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Read an Exclusive Excerpt from ENOLA HOLMES AND THE ELEGANT ESCAPADE

Enola Holmes has been charming readers since 2006. Sherlock’s younger sister gained an even bigger audience after her delightful feature debut on Netflix. Brought to life by Millie Bobby Brown, Enola is a radical young woman who loves to solve a mystery as much as her famous brother. But she wouldn’t exist at all if it wasn’t for author Nancy Springer’s popular books. The latest entry into the witty detective series sees Enola go on an epic adventure to save a friend. Nerdist is excited to reveal an exclusive excerpt of the book here.

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Here’s Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade‘s official synopsis. 

Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of Sherlock, is now living independently in London and working as a scientific perditorian (a finder of persons and things). But that is not the normal lot of young women in Victorian England. They are under the near absolute control of their nearest male relative until adulthood. Such is the case of Enola’s friend, Lady Cecily Alastair. Twice before Enola has rescued Lady Cecily from unpleasant designs of her caddish father, Sir Eustace Alastair, Baronet. And when Enola is brusquely turned away at the door of the Alastair home it soon becomes apparent that Lady Cecily once again needs her help. 

Affecting a bold escape, Enola takes Lady Cecily to her secret office only to be quickly found by the person hired by Lady Cecily’s mother to find the missing girl – Sherlock Holmes himself. But the girl has already disappeared again, now loose on her own in the unforgiving city of London. 

Even worse, Lady Cecily has a secret that few know. She has dual personalities – one, which is left-handed, is independent and competent; the other, which is right-handed, is meek and mild. Now Enola must find Lady Cecily again – before one of her personalities gets her into more trouble than she can handle and before Sherlock can find her and return her to her father. Once again, for Enola, the game is afoot. 

Author Nancy Springer teases that this story will see Enola challenge Sherlock for most inventive disguises used while solving a mystery! “Considering that she used to wear Sherlock’s hand-me-downs, it’s remarkable how much Enola Holmes loves to dress up—and in The Elegant Escapade, she does so to her clever, scheming utmost!”

You can read the prologue to Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escape below! 


Prologue

Seventeen-year-old Lady Cecily Alistair took a knitting needle in her left fist and used its point quite forcibly to scratch a crude, life-sized caricature of her father on the inside of her locked bedroom door. Then she stepped back, barefoot, in her nightgown, to look at the pudgy, fat-headed portrait she had just etched in splintery brown scratches on the door’s white paint. She could have done far better with paint or charcoal, but her father had not allowed her any when he had shut her in here a week ago. He had not allowed her journals to write in, either, or pencils, or pen, or books to read, or anything to do except knit, which he knew she did not like and never had, not even before.

Before it all happened, only a year ago, she had been an obedient if not particularly happy daughter, and all she had to worry about was preparing to be presented to the queen, practicing how to curtsey nearly to the floor without displacing the three large white feathers ab- surdly sprouting atop her coifed head. And, after that, “coming out” as a debutante and finding a suitably rich and titled husband.

Thinking about those times, Lady Cecily aimed her knitting needle like a dart and hurled it hard at the imaginary target of her father’s heart—or lack of one.

Not that she had exactly dreamed of “coming out” or marriage, but she would have gone along with her parents’ plans; it was not she who had spoilt them. Certainly, it was not her fault she had been hypnotized and kidnapped, of all things.

Lady Cecily’s projectile clattered against the locked door but missed its target.

Frowning, picking it up to try again, she wondered not for the first time why she had been so meek, so docile, so utterly possessed by—by her family’s expectations, yes, but more disturbingly, by the villain’s power. He, the charismatic kidnapper, had Mesmerized her so that she might never have escaped his control if it were not for a strange, gawky, gallant girl named Enola who had appeared out of the night and, after rescuing Cecily and saving her life, disappeared back into the night as if she were a phantom.

Enola: mystery. Enola’s name written backwards spelled “alone.” If Cinderella had a fairy godmother, then Cecily seemed to have a fairly odd godsister.

If her life were a fairy tale, she would have returned home to live Happily Ever After, but not so. Papa had fulminated and thundered even though nothing had happened between his daughter and the kidnapper except that he had starved her, overworked her, and oh, by the way, tried to kill her. But to Papa, and most  of society, this was all scandalous and she, Cecily, the victim, was soiled, stained, ruined matrimonial goods. She could never be presented at court, be a debutante, or attract an aristocratic husband.

Papa had not even given her time to recover from her ordeal before he had turned her over to his two odious sisters in a plot to have her marry, perforce, her toad-like cousin. Her darling father had very nearly succeeded in selling her like a slave into wedlock. She did manage, at a lucky chance encounter in a public lavatory, to slip a coded message to Enola, but with very little hope of rescue. By the morning of her nuptials, Cecily was so weakened by starvation and ill-usage that she would have let herself be dragged like a rag doll through the ceremony. She would have been shackled by law to a loathsome husband if it were not for Enola. Enola, appearing at the last moment like a fairy-tale hero, or at least like a fairly tall one. Cecily had learned more about Enola that day, for Enola had delivered her to her brother, who had turned out to be the great detective Sherlock Holmes! So, Enola was Enola Holmes, but to Cecily it seemed as if . . . truly, somehow Enola was her very best friend even though they had only met twice, last January and last May . . . well, three times, if one included a very brief and wordless encounter in the First Ladies’ Lavatory of London.

Sherlock Holmes had escorted Cecily to the safety of her mother’s arms, and then, for a while, it had seemed as if all would be well. But far too soon, Papa had found them and taken them back, and he had imprisoned Cecily in her room, stating his intention to marry her off to someone, somehow, at the first opportunity. Not only had he deprived Cecily of her books and her art for punishment, but, to prevent even the most remote possibility of her escape, he had taken all of her clothes away.

Which was why, in the middle of a sunny October afternoon, she had nothing to wear except a nightgown and nothing better to do than scratch a big, fat likeness of her father on the inside of her locked bedroom door. Cecily’s hand, holding the knitting needle, tightened into a fist. And instead of hurling her weapon at her target anymore, she marched over and forced its point into the wood. Defiantly, with her forbidden left hand, she stabbed the effigy of Sir Eustace Alistair, Baronet.


Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade arrives on September 6, 2022. You can place a preorder now.

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