How the Clues Unfold in Enola Holmes 2

I already explained why Enola Holmes 2 is a much better film than its predecessor. Here I outline how the clues unfold. My gift to those who complain that it’s sometimes hard to follow how Enola puts the pieces together.

1. Enola is hired by Bessie Chapman to find her older sister Sarah. While searching the Chapman house, Enola

  • finds in the trash a paper fragment with the date “12 March” written on it
  • learns (from Bessie) that Sarah’s job was at the Lyons Match Factory, and that the foreman accused of Sarah of thieving

2. Given the thieving accusation, Enola proceeds to the factory, where she breaks into the boss’s office. Inside the office she

  • sees old match models with red tips instead of white;
  • sees ripped pages from the register and concludes that Sarah stole these papers;
  • overhears a discussion of high-ranking people who are panicking about someone stealing from them and extorting them (Enola will later learn these people are Henry Lyon the factor owner, William Lyon his son, Charles McIntyre the city treasury minister, and Mira Troy the secretary of McIntyre)

3. Enola is suspicious of Mae (who lives at the Chapman house with Bessie and Sarah), and so follows her at night to the Paragon Theater, where Mae works a second job. At the theater, Enola

  • learns that Sarah also worked a second job here as a stage performer
  • learns that Sarah had a lover who sent her letters, that he was apparently a “wealthy gentleman”, and Enola finds one of the letters with a cryptic poem; the signature is a flower drawing, which Enola thinks is a poppy
  • wonders if Sarah ran away with this man, or from him, or was abducted by him

4. While stalking Tewkesbury the next morning, she deciphers the love poem, which reads “28 Bell Place, Whitetower”. She goes to that address, where she

  • finds the front door ajar and the place inside a mess; on a table is a jar with red powdery material and flies buzzing around inside, and another jar with white powdery material and dead flies inside
  • finds Mae stabbed; Mae dies pointing to a piece of paper in her pocket, with music on it titled “The Truth of the Gods”
  • tells Superintendent Grail that she’s looking for Sarah Chapman, and learns from Grail that he is also looking for Sarah, as she is wanted for theft and blackmail
  • flees the police when they try to arrest her

5. Enola hides at Sherlock’s place, where she

  • learns that Sherlock’s case involves government officials sending money to someone in the system; they are separate filings from five different bank accounts going via the Treasury into one private bank; the five banks are all south of the river with no clear link between them; Sherlock’s theory is that someone is bribing, extorting, or blackmailing his client; he has only one lead: a week before the first money transfer, there was a break-in at the treasury office, by a man in a taper crown hat, who took a document that the treasury office won’t talk about, evidently containing some sensitive information
  • explains to Sherlock the case she has taken on involving Sarah Chapman; she shows him the love poem (he figures the address “28 Bell Place, Whitetower” immediately) and they both suspect that Sarah was kidnapped by this mysterious lover; she also tells him that Grail claimed that Sarah had stolen something and was into blackmail; Sherlock then leaves to investigate Mae’s murder site at 28 Bell Place
  • browses a newspaper and sees an ad for the Match Maker’s Ball that evening, to be hosted by Henry Lyon (the match factory owner) listed at 12 Marchmont Square; she realizes the fragment she found in Sarah’s trash (“12 March”) isn’t a date but this address, and wonders why Sarah would be interested in attending a ball for the wealthy; the newspaper says that Henry Lyon’s eldest son William will be there leading the first dance, and in a flash of intuition she realizes that the flower signature on Sarah’s love poem isn’t a poppy but a sweet William, and she deduces that William Lyon is Sarah’s “wealthy gentleman” lover/abducter, and that’s why she was going to the ball (meanwhile at 28 Bell Place, where Mae was killed, Sherlock finds a taper crown hat hanging on a rack; he looks out the window and sees Lyons Match Factory, and wonders if the factory is the link between the five banks south of the river; he begins to suspect a connection between his case and Enola’s)

6. Enola decides to attend the ball to confront William Lyon. At the ball, she

  • sees the same four people she saw back at the factory meeting room, who were panicking about being robbed and extorted (Henry Lyon the factor owner, William his son, Charles McIntyre the city treasury minister, and Mira Troy the secretary of McIntyre); she tries to talk to William but cannot do so without a chaperone
  • meets a woman named Cicely, who seems to be romantically drawn to Tewkesbury
  • meets Mira Troy, who gives Enola some friendly advice on surviving in a man’s world, and who encourages Enola to pursue her intentions with William
  • asks Tewkesbury to teach her how to dance so she can find the socially acceptable opportunity to speak to William
  • arranges to dance with William, and becomes 100% sure that he is Sarah’s lover/abductor when she compares the “W” from his dance-card signature with the “W” in one of the words in the love poem
  • is arrested and taken away by the police, when waiting in the library for William to come and explain his relationship to Sarah

7. Meanwhile, Sherlock realizes that the blackmailer he is after is “Moriarty”, when he converts the original account number in his money laundering case to its corresponding alphabet of English language.

8. Enola gets thrown into prison, but is rescued by Eudoria (her mother) and Edith; they are chased by the police but end up beating the shit out of them.

