Friday 29 September 2023

Enola Holmes and the Mark of the Mongoose

Enola Holmes and the Mark of the Mongoose by Nancy Springer (Allen & Unwin) YA RRP $19.99 ISBN 97817611806

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Nancy Springer is the author of the bestselling Enola Holmes novels as well as more than 50 other books for children and adults. This is the ninth and final book in the Enola Holmes series.

Its May 1890, and Enola Holmes is a fiercely independent young lady who is no longer hiding from her older brothers Sherlock and Mycroft. She is a scientific peditorian, which is the finder of lost things and people. Wolcott Balestier, a representative of an American book publisher who arrives in London to contract English authors. Suddenly, Balestier disappears, and his great friend Rudyard Kipling desperately seeks help at Enola’s office. However, hiring a young woman will not do, so instead he turns to Sherlock Holmes. Enola becomes determined to find Kipling before her brother, Sherlock, and she sets off on her own to solve the mystery.

Nancy Springer is an author who has a great love of history, mysteries, and the greats of writing. She pays particular attention to detail her research which ensures facts are woven into her text to give it authenticity. Since her childhood, the works of Rudyard Kipling have captivated her. It is fact that Kipling lived in London during 1890 and was writing his first novel. Also, during this time Kipling formed a close friendship with Wolcott Balestier, an American writer/editor/publisher who was in London visiting his sister Caroline. Caroline married Rudyard Kipling and they were together for forty-three years.

Enola Holmes is a fictional character. Springer weaves the speech, customs, clothing, food, and way of life into the story with such a deft hand that the reader feels like they are inside this time and place as they too become invested in solving the mystery of Kipling’s disappearance. Hiding my discombobulated face by languidly fanning myself, I considered my mission: find that ruddy man, Rudyard Kipling. Because the text is written in the first person the reader really does feel as if they are living in this world with Enola. This deeply layered book takes many twists and turns to solve the mystery, and this ensure the reader is hooked.

Enola Holmes, and the Mark of the Mongoose is a teen and YA novel that is sure not to disappoint those interested in history and solving mysteries. The fact that this series has now been made into a Netflix series will attract new readers. This book will not disappoint Nancy Springer fans.

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