Friday, June 08, 2007

Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes' Mysteries

The thing that struck me most about The Case of the Left-Handed Lady and it's predecessor, The Case of the Missing Marquess, was how exquisitely well-written it was. This is not a surprise-- the first couple of pages of this author's Rowan Hood are among the few lines that I will read to students to get them hooked. The details of Enola Holmes' life are well-described and so interesting that I had to think this morning "Wait, there was a very good plot, too!"

Enola, age 14, separated from her forward thinking (for 1889) mother and loath to return to the care of her brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes for fear that they will make her become a cosseted and over-protected "lady", has established a life for herself in London. She has a detective agency, and is soon embroiled in a case to find a girl not much older than herself, while trying to avoid her brother Sherlock, who is never far away. This is a good picture of the social differences in English society at the time, and as I said, vividly done. You could feel the sooty smog settling on your shoulders.

Good book. I am currently trying to locate a copy of this author's Blood Trail to read.

The only trouble Enola will have circulating is the somewhat odd historical period. Still, mysteries are always needed, strong female characters are wanted by girls, and any fan of Rowan Hood will be glad to pick these up. The book is attractively packaged, as well, and a fun small size. The girls who turn up their noses at the pink and glitter heft of Jaffe's Bad Kitty (another mystery, good but quite different) will love this.

My one complaint: it's "needs must". (Pg. 7, "a scientist must needs be a man"). Oh, okay, The Columbia Guide to Standard American English says they can be used interchangeably, but anyone who has spent a lot of time reading Latin translations done in the 1880s knows that it's "needs must". What? Middle school students won't notice?

No comments:

Post a Comment