Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

Pub Date: August 31, 2021

Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Wednesday Books!)

Summary: Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’–and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know–she’d feel–if her twin had died.

The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover–or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely–and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help–from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Back in 2011 (coincidentally it was on my birthday that year!), I reviewed The Case of the Missing Marquess, the first book in the Enola Holmes series. I picked up the book on a whim during a sick day in bed when I wanted something entertaining and light – this book was just the thing. Enola Holmes, the headstrong, whip smart 14-year-old sister of the Holmes brothers, has been left to her own defenses after her mother mysteriously disappears. What followed was a wonderfully fun romp and I quickly ate up the following books.

My love for the series held strong through the years and the books became a favorite go-to recommendation of mine during my bookseller days; I pushed them onto young and old readers alike. When Netflix announced they were adapting the series into a live-action movie, I was thrilled. And when I found out Nancy Springer was delivering unto the world a seventh volume…I was beside myself. After all these years Enola was coming back.

This new volume, Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche, might have arrived years after the last book, but it wastes no time in bringing the reader up to speed, courtesy of a quick recap from Sherlock. Now 15, Enola has come to something of a truce with her brothers and she even assists Sherlock on his own cases. When Miss Letitia Glover arrives at Sherlock’s door seeking help, it’s Enola who comes to her aid. The Earl of Dunhench, Tish’s brother-in-law, has hastily sent a note claiming Tish’s twin sister has died. Between vague explanations, extremely shady death certificates, and Tish’s own sisterly intuition, she’s convinced Felicity is still alive. But where is she? And could the Earl’s first wife have also met a sinister end? To investigate further, Enola must do what she does best: go undercover. But she won’t be on her own: Sherlock is also on the case along with familiar faces from previous novels.

If I was thrilled to see the return of this series, I’m even more delighted to say it lives up to the spirit of the previous books. It felt as though I was right back in the swing of things, right alongside old friends. The humor, the Victorian atmosphere, the delightful vocabulary, it was all there as though there hadn’t been a decade between books. Sherlock’s helpful recap absolutely had a hand in getting me caught up, but once I returned to Baker Street, everything came rushing back.

Although Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche is the seventh installment, newcomers to the series can jump right in rather than starting at the beginning. Though, be warned, once you read this one you WILL want to go back and devour the rest! Witty, exciting, highly entertaining, this book is every bit as great as the previous volumes and I’m so glad it’s here.

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