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Locked Rooms PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Locked Rooms
Author: Laurie R. King
Publisher: Published March 28th 2006 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2005)
ISBN: 9780553583410
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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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 Holm 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.

30 review for Locked Rooms

  1. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    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 o 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I cannot say enough good things about the Mary Russell series. I am a die-hard Sherlock Holmes fan and picked up the first book with trepidation - how could anyone do justice to the great detective? - but I was amazed. King not only honors Holmes, but deepens the character. Mary is a perfect counterpoint and complement and a brilliant, strong character in her own right. The historical detail and frankly, richness, of this series is astounding. In Locked Rooms, the couple travels to San Francisco I cannot say enough good things about the Mary Russell series. I am a die-hard Sherlock Holmes fan and picked up the first book with trepidation - how could anyone do justice to the great detective? - but I was amazed. King not only honors Holmes, but deepens the character. Mary is a perfect counterpoint and complement and a brilliant, strong character in her own right. The historical detail and frankly, richness, of this series is astounding. In Locked Rooms, the couple travels to San Francisco, the site of Mary's childhood and death of her family. Mary struggles with memories and dreams, while Holmes investigates the cold case of the murder of two family servants...which leads to questions about the car crash that killed Mary's family. Excellent period piece. So much history is seamlessly written into the tale - the earthquake of 1906, Prohibition, flappers and dissolute youth, Chinatown of the '20s: even Dashiell Hammett appears as a major character in the story. Simply magnificent.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This episode in the Mary Russell series finds Russell and Holmes in San Francisco, where Russell is to attend to business related to her parents' estate. As Russell gets closer to San Francisco, she becomes increasingly disturbed by nightmares which appear to be linked to childhood events. Once the pair arrive, they naturally become embroiled in a mystery, which is resolved with the assistance of a band of Irregulars, including young crime fiction writer and former Pinkerton's detective, Dashiel This episode in the Mary Russell series finds Russell and Holmes in San Francisco, where Russell is to attend to business related to her parents' estate. As Russell gets closer to San Francisco, she becomes increasingly disturbed by nightmares which appear to be linked to childhood events. Once the pair arrive, they naturally become embroiled in a mystery, which is resolved with the assistance of a band of Irregulars, including young crime fiction writer and former Pinkerton's detective, Dashiell Hammett. There's lots to love about the series in general and this book in particular. King writes very fine prose which is a joy to read and her evocation of place and time is superb. In this novel, San Francisco in the mid-1920s and at the time of the 1906 earthquake comes vividly alive. I particularly enjoyed the setting, having visited San Francisco earlier this year. In addition, she continues to develop her central characters. In this episode, Russell shows great vulnerability, which is an interesting change, and plot developments mean that part of the narrative is from Holmes' perspective, which is an added bonus. I really like the way King makes Holmes her own creation by distancing him from Conan Doyle's Holmes within the text, while having him retain enough of the original Holmes' characteristics to be recognisable. Also, Dashiell Hammett is worked into the plot in an interesting an inventive way. References to "the thin man" to describe the tubercular Hammett made me smile. There are some less satisfying elements of the novel. The plot is coincidence layered with implausibility. (view spoiler)[ There is, for example, no convincing reason why the culprit, who killed so many people to cover his tracks, would not have done in Russell much earlier in the piece. (hide spoiler)] Also, the resolution is not exactly very exciting. Moreover, King hovers on the edge of having her characters display attitudes which appear anachronistic for the period in which the novel is set. In the hands of a less skilled writer, this could be fairly ordinary crime fiction. However, I don't read crime fiction for verisimilitude and I don't read this series for the plot. As long as King delivers interesting characters and a great setting in her elegant prose, I'm there. Once again, I regret that it took me so long to decide to read this series. On the other hand, it's great to still have a few more to read before I get to the stage of hanging out for the next instalment.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    I greatly enjoyed this, and decided to give this full marks. The series is basically Sherlock Holmes fanfic, with the great detective given a female romantic and professional partner. So many ways it could have gone wrong, but I never have felt King's creation Mary Russell was a Mary Sue--for all her capabilities she has had her vulnerabilities, and I think this installment is among the most personal and introspective of the books, and I loved that aspect. One thing I've enjoyed about the books I greatly enjoyed this, and decided to give this full marks. The series is basically Sherlock Holmