Friday, January 29, 2021

REVIEW: The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye (book) by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye is the sixth and final book in Springer's Enola Holmes historical mystery series. I bought my copy brand new.


Dr. Ragostin is hired to find Lady Blanchefleur, a delicate flower of a young woman who disappeared shortly after being convinced to help an old woman enter the Baker Street Underground and find her train. One of her ladies-in-waiting accompanied her but lost track of her. There has been no ransom note, and no sign of the old woman who lured Lady Blanchefleur down there in the first place.

Of course, it's not Dr. Ragostin doing the investigating, it's his supposed assistant, Enola in her "Ivy Meshle" disguise. And unfortunately for Enola, Dr. Ragostin wasn't the only person hired to find Lady Blanchefleur - Sherlock Holmes was as well. As usual, he wants nothing more than his younger sister's trust and safety, but now he has an additional reason to want to find her: a strange message from their mother.

Considering how good the previous book was, I was really looking forward to this final one. Sadly, I thought it was just so-so. The mystery was weak and relied heavily on an incredibly convenient appearance by a character introduced early on in the series. I was somewhat disappointed, but not really surprised, that poor Enola still didn't get an actual visit from her mother, just another coded message. And while the scenes in which Sherlock, Mycroft, and Enola tried to figure out how their version of a "happy family" might work were very nice, I wish there had been more. My favorite bit, I think, was when Sherlock and Enola waited to see how long it would take Mycroft to recognize her (weirdly, Mycroft not recognizing her didn't bother me nearly as much as Sherlock repeatedly not recognizing her in previous books), although the gathering at the very end was also great.

It's clear that Springer really, really doesn't like corsets, because the whole "tyranny of the corset" thing kept popping up and this final volume pushed it hard. I was okay with parts of it because I could definitely see the health repercussions of the way one character wore hers, but Springer seemed to think that all socially acceptable corset-wearing involved tightlacing, and from my understanding that wasn't the case.

I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about Enola's mother's message. On the one hand, I liked the recognition that women like Eudoria Holmes exist, that having children doesn't automatically make women stereotypically loving and motherly. On the other hand, some aspects of her message came across as unintentionally cruel, as well as potentially as restrictive as societal expectations if Enola really took it all to heart.

I'm glad that Springer opted to give this series a proper ending rather than dragging it out forever, although I admit that one more book, perhaps featuring all three of the Holmes siblings working together, would have been nice.


For some bizarre reason, this ended with an excerpt from the first book in the series. I really do not recommend reading this series out of order, so hopefully everyone who reads Book 6 has, at the very least, previously read Book 1.

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