Title: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan
Author: Nancy Springer
Philomel Books, 2008
Genre: Mystery/Historical Fiction
Recommended to: Elementary to middle-grade readers, 10-14
Enola Holmes, much-younger sister of the famed Sherlock Holmes, has another mystery on her hands, but this time her friend Lady Cecily is in danger!
When Enola spots Cecily in public with an oddly-lower class pink fan fluttering nervously and two older, harsh escorts, Enola realizes quickly that something is wrong and sets out to discover exactly what Lady Cecily was so upset about. Soon she learns that Cecily is being held hostage in an orphanage to be married off against her will to a dreadfully dull duke! This time, Enola will have to risk her freedom as she teams up with one of the older brothers she escaped from to rescue her friend--before it's too late.
I have mixed feelings about this series: this first book was wonderful, the second was terrible, the third was so-so, and I'm sorry to say that I found the fourth to be dull and quite confusing, too, which is my main problem with these books.
From reading the inside flap of the novel, I had high expectations: unlike the previous novels, this plot sounded simple and easy-to-follow. Instead, I had quite a bit of trouble keeping myself awake through the beginning and middle of the book, it tends to lag on. Ms. Springer uses vocabulary and sayings that will most likely go way over the heads of most middle-grade readers, and I found some of her descriptions of Enola's actions to drag on so long that I started to drift off and become bored, skimming ahead for some real action.
However, the excitement towards the end was well worth it, and I found myself enjoying Enola's clever character. I loved how Ms. Springer inserted all the codes and ciphers (that Enola later solved) into her novel, it just made everything more exciting and suspenseful. All in all, I'd have to say that this novel simply lacked the excitement of the first, but I know I'll be picking up the next in the series, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, once it is released (May 2009).
Other books in the series: