Review Blog

Feb 05 2019

The case of the bizarre bouquets by Nancy Springer

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An Enola Holmes mystery book 3. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN 9781760637415.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Detectives. Mysteries. 19th century England. Brothers and sisters. Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes mysteries blend personalities from Arthur Conan Doyle's detective novels, with wonderful new characters, intriguing settings and thrilling plots. Enola Holmes is a feisty, independent teenager whose sharp observations, ability to think quickly and act in a manner suited to different social situations, makes her the perfect person to take on these missing person cases.
In The case of the bizarre bouquets Enola reads the news that Doctor John Watson, Sherlock's assistant, is missing. Enola's brothers have observed her previous disguises, so she decides to beautify herself with a blonde wig and frilly dress. Her beauty regime and cumbersome clothing prove challenging when chasing Watson's foes.
To gather insight into the disappearance, she calls upon Dr Watson's wife, pretending to be a former patient. Here she observes a strange bouquet made with poppies, asparagus, hawthorn and bindweed (convolvulus). Enola is skilled in understanding the language of flowers, their special meanings and also has a broad botanical knowledge. With this knowledge she discovers a message connected to the doctor's disappearance. Throughout this increasingly dangerous investigation, Enola is forced to flee over London rooftops, confront a fierce watchdog and help her brother Sherlock escape. She even risks her life by entering the insane asylum as a patient to find where Watson is being held.
Nancy Springer's Enola Holmes mystery series carry the reader into Victorian life, exploring the changing roles of women in society, how the upper classes live and the poor live a hand to mouth existence in the roughest areas of the city. A thoroughly enjoyable read for fans of Sherlock Holmes, historical fiction and detective novels.
Rhyllis Bignell

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