9. Enola goes to see Bessie and advises her to leave the home because it’s not safe. While at Bessie’s house she sees red and white powder in some of the plant jars. She

  • learns from Bessie that the factory match tips changed from red to white two years ago, exactly when the “typhus epidemic” started
  • remembers the jars where Mae was killed — the flies that were still alive in the jars with the red powder, and the flies that were dead in the jar with the white powder — and realizes that the powders were the ground product of the old and new match tips
  • sees cheese on the floor with white powder on it, and a dead rat close by, and realizes that Sarah “fed” the rats not because she “had a heart for them” (as Bessie had told her) but because she was trapping them
  • deduces that Sarah had found out the real reason why the factory girls are getting sick and dying — because of the cheap white phosphorus used in the match sticks — and that this is the information that Sarah stole from the factory office

10. Enola rushes to Tewkesbury’s home to share her revelation with him — that Sarah found proof that the phosphorus is killing girls, and the factory owners are trying to cover it up as typhus, and that someone is going to kill Sarah — but Cicely drops by unannounced. Enola hides and Cicely says to Tewkesbury that she needs to speak to him about “a relationship”, and then Tewkesbury tells her to come back at another time. Enola, at first, thinks that Cicely wants to fuck Tewkesbury, and is enraged, but Tewkesbury insists that Cicely’s interests are pure business: at the ball she had told him that she was working on a bill to change factory law in order to fight corruption. Enola then

  • realizes, in a flash of intuition, that Cicely is Sarah and that she and William were indeed in love, planning to expose the people, led by William’s father, who were profiting off the low-grade phosphorus; that’s why William invited Tewkesbury to the ball; he and Sarah needed a Lord’s help to expose the corruption — a lord like Tewkesbury who speaks up for liberal causes

11. Enola and Tewkesbury go to the match factory to find more clues. At the factory Enola encounters Sherlock, who tells her that he believes his case and hers are connected. They find William murdered in the factory meeting room. “Sarah’s love”, says Enola. “My thief in a taper crown hat”, says Sherlock. William is the one who stole a document from the treasury office. Enola

  • suggests that William stole the document not just from the treasury office, but from the office of Lord McIntyre in particular (Sherlock is impressed at her deduction, for McIntyre of course is his employer), and that the document is proof that Lord McIntyre and Henry Lyon have been conspiring together (changing the match formula to a cheaper phosphorus to make more profits) and that McIntyre has been secretly profiting from the company
  • suggests also that Lord McIntyre killed William, but Sherlock dismisses that theory, showing how all the clues in the murder room (of Lord McIntyre and Henry Lyon’s presence) have been planted by someone to mislead them from the true villain — someone who had just as much to lose with that document being stolen; someone who knows what Lyon and McIntyre are up to and is blackmailing them
  • finds a piece of the same sheet of music that she found on Mae’s dress when she died; Tewkesbury says that “the Truth of the Gods” probably refers to the Paragon Theater, since the top row of seats is called “The Gods”; Enola deduces that the top row of sheet music is a map of the top row of theater seats, and “X” marks the spot of something important

12. Sherlock, Enola, and Tewkesbury go to the Paragon Theatre and search the top row of seats. They

  • find (a) the contract between Lyon and McIntyre that William stole for Sarah; and (b) the papers from the factory register that Sarah stole, which lists the names of all the girls who died from the cheap phosphorus
  • are confronted by Cicely, who reveals herself to be Sarah, as Enola supposed; Sarah explains that she, Mae, and William wanted to expose the factory owners and their associates who profited at the cost of young girls’ lives; and that she needs Tewkesbury’s (a lord’s) help in exposing these monsters
  • are interrupted by several policemen and Superintendent Grail, and a massive fight ensues; Enola ultimately manages to kill Grail
  • are then confronted by Lord McIntyre (who Sherlock summoned), Inspector Lestrade, and Mira Troy; Sherlock realizes that Mira Troy is Moriarty and that she has been the one blackmailing McIntyre and Henry Lyon; when William stole the contract, that threatened to cut off her money train, so she hired Grail to retrieve the document; when she learned that Sarah, William, and Mae were on the verge of exposing the factory, she ordered Grail to kill them all to keep her blackmailing scheme under wraps; Mae was killed first, then William, and Sarah was hunted by Grail in vain; Troy is arrested and taken away, but Lord McIntyre burns the evidence to avoid further suspicion against him

13. The next day, Sarah, Bess, and Enola ignite a strike at the factory, revealing the real reason for the girls dying. Tewkesbury gets McIntyre arrested for being an accomplice to Lyon’s activities. Sherlock sees in the morning news that Mira Troy has escaped police custody. Enola sets up a new office at Edith’s shop.



2 thoughts on “How the Clues Unfold in Enola Holmes 2

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words about The Temple of Poseidon! I wrote that when I was19 or 20 as part of my ‘please hire me’ pitch to Lawrence Schick. If you want to see something even earlier and weirder, check out “Booty and the Beasts”, which Erol Otus and I and our friend Mat Genser created in 1979.

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