My husband and I enjoyed watching Enola Holmes over the Christmas holidays, so I decided to give the first book in the series a try. I had assumed it would be YA, but it is actually marked for middle grades.
Enola Holmes, who is the younger sister of Mycroft and Sherlock, finds that her mother has disappeared on Enola’s 14th birthday. When her brothers, who have not come home for 10 years, respond to her telegram, they have some unpleasant surprises in store—Enola that Mycroft is more interested in sending her to boarding school than in finding their mother and Mycroft that the money he’s been sending for the upkeep of the estate has clearly not been spent on the estate. Sherlock is just determined to find their mother.
Enola is offended at some slighting remarks Sherlock makes about her intelligence and is determined not to go to boarding school. Having figured out that her mother has left her some clues and hidden some money, Enola disguises herself as a widow and leaves the house to search for her mother. On the way, she hears that the 12-year-old Marquess of Tewksbury has disappeared and finds the first clues to his disappearance.
I always judge books by how much they entertain me, and I have to say, this one is probably very entertaining for a 12-year-old but was lacking for me. I can’t tell whether this is because I recently saw the movie—which really only borrowed the concept from the book—or not. Certainly, I found the movie sharper in wit, more full of adventure, and more likely, at least in its conclusion. I also couldn’t help comparing this book to the Flavia de Luce series, which has a much more distinctive voice and is much funnier. However, as reading for kids this is good fun.