Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sherlock Holmes had a sister?

Having decided to hoard the latest escapades of Flavia De Luce for hopefully better days ahead I cast my nets and twitched my literary feelers seeking a palatable substitute. It's never been totally dismissed that Sherlock had a canonical sister. He mentions a possibly hypothetical sister several times in The Copper Beeches. The debates go on. It's been a while since I dipped my toes in the YA sea. I've had lots of fun in the past when I have dived in but these days there does seem to be rather more fish than sea. Enola is certainly no match for Flavia (she doesn't even give her bicycle a name for heaven's sake) and Nancy Springer's Victorian England doesn't convince as seamlessly as Pullman's Sally Lockhart books. The author does have great fun with various Victorian minutiae, most notably with Enola's clothing in her various disguises. Enola turns her lack of womanly curves to her advantage by taking advantage of all the vacant storage space with her 'improvised wearable baggage' compartments. The main push of the storyline is taken up by the disappearance of our girl's mother, who vanishes so completely even Sherlock is at a loss. Enola decides to track her down with the aid of her mother's cyphers and a skill for caricature sketching, as much to prove to her disparaging brothers her true cranial capacity. Boarding school and learning to be a proper lady certainly doesn't appeal so she stuffs her baggage compartments full of loot and survival items and sets out on her un-named bicycle in pursuit. It's a short read but entertaining with enough chuckles and even a few Holmsian tingles when Enola and Sherlock collide for me to come back looking for book 2.

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