An Enola Holmes Mystery: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets
For those waiting, while reading these graphic novel adaptations of the young adult novels made into a popular Netflix movie, for more involvement from the more famous Holmes, this is the volume you want. In An Enola Holmes Mystery: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets, Enola Holmes has to rescue a kidnapped John Watson from a disturbing, murderous threat.
(This is the third in the series adapted and illustrated by Serena Blasco from the novels by Nancy Springer, after The Case of the Missing Marquess and The Case of the Left-Handed Lady. The other three novels out of the series of six have been turned into comics in French, but there are no plans for IDW/EuroComics to release them as well. These three graphic novel hardcovers are also currently out of print and so going for higher prices, with interest driven by the movie.)
Dr. Watson previously appeared in the second book, and here, he’s a motivating absence. While Sherlock Holmes is looking for him, Enola talks with the doctor’s wife, Mrs. Watson, in disguise. This approach, focusing on the women and children left out of the works of the era, is typical of her stories. Her visit allows her to use her knowledge of the language of flowers, also a continuing theme in this series, to find a lead.
Enola’s determination, imagination, and cleverness are on full display. This is much more an adventure story than a mystery, as Enola stumbles across the villain and finds Dr. Watson by accident and coincidence. It’s an exciting read, though, with some truly creepy moments, including a visit to a mental asylum. The pages where Enola’s on the run from the bad guys are particularly impressive, with a chase across rooftops. (It concludes with a frankly unbelievable mistake on the part of the villains, who know their greenhouse has been broken into but don’t bother searching it, but there is a good deal of suspension of disbelief required throughout the story.)
There is no movement on the bigger story, of Enola looking for her missing mother, although it’s mentioned. That’s still my biggest problem with the series: we’re supposed to believe that the mother is desirable enough for Enola to want her back, but we’re not supposed to be concerned that Enola is living on her own in London without her or other support. Why should we want back a woman who abandons her daughter so thoughtlessly? I know it’s just a device to enable the girl’s adventure tales, but it’s a fundamental contradiction. (The publisher provided a review copy.)