The Enola Holmes Mysteries

The Enola Holmes Mysteries is a young adult fiction series of detective novels by American author Nancy Springer, starring Enola Holmes as the fourteen-year-old sister of an already-famous Sherlock Holmes, twenty years her senior.
When their mother disappears, Enola's brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, decide to send her to a finishing school against her will. Instead, with the aid of her mother who had provided hidden funds and an elaborate cypher for her daughter to communicate with her, Enola runs away to London where she establishes a clandestine private detective career specializing in missing persons investigations. Furthermore, Enola must keep ahead of her brothers who are determined to capture and force her to conform to their expectations.
This pastiche series borrows characters and settings from the established canon of Sherlock Holmes, but the Enola character is Springer's creation and specific to this series. The first book, The Case of the Missing Marquess, and the fifth, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, were nominated for the Edgar Awards for Best Juvenile Mystery in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
The literary series is being adapted for film with Millie Bobby Brown in the title role.

Series overview

On Enola's fourteenth birthday, her mother disappears, and Sherlock and Mycroft, Enola's brothers, conclude that her mother voluntarily left. Enola is devastated but eventually discovers elaborate ciphers her mother wrote, which lead her to conclude that she left to live with the Romani people and escape the confines of Victorian society. Enola finds that her mother left money to fund her escape. When Mycroft insists that Enola attend boarding school and learn to be a proper lady, she runs away to London instead. Throughout the series, Enola solves numerous missing persons cases, including a rescue of Dr. John Watson, while eluding her brothers' efforts to recapture her.

''The Case of the Missing Marquess''

When Enola's mother disappears, Enola calls on her elder brothers Sherlock and Mycroft, who dismiss her as unimportant. Horrified by her brothers' plans to send her to a boarding school and the prospect of wearing a corset, she escapes. Dressed as a widow, she runs across Inspector Lestrade, who is working on a case with Sherlock about the disappearance of a young Viscount, Lord Tewksbury. Nearly blowing her cover, she finds a secret hiding place that seems to be the young Viscount's hideaway. Concluding that he ran away, she sets off to look for him. Upon arriving in London, Enola discovers the city is not the magical place of her imagination. The same people who have kidnapped the Viscount, who has no street smarts, kidnap Enola. After escaping with the Viscount, she bribes a woman to buy them clothing. Hiding in a police station right under Sherlock's nose, Enola runs away, leaving only a sketch of the suspect on the bench.
She sends a coded message via the personal column to her mother, who responds that she has gone to live with the Romani. The epilogue reveals that Enola has taken on two personas. To the poor, she's the mute "Sister" and to the rich, Ivy, the secretary to a private investigator.

''The Case of the Left-Handed Lady''

Enola tries to find Lady Cecily Alistair, who disappeared from her bedroom, while dodging Sherlock and Mycroft.

''The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets''

Sherlock's companion, Dr. John Watson, has gone missing. Enola discovers a bouquet of flowers intended for Watson. Using the language of the flowers, she detects a threat and sets out to find the missing doctor and his kidnapper. She finds him in an insane asylum. Two policemen had been told he was an insane man, and his claims to being Watson only exacerbated their belief.

''The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan''

Enola helps an old acquaintance, Lady Cecily. But even as she works to free her friend, her two brothers come close to catching her.

''The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline''

Enola returns to her lodgings to find that somebody has kidnapped her landlady, Mrs. Tupper. After investigating the ransacked lodgings, she abduces that the kidnappers were after a secret message hidden in Mrs. Tupper's old crinoline dress. Enola traces the dress to Florence Nightingale, who met Mrs. Tupper in the Crimean War. After several visits to Nightingale, Enola discovers that Nightingale conducted espionage during the war. As such, Nightingale asked Mrs. Tupper to smuggle a note in her crinoline back to England but did not know that the war widow was deaf and did not understand her. Enola also realizes that Nightingale pretends to be an invalid to avoid attending social functions expected of a wealthy woman. She realizes that the functions would take time away from writing letters to achieve social reform for the needy. During her visits to Nightingale, Enola suspects someone is following her. As the person could be related to the case and a danger to Mrs. Tupper's and her safety, she relocates to the Professional Women's Club.
After solving the case, she takes Mrs. Tupper and herself back to her home. Enola packs her things as she gets ready to leave. After figuring this out, Mrs. Tupper does the same. Mrs. Tupper ends up going with Enola. She escapes upon seeing Sherlock approach. Sherlock converses with Nightingale, and she reveals the reason behind Enola's escape from her brothers by describing the horrors of boarding schools and corsets.

''The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye''

Finally, in Enola's sixth case, Sherlock concludes that Enola has matured rapidly into a capable young woman and helps his sister not only to find her quarry but also to finally convince Mycroft of her skill.
In the end, the Holmes siblings fully reconcile with the help of a final coded message from their mother, a Spartan skytale decoded using bicycle handlebars. With that resolution, Mycroft, further impressed with Enola's sophisticated business arrangements and satisfied with her residence at the Professional Women's Club, grants Enola her liberty and agrees to fund her education. Enola in turn forgives Mycroft, accepts his offer while announcing she is likely continuing her career as a private investigator. For his part, Sherlock accepts Enola as a colleague in his profession and notes that he eagerly awaits her future accomplishments.


  1. The Case of the Missing Marquess
  2. The Case of the Left-Handed Lady
  3. The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets
  4. The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan
  5. The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline
  6. The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye


The first book, The Case of the Missing Marquess, and the fifth, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, were nominated for the Edgar Awards for Best Juvenile Mystery in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Karen MacPherson in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called Enola a "highly appealing heroine". In a review for the first book, Children's Book and Play Review echoed the statement, calling Enola "a bright and endearing character". The review also praised the novel for being "fast-paced and suspenseful" as well as its integration of Victorian culture but noted that it "wrap up a bit briskly". Carthage College's Center for Children's Literature described the second book as a "solid historical mystery" with a "satisfying and surprising ending" despite being "a bit slow at the beginning".

Graphic novels

The series has been adapted in France as graphic novels by writer/artist Séréna Blasco and published by Jungle! in their collection Miss Jungle. The first two graphic novels have been published in the United States by IDW.

Film adaptation

On January 9, 2018, it was announced that Millie Bobby Brown would produce and star as the title character in a film series based on the Enola Holmes books. On February 8, 2019, media reported Harry Bradbeer would direct the film project, while Jack Thorne would adapt the script. Helena Bonham Carter will play Enola Holmes' mother, while Henry Cavill will play Sherlock Holmes. On April 21, 2020, Netflix acquired distribution rights to the film, as opposed to a theatrical release due to COVID-19. The film is scheduled for release in September, 2020.


On June 23, 2020, the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought a lawsuit in New Mexico against, among others; Nancy Springer, Legendary Pictures, PCMA Productions, and Netflix, citing both Copyright and Trademark infringement. This is in regard to the final ten stories produced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which have not yet dropped into the Public Domain, although at the time of filing four actually had. The lawsuit specifically references Holmes' becoming more emotional in the final ten works, presenting a more 'human' side to Sherlock, something that he was not known to present in the original works prior to the character's resurrection after Final Problem. According to the suit, the Enola Holmes Mysteries and adaptations violate the trademark and copyright on this particular depiction of Holmes, as the stories are still in a time of transition between copyright and the Public Domain. The suit seeks damages in regards to copyright and trademark infringement on the following works:
No court date has currently been set.