.”

Perditorian: one who divines that which is lost.

But…but how dare she, with all her blather of spirits, title herself no nobly? Knower of the lost, wise woman of the lost, finder of the lost: That was my calling.

Sherlock and Mycroft would have wanted Mum back in Ferndell Hall, but obviously she did not wish to be there. When–not if, but when I found her, I would ask of her nothing that might make her unhappy. I was not seeking her in order to take away her freedom.

I just wanted to have a mum.

That was all.

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