Sherlock Holmes’ Younger Sister

Did you know that Sherlock Holmes has a younger sister? Me, either, until I encountered the amazing Enola Holmes.

Author Nancy Springer has written an intriguing children’s series about the exploits of Enola, a girl left on her own on her fourteenth birthday when her mother walks out of the house and disappears. Once her two much older older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, learn what has happened, they decide that the best thing would be to place Enola into a boarding school.

The free-spirited Enola has other ideas. Her mother has left behind codes and clues, leading Enola to hidden stashes of money. Once she has enough, she slips away and travels on her own to London, where she turns her talents to becoming a perditorian, a finder of the lost. Having mastered the art of disguise, Enola manages to stay two steps ahead of Sherlock and Mycroft while solving crimes in London.

I confess, I love reading children’s books. This series in particular is entertaining for adults as well as kids because it is not over-simplified. Enola frequently uses terms such as “proboscis”  and “perditorian” and the solutions to the mysteries are not obvious. London’s social rules are humorously and sometimes  poignantly viewed through the eyes of Enola, who often is outraged at the restrictions society places on women. The darker, crueler side of London is also depicted in sobering scenes of poverty, filth, crime, and disease.

It was also announced this year that Millie Bobby Brown (of “Stranger Things” fame) will be starring in a film series based on the Enola Holmes series.

Kids will love the clever Enola, who can disguise her self so well, she often walks right past her two older brothers without them even recognizing her! Adults will delight in Enola’s interactions with her brother Sherlock, which are written with wit and humor. As a Sherlock Holmes fan, I greatly enjoyed this portrayal of the world’s most famous fictional detective. He genuinely cares for what he views as his wayward sister and comes to respect her intelligence and courage. He and Enola have some very amusing adventures before the ending of the series.

There are six titles in all, and I wish there were more. Highly recommended for all readers interested in mysteries, Sherlock Holmes, and Victorian London.

JK Rowling Secret Revealed!

jk rowling

JK Rowling

JK Rowling had hoped to keep her secret for a little while longer, but over the weekend, after receiving a tip, The Sunday Times of London reported that Ms. Rowling had written an adult fiction crime novel under a pseudonym.  The Cuckoo’s Calling, written under the guise of Robert Galbraith, was published in the United Kingdom back in April by Sphere – the same publisher as her first fiction novel after Harry Potter, The Casual VacancyMs. Rowling is quoted as saying “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name”.

The book is set in London and features a private detective named Cormoran Strike who lost a leg while serving in the military in Afghanistan.  He is barely making ends meet, he has just broken up with his long time girlfriend and he is living in his office  Then a client walks in the door with a story about his supermodel sister who fell to her death.  It is ruled a suicide, but the brother doesn’t believe it.  Strike wades into a world of multi-millionares, rock stars and designers to try to find answers about her death.   The book received a rave review in Publishers Weekly when it was released and called it a “stellar debut”.

Before the news broke of who the author really was, the book had only sold 1,500 copies.  Sales at Amazon have since soared 150,000% and is now number 1.

For the Harry Potter books, Ms. Rowling used her initials JK as her official published name because she was told books written by men sold better.  With this new book, she was able to create a male persona and a fictional biography was supplied by the publisher.  It states: ” Born in 1968, Robert Galbraith is married with two sons.  After several years with the Royal Military Police, he was attached to the SIB (Special Investigation Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP.  He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry.  The idea for protagonist Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who have returned to the civilian world.”

Rowling plans to continue writing the series with the next book due out next summer.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is available at the Cheshire Library.

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7/18/13 UPDATE – Today it was revealed that a partner at the British law firm, Russells, inadvertently revealed the information.  Chris Gossage let the information slip to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari and she tweeted it.  Her Twitter account has since been deleted.  Russells said in a statement that “we apologize unreservedly” to Rowling.  While Gossage is culpable, “the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly”.

Ms Rowling said:  “To say that I am disappointed is an understatement.  I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”