Enola Holmes Mystery The Fourth. And considering how much time the book devotes to our dear hoyden's desires to find a friend, soul-mate or mother, there is plenty of time for a right load of swashbuckling and derring-do. She doesn't quite swing from the chandeliers but only because there wasn't one to her convenience. She really should be sliding down those bannisters on the cover - no really. Beyond the bannister surfing and the rope swinging this one really benefits from a proper generous slice of the page count going to her more favoured brother. In the comic books this sort of instalment would be called a 'Team-Up'. But first,before they can take on the villains of the piece, in true comic-book tradition they must FIGHT!!!! There is certainly a good sizzle to the narrative when the two are on the same page; Enola confused by conflicting instincts and emotions and Sherlock just being himself . With such short books it also helps that this one picks up on a previous book (the second) including already established characters like Lady Cecily with whom Enola yearns to one day go sketching with. Fun one.
McBain delivers a scorcher for the series, emphatically leaving the last book's city fable indulgences behind. This one is 87th Precinct to the core; short, hard hitting and full of character.
A multiple shooting at a book store has every cop in the precinct searching for the killer as one of the fallen belongs to one of their own. Carella and Meyer lead the investigation as they delve into the backgrounds of all of the victims looking for a lead. Kling, Wilis and Brown aid with the leg work.
Written at the start of the 1960s, long before any State legalised abortion, McBain drags the thorny subject into the light as various closets are emptied of their skeletons.
Loss and grief are explored thoughtfully too, stripped of any histrionics, deepening the characters by shared familiar emotions.
The little linguistic puzzle set by one of the victim's deathbed words kept me busy for a good five seconds. But you can't really blame Carella and co for being distracted.