A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Gregory Maguire (What-the-Dickens, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister).
- In 1934, the cartoon character Donald Duck makes his debut in The Wise Little Hen. Hence, it is Donald Duck Day. Read The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa, Donald Duk by Frank Chin, and Duck by Randy Cecil.
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Patricia Clapp (1912-2003), Jane-Emily, The Tamarack Tree.
- In 1959, Queen Elizabeth II officially opens the London Gatwick Airport. Read A Plane Goes Ka-Zoom! by Jonathan London, illustrated by Denis Roche and This is London by Miroslav Sasek.
Around this time of year many school children find themselves on summer vacation, often with an assignment to read a number of books over the summer.Â I myself was never so happy as a child as when I had unlimited time to read and a pile of new offerings by my chair.
Well, if you have some influence over what your children, ages ten through fourteen, pick up during the summer, and if they are you are fans of Sherlock Holmes, then give them Edgar Awardâ€“winning author Nancy Springerâ€™s Enola Holmes Mysteries series that begins with The Case of the Missing Marquess.
Women did not figure prominently in the all-male world of Holmes, but Nancy Springer has rectified this situation. She imagines that Holmes has a much younger sister, Enola. The young girl lives on the family estate with her mother, who has penchant for creating art and solving ciphers. Enolaâ€™s brothers Sherlock and Mycroft reside in London. Then, on Enolaâ€™s fourteenth birthday, her mother suddenly vanishes.
Eventually, of course, the famous detective and Mycroft arrive to solve the case, and Enola begins to discover a few things about her mother that she didnâ€™t know. Since property could not be owned by a woman, upon her fatherâ€™s death ownership passed to her brothers. Her mother then startedÂ deceiving Mycroft about the accounts and embezzling from the inheritance. Enola discovers a cipher book, given as a birthday present, that leads her to discover large sums of money her mother has stashed away.
Neither Mycroft nor Sherlock seem particularly sympathetic figures; both hold women in low regard. Their ignorance allows Enola to formulate a plan of actionâ€”to execute an escape of her own. When she gets wrapped up in the disappearance of a missing young marquess who has also run away, however, her plan begins to change. How the two join forces, outsmart their captors in London, and give the Holmes brothers quite a headache makes for a delightful romp of a novel. In the end Enola has cleverly made contact with her motherâ€”andÂ is set up in her own business, a situation ideal for subsequent volumes in the series,
The book maintains all of Victorian Englandâ€™s wonderful details as the original stories and contains a protagonist many young readers will findÂ sympathetic.
If they get on a Sherlock Holmes kick, they will also enjoy the new Andrew Lane series about the adolescence of the great detective, Death Cloud and Rebel Fire. Both series lend themselves to summer readingâ€”an interesting premise, great action, great escape, and the perfect way to while away unstructured time.
Happy summer readingâ€”to everyone in the family.
Hereâ€™s a section from The Case of the Missing Marquess:
I would very much like to know why my mother named me â€śEnola,â€ť which, backwards spells alone. Mum was, or perhaps still is, fond of ciphers, and she must have had something in mind, whether foreboding or a sort of left-handed blessing or, already, plans, even though my father had not yet passed away.
Originally posted June 9, 2012. Updated for .