Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, by Nancy Springer ($6.99)

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft. Did you know that?

In a charming children's series, Nancy Springer has given her readers a 14-year-old girl who has the stunning Holmes intellect and powers of detection, but who also has compassion and a wider breadth of emotions.

This is the second book in the series -- the fourth was just released in hardcover – and success has not diminished Springer's ability to capture her readers, young and old, from the first page.

Since Enola's escape from her brothers' clutches and plans to turn her into a well-mannered young woman with expertise in the arts necessary to make a good marriage, she has traveled to London and established herself as a finder of what is lost, be it people or things. A 14-year-old "scientific perditorian." She is also looking for her mother, who ran away from home and who, Enola believes, is in danger. That is a running thread throughout the books, and we find out a little more each time.

In the present book, Enola sets out to find another missing young woman, Lady Cecily. Cecily, too, was being groomed to be a proper young lady with good marriage prospects. It becomes clear that she had an interest in the dark and miserable world of the English underclass, the workers and impoverished souls upon whose backs the upperclass exist. So Springer supplies an education to her readers while entertaining them with Enola's adventures.

With Sherlock and Mycroft (and Dr. Watson) actively trying to find her, Enola must also use her wits to avoid their efforts. She gives a human face to the cold and intellectual creations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As a long-time ("The Speckled Band" in the seventh grade) fan of Sherlock Holmes, I love this series. What fun!

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