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Locked Rooms (2005)

by Laurie R. King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mary Russell (8), Mary Russell {Chronological Order} (1906, 1914, May-June 1924)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,909696,143 (4.06)86
After departing Bombay by ship, Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are en route to the bustling modern city of San Francisco. There, Mary will settle some legal affairs surrounding the inheritance of her family's old estate. But the closer they get to port, the more Mary finds herself prey to troubling dreams and irrational behavior -- a point not lost on Holmes, much to Russell's annoyance. In 1906, when Mary was six, San Francisco was devastated by an earthquake and a raging fire that reduced the city to rubble. For years, Mary has denied any memory of the catastrophe that for days turned the fabled streets into hell on earth. But Holmes suspects that some hidden trauma connected with the "unforgettable" catastrophe may be the real culprit responsible for Mary's memory lapse. And no sooner do they begin to familiarize themselves with the particulars of the Russell estate than it becomes apparent that whatever unpleasantness Mary has forgotten, it hasn't forgotten her. Why does her father's will forbid access to the house except in the presence of immediate family? Why did someone break in, then take nothing of any value? And why is Russell herself targeted for assassination? The more questions they ask of Mary's past, the more people from that past turn out to have died violent, unexplained deaths. Now, with the aid of a hard-boiled young detective and crime writer named Hammett, Russell and Holmes find themselves embroiled in a mystery that leads them through the winding streets of Chinatown to the unspoken secrets of a parent's marriage and the tragic car "accident" that a fourteen-year-old Mary alone survived -- an accident that may not have been an accident at all. What Russell is about to discover is that even a forgotten past never dies ... and it can kill again… (more)

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» See also 86 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the characters, and the setting. Some of the narrative choices were infuriating, particularly how King would switch narrators, each time repeating half the story of the previous one, just from a different perspective. One step back, two steps forward. It is also not exactly a mystery, since everything is simply resolved as a rabbit out of a hat by a convenient letter. (Not only is the letter unconvincing—it reads exactly how King writes the rest of the story—but the resolution it gives is ridiculous.)

> "So what you're saying is, 'It's my look-out, shut up and listen'?" "Mr Hammett, you have a way with the American vernacular that bodes well for your future as a writer of popular fiction." ( )
  breic | Jun 27, 2020 |
Another few days with Russell and Holmes, and another romp well-spent. While this adventure wasn't perhaps my favorite - it went all too quickly - anyone who knows my taste in books knows that I enjoy nothing more than a well-rounded and developed character, and "Locked Rooms" furthers Mary Russell's status as one of these. Hats off to Laurie R. King for continuing to explore such a lively, curious, intellectual, and adventurous woman as Mary Russell, and for giving us the backstory she deserves! ( )
  priorfictions | Jun 24, 2020 |
Audiobook narrated very well by Laurie Sterlin. ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
After their adventures in India Holmes and Russell make a long-delayed side trip to San Francisco. Mary hasn't been there since she was fourteen and was the only survivor of the car accident that killed her parents and younger brother. She was gravely injured and traumatized by the accident. She did some work with psychiatrist Dr. Ginzburg before moving to England to live with her aunt.

Now it is time to meet with her lawyers and make some decisions about the businesses and properties left to her when her parents died. But Mary is being troubled by three recurring dreams that are causing insomnia and lack of appetite. Holmes is worried for her.

When they arrive in San Francisco, they are confronted with even more mystery. A strange codicil to her father's will has kept their family home empty since it requires that entry is only permitted with a member of the family. The house is neglected and the grounds are vastly overgrown. But it appears that someone has been inside and searched the place.

Mary has always insisted that she was not in San Francisco during the 1906 quake and fires but she learns that she was which explains the first dream about flying objects. The second dream about a faceless man takes longer to figure out but it also had its origin during 1906. The third dream about secret rooms takes the longest to figure out.

While Mary is meeting with lawyers and meeting old friends that she barely remembers, Holmes is busy looking into the past the Mary has forgotten. Holmes even recruits Dashiell Hammett as his irregular since Mary is unavailable. Holmes comes to the conclusion that the accident that Mary has blamed herself for was really a murder designed to look like an accident.

This story is different than many of the earlier adventures in that there are sections told from Mary's point of view and other sections told from Sherlock's point of view. It was a wonderful adventure that illuminated Mary's past both for the reader and for Mary. I loved the San Francisco setting and the various characters including some residents of Chinatown. ( )
  kmartin802 | Aug 17, 2019 |
After the adventure in The Game, are Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes on a route to San Francisco to settle some legal affairs surrounding the inheritance of Mary's family's estate. But, Mary is having awful nightmares as the ship is closing in on San Francisco. Could the nightmares have something to do with the city and the horrible earthquake that devastated the city? But, as far as Mary knows her family not even there during the earthquake, or were they?

Mary has always lived with the guilt of causing her family's death in a car accident when she was young. And, now she is traveling back to San Francisco, for the first time since her parents and younger brother died. Her nightmare is causing her sleeping problems and she is wondering what is causing them? She decides in San Francisco to see the psychiatrist that helped her after her family's death, and she is horrified to learn that the women have been murdered. Why would anyone kill her and could it have something to do with Mary's family?

There is much going on in this book and it's interesting to learn more about Mary's family, about her life before she came to England to stay with her aunt after her family died. The story is suspenseful and secrets are revealed as the story progress. Looked Rooms is one of my favorite books in this series, sure I have a lot of them. But, this is one that has a really intensive story and learning more about Mary's past is great. ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Laurie R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the '06 survivors, especially
Robert John Dickson and Florence Frances Adderley,
"Dick" and "Flossie-"
my grandparents.
First words
The dreams began when we left Bombay.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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After departing Bombay by ship, Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are en route to the bustling modern city of San Francisco. There, Mary will settle some legal affairs surrounding the inheritance of her family's old estate. But the closer they get to port, the more Mary finds herself prey to troubling dreams and irrational behavior -- a point not lost on Holmes, much to Russell's annoyance. In 1906, when Mary was six, San Francisco was devastated by an earthquake and a raging fire that reduced the city to rubble. For years, Mary has denied any memory of the catastrophe that for days turned the fabled streets into hell on earth. But Holmes suspects that some hidden trauma connected with the "unforgettable" catastrophe may be the real culprit responsible for Mary's memory lapse. And no sooner do they begin to familiarize themselves with the particulars of the Russell estate than it becomes apparent that whatever unpleasantness Mary has forgotten, it hasn't forgotten her. Why does her father's will forbid access to the house except in the presence of immediate family? Why did someone break in, then take nothing of any value? And why is Russell herself targeted for assassination? The more questions they ask of Mary's past, the more people from that past turn out to have died violent, unexplained deaths. Now, with the aid of a hard-boiled young detective and crime writer named Hammett, Russell and Holmes find themselves embroiled in a mystery that leads them through the winding streets of Chinatown to the unspoken secrets of a parent's marriage and the tragic car "accident" that a fourteen-year-old Mary alone survived -- an accident that may not have been an accident at all. What Russell is about to discover is that even a forgotten past never dies ... and it can kill again

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