Title: Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche (Enola Holmes #7)
Author: Nancy Springer
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: August 31st, 2021
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!
I haven’t read any of the previous Enola books, and my understanding is there hasn’t been a new one in about a decade but with the success of the Netflix adaptation there was cause for a return to the series. But, this book could definitely be read as a standalone, and there is plenty of time spent recapping the first 6 books in a foreword narrated by Sherlock instead of Enola, whereas the rest of the book is from Enola’s POV.
I loved books like Nancy Drew and other mystery middle grade books when I was younger, I just feel like my tastes have changed since then and I didn’t get as much enjoyment out of this as I had hoped to. It felt very solidly middle-grade, which isn’t a problem – it’s just not my preferred genre anymore. I will say the second half was a lot more interesting than the first half. Once the mystery really was getting going and the investigation was picking up steam, so did my interest in the book. The set up of the story really didn’t do it for me though.
I love that there is a series about a young woman performing this role of investigator, especially in the time period it is set in. It is something that young girls should be able to read and see themselves in, and I really appreciate that about the series. I’m not sure I would personally continue reading more or go back and read the books I missed, though the length makes the idea more palatable. It really was a quick read.
If you loved the Netflix adaptation and enjoy middle grade, I would recommend checking this one out.
Thank you to Wednesday Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!