Excerpt From New Enola Holmes Book
It’s said that success has many parents, while failure is an orphan. It’s also true that success, these days, has many children, as a positive response to, say, a movie leads to more related product.
Which is my lead-in to the news that there’s a new Enola Holmes novel, out now. The original six volumes by Nancy Springer were published from 2006-2010, but given the success of the Netflix movie, they’re back, and there’s a new book in the series! (While the six were also adapted as graphic novels in French, the English series has ended after volume three. The movie is an entertaining girls’ adventure, although don’t get me started on how out-of-character Mycroft is.)
Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche is described as follows:
Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman — after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’ — and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know — she’d feel — if her twin had died.
The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed, it seems, by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover — or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely — and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help — from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!
The following, provided by the publisher, is a short excerpt from the new book. You can also read the beginning at the publisher’s website.
“Is she fainted?”
Indignant, I wanted to sit up and say I was not so easily killed and I never fainted, but to my surprise my body would not obey me. I merely stirred and murmured.
I saw the clodhopper boots of common men surrounding me and smelled alcohol on the breath of those leaning over me.
“Let’s get ’er inside.”
“Somebody go fer the doctor.”
Strong hands, not ungentle, seized me by the feet and shoulders. I could have kicked and yelled—-I felt strong enough now—-but my mind had started to function, realizing that I was about to be carried into a pub, for only in a public house, or pub, would workmen be drinking in the daytime. And normally no woman of good repute would enter a pub, or if she did, she would be jeered at until she retreated. But, my avid brain realized, fate in the form of Jezebel had given me opportunity to spend some time inside a pub—-no, in the pub, most likely the only pub in Threefinches! So I closed my eyes and pretended to be rather more helpless than I was as the men hauled me inside and laid me down on a high-backed bench by the hearth.
Someone brought something pungent in lieu of smelling salts, but I shook my head, pushed the malodourous hand away, opened my eyes, and sat up, acting as if it were a great effort for me to do so. A burly, bearded man in an apron, undoubtedly the publican who kept the place, came running with a pillow for my back, and I thanked him with a gracious smile.
“Will ye have a nip of brandy, lydy?”
“No, thank you. Water, please.”
“Jack! Water for the lydy!” he bellowed to some underling, and he remained nearby as I managed, with hands that genuinely trembled, to remove my gloves. Their thin kidskin leather was ruined by the mauling it had taken from Jezebel’s reins, and my hands were red and sore; doubtless they would bruise. Grateful for the cool glass, I held it in both hands and sipped, looking around me. Half of the denizens of the place, like the owner, stood in a semicircle staring at me not unpleasantly, while the rest did the same from seats at the rustic tables—-all but one. A tall man with beard stubble on his chin and quite a shock of coarse brownish-grey hair hiding his forehead had withdrawn to a table by the wall, where he devoted his attention to his mug of ale, or stout, or whatever noxious brew he might fancy. I said brightly to the tavern-keeper, “I believe I would like to stand up.”
“Now, why not wait for the doctor, lydy—”
But taking hold of his arm, as he stood within my reach, I got to my feet with reasonable steadiness. There were muted cheers from the onlookers. Nodding and simpering at the men all around me, I lilted, “Thank you so much. Do you suppose anyone could go out and fetch my bag, and my hat and parasol? I believe they fell along the—”
Already half a dozen would-be heroes were stampeding towards the door. Yet, if I had walked in here under my own power, any request for help would have been met with deepest suspicion. Such is life: odd.