After several years writing books about boys and young men and their girl sidekicks, in 1986 Lloyd Alexander tried something new: a series of Victorian adventure novels centered on a girl, starting with The Illyrian Adventure.
Move over, Indiana Jones. I’d like you to meet Vesper Holly.
As our narrator explains, the orphaned Miss Vesper Holly has the digestive talents of a goat and the mind of a chess master. Apart from that, she speaks multiple languages, including the filthy parts; has a self-confidence that would almost border on the egomaniacal if not for the small fact that she’s almost always proven right; is sixteen, attractive (though I’m a bit worried about the constant comparisons of her hair to marmalade) and charming; almost always gets her way; and is filthy, filthy rich. Also, she has a passion for archaeology and she’s able to do a spot of detection work on the side. I take it back. She’s not just Indiana Jones. She’s Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes (minus the violin playing, the bees, and the cocaine), and Nancy Drew and Richie Rich.