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Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King

Locked Rooms (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Laurie R. King

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1,645534,382 (4.05)75
Title:Locked Rooms
Authors:Laurie R. King
Info:Bantam (2006), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, historical fiction, mystery, pastiche, Sherlock Holmes, victorian, california

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Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King (2005)



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***I purchased a copy of this book for my own enjoyment, with no expectations of a review***

‘Dreams are the answers to questions we’ve not yet learned to ask.’ ~Agt. Fox Mulder, X-Files

Locked Roomss takes Russell and Holmes to the West Coast of the US, to the City by the Bay. I live very close to San Francisco, and loved recognising places like the Cliff House and Sutro Baths. The last is just a ruin now, but for Sherlock and Mary, it would have been a thriving, vibrant place. They visited many other familiar places that I would have loved to have seen a hundred years gone. To get to her lakehouse, on the route she took, Mary would have passed right by where I now live.

This was an interesting read, comprised of two alternating, but parallel narratives, one focusing on Mary, and the other on Holmes. Each is very distinctive. Mary’s is her typical first person view, but Holmes’ is in third person. The reasoning for this is explained in preface, and I found it worked quite well. I loved a chance to see Sherlock's behind the scenes thoughts.

Mary has returned to San Francisco, her childhood home, to settle the family estate. En route, she begins having a series of dreams turned nightmares that take a serious toll on her health. Two of the dreams turn out to be a subconscious reminder of a buried childhood trauma. She was in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake. I can't imagine how terrifying the quake and subsequent fire would have been in person, but it was certainly brought to life for me here.

The last dream concerns a decades old mystery that sets Sherlock to investigating. I love that, during the course of his investigating, he meets Dashiell Hammett, and recruits him as an Irregular. Priceless. As Mary begins to slowly decipher her dream on her own, Sherlock works other aspects out with his usual dogged determination. What is revealed is a heinous act, committed during the earthquake aftermath, followed years later by a terrible betrayal.

Locked Rooms is not the typical Russell and Holmes tale. It is a far more personal tale, spanning nearly twenty years. It is a tale of tragedy, of loss, of nature’s fury, and of the subtle genius and intricacies of the human mind. ( )
  PardaMustang | Apr 10, 2016 |
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. ( )
  | Feb 9, 2016 | edit |
The plot is far from being "thin." Locked Rooms is a real page-turner and it is fascinating to delve into Mary Russell's hidden past, watching her puzzle out the mystery of its blank pages piece by piece, reeling from delayed shock and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as she slowly unlocks the rooms of her childhood and becomes whole. Perhaps the story draws me more strongly as a PTSD sufferer myself, but I found it richly textured and irresistable. It was quite a treat to read a more "psychological" mystery. King also finds an unusual way to solve the mystery-within-the-mystery at the end. All in all, an immensely satisfying read. ( )
  BethHatchel | Oct 31, 2015 |
Probably my favorite book in the series thus far - I am ready to start #9! The setting of this one is San Francisco as Mary is trying to unravel the mystery of the deaths of her parents and brother. For 10 years she has blamed herself for causing the accident that claimed their lives. The plot includes the great earthquake and fire that all but destroyed San Francisco in 1806 and the discrimination faced by the residents of the famed Chinatown. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
Another great installment; maybe not quite to the level of some of the others, but entirely respectable nonetheless. Dashiell Hammett as walk-on character was fun, too. It's still a little strange to have Holmes so far out of his London element, though, and to have Mycroft and Watson so far offstage. ( )
  JBD1 | Jul 1, 2015 |
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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.
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The dreams began when we left Bombay.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553583417, Mass Market Paperback)

Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are back in Laurie R. King’s highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling mystery series. And this time the first couple of detection pair up to unlock the buried memory of a shocking crime with the power to kill again–lost somewhere in Russell’s own past.

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:06 -0400)

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Returning to her former home of San Francisco in 1924, Mary Russell and her husband, eminent detective Sherlock Holmes, are confronted by dark secrets of the past that continue to haunt Mary's dreams.

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