Review Blog

Feb 05 2019

The case of the peculiar pink fan by Nancy Springer

cover image

An Enola Holmes mystery book 4. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN 9781760637408.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Detectives. Mysteries. 19th century England. Brothers and sisters. Fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes lives in Victorian London, following in her famous brother Sherlock's footsteps as a detective. Her mother has gone away to live with the Romani people, leaving her daughter in the care of her oldest brother Mycroft Holmes. Helped by funds secreted throughout the city by her mother, she is able to finance her independent life, rent several flats, purchase a variety of disguises and develop her abilities and skills to deal with all classes of Victorian society. There is a poignancy and sadness at times, as Enola (alone backwards) desperately tries to stay in touch with her mother via messages in one of the London papers.
In The case of the peculiar pink fan Enola is resting in the new public building, the ladies' lavatory, hiding from her eldest brother and guardian Mycroft Holmes who wants to send her to boarding school. She encounters an old friend the Honourable Cecily Alistair, whose companions are keeping her under unusually tight reins. Enola's disguised in a scholarly outfit, but Cecily recognises her and she communicates a message using the secret language of fans. Cecily leaves behind this pink paper fan when roughly escorted away by her captors.
Enola's nearly seen by Mycroft as she leaves the ladies' lavatory and she finds herself on a difficult path, rushing about London, meeting an eccentric cast of characters and searching for poor Cecily who is being forced into an unwilling arrangement. Cecily's mother provides many helpful clues, as Enola dressed as a reporter, views her pink afternoon tea setting with its fans, special crockery and festive decorations. Fleet of foot, able to climb fences and trees, escape quickly and blend in at an orphanage are skills Enola engages in, in this fourth novel in the series. She even assists her brother Sherlock in escaping from the villains, as he too has been asked to find the missing heiress.
Nancy Springer's detective novels are exciting; there are extremely dangerous investigations, plenty of mysteries to solve and an array of villainous characters. She shares insights into the lifestyles of both rich and poor, into Victorian architecture, food and clothing. The Enola Holmes mystery stories are captivating and exciting to read and have been re-released as movie tie-ins.
Rhyllis Bignell

BUY IT ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries