The case of the missing marquess by Nancy Springer
An Enola Holmes mystery. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN
(Age: 10-14) Highly recommended. Themes: Mystery. Sherlock Holmes. Missing persons. Enola Holmes' mother has disappeared on her birthday without word or clue. Her much older brothers (Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes) attempt to ascertain where she has gone. They put all their considerable resources to find her but cannot solve the mystery between them. Sherlock Holmes returns to London to continue his search, but his older brother decides that the solution for Enola is to place her into a ladies' boarding school and all that goes with this in the Victorian era. Enola is not pleased with this solution and plans to escape to make her own life and find her mother in her own way.
Enola travels to London where she puts her skills of deduction to work to attempt to solve the mystery of her mother's disappearance and, along the way, solves the mystery of the kidnapping of the young Viscount Tewksbury. The pace of the story speeds up as she confronts murderous villains and then continues to elude her shrewd (and famous) older brothers.
Enola's independent spirit doesn't fit into the Victorian era in which she has been born and she develops into an independent character fulfilling dreams and offering her deductive services to others. The novel supports the discussion of women's rights and the Suffragette movement in a similar way to the story in Mary Poppins, not a major part of the story but enough to spur the reader to find out more about the era. The book is written in first person which adds to the tension and excitement. The description of London in the 1880's is convincing and paints a picture of the poverty of the ordinary people who lived in the streets at this time.
This is a great start to an interesting series of books that will appeal to a wide variety of children aged 10-14. There are plans in place to make the books into a movie series.
Highly recommended for Upper Primary.