Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan by Nancy Springer

9. The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan - fourth in the Enola Holmes series
by Nancy Springer
young adult mystery, 2008
hardcover, 183 pages
finished, 2/2/09

This is Enola Holmes' fourth adventure since she left her childhood home, and it hasn't even been a year yet! What a girl! And what fun these books are. Each one highlights a facet of Victorian London while also telling a good yarn. This book focuses on a young girl we met in the second book, The Case of the Left-Handed Lady. She has been kidnapped and is going to be forced to marry. It is up to Enola and her brother Sherlock to stop it from happening. It was nice to see them working together a bit. They are more alike than perhaps either of them realizes.

In this one I learned about the language of fans. "A frenzied fluttering" is a sign of "agitation and distress." Resting it upon one's face means, "yes, I understand." I read of the sad life of street urchins who end up in city orphanages, and as in the other books, the powerlessness of the Victorian woman.

The hard part for me in this series is the mother. I understand how she had to get away and live on her own. But couldn't she have taken her young daughter with her? In this book, a girl has a bad father, but at least her mother left him and wants the girl with her. Enola has less contact with her "Mum" than in the past books, and by the end she has trouble bringing "her features to mind." The woman infuriates me. Yes, this girl is very capable, and grows more so in each book, but she doesn't have the love and sense of security that a daughter needs. After a particularly harrowing episode, Enola goes back to her lodgings, and her landlady takes care of her.

Never in her life that I could recall had Mum washed or bandaged or fed me, or combed my hair...

I love these books. They are full of historical details, wit and humor, and really wonderful characters. I also think they have terrific titles. It's a great, great series. And Nancy Springer can't write them fast enough as far as I am concerned.


  1. Thank you for the recommendation. It sounds very interesting. I very much enjoyed your description.

  2. I have a few of these books on my shelves at my middle school where I work but I've never read any of them. I liked Nancy Springer's Tales of Camelot.

  3. Thanks, Kay.
    Staci, I bet you'd like them. I wonder if they get taken out.

  4. These sound really appealing to me! I'll have to keep my eye out.

  5. I always buy books for my god-daughters on their birthdays. One is coming up in a few weeks and I was wondering what book to get. You have just solved that little problem for me. Thanks!

  6. Tara and Pamela, I'd suggest you start (or buy as a present) the first one in the series. The character really does develop and change as the books go along.


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