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Book Review: Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

Publication Date: 31st August 2021

Genre: Historical Mystery, Young Adult, Holmes Fan Fiction

4.3 Stars

For mystery May at The Writer’s Workout, what can be better than a mystery book set in bygone era with Sherlock Holmes in it?

Enola Holmes is Sherlock’s (not-so) little sister, now fifteen and back in action. She has previously solved 6 cases (yeah, something I wasn’t even aware of), and the first book in the series was made into a movie in 2020.

The case of Black Barouche could be termed as the seventh book in the series, though it reads well as a standalone. I couldn’t have been happier noticing this. Even more so since the last book of the series was published more than a decade ago. Yeah! I’m going to read them all because I just love Enola. She is smart, quirky, mischievous, resourceful, and a little stupid at times. A perfect combination for a teen detective from the Victorian Era.

I’m relieved that the author got Sherlock and Watson to appear authentic and true to their characters. Yeah, she’s probably written them in her previous books, but then I’m always wary of what other authors tend to do with famous characters. This book, however, reads like an original.

The case of Black Barouche starts with a letter from Sherlock where new readers with absolutely no clue about the series get a gist of Enola and her relationship with her older brothers. Then it dives straight into the story, and we see it from Enola’s POV. The narrative style suits her so well, you can see the author’s command over her character.

The author has retained the flair and flavor of language from that era while also keeping it relatable and light for today’s readers. She also effectively portrays the dynamics between two headstrong and talented siblings, Sherlock and Enola. Both of them want to solve the case before the other, but ultimately work together and help each other to solve the case.

The case in this book deals with the dead/missing wife of an Earl. The wife’s twin sister, Letitia Glover (yet another delightful character who was quite modern for the era), visits Sherlock to request help, and Enola steps in to promise her services. The girls connect and become good friends during the case.

Sherlock, of course, has an important role to play. Enola is still a young girl, and well, the setting naturally puts enough limitations and obstacles on her path. I do wish Dr. Watson was seen more often. But then, this book belongs to Enola. She and Sherlock are working together, I mean, as together as it can be possible with two strong-willed and determined people wanting to solve the case before the other.

The case is straightforward with no unexpected twists and turns. There are no pull-the-rug moments or punch-in-your-face twists that come out of nowhere. (I don’t prefer twists in thrillers for the sake of having one).

There are some disturbing scenes (I’m not sure how a teen would take), though I’m fine with it. The scenes show how things were/ are, and none of it has been amplified or dramatized to scare the readers.

The underlying theme deals with the status of women in the Victorian era, especially the girls who belong to ordinary families. We also see the restrictions put on Enola, which she artfully bypasses. That girl is quite a combination of class and determination.

I like how the Earl’s named Caddie (no spoilers). Tewky, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether, also has a role to play in the book. He’s one of the characters from the previous books and apparently seems to have a nice following among the readers.

The book ends with Sherlock’s POV as he summaries and ties up the loose ends with Enola stepping in, of course. How can she not take things into her hands, right?

Overall, this is a delightful mystery with a feisty heroine and her brother, Sherlock, the world-famous detective. The touches of humor do outweigh the grim scenes. That’s a plus if you are reading the book in times like this (pandemic).

I’m so glad that my friend alerted me about a few books being added to the ‘Read Now’ list on NetGalley for a limited time. The geographical restrictions don’t let me request books by St. Martin’s Press otherwise.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press/ Wednesday Books.


About the Author: Srivalli Rekha is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer. She got a degree in MBA and MA English Literature and chose to become a writer and a poet instead of a corporate professional.


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1 Comment

Sarah Perchikoff
Sarah Perchikoff
May 13, 2021


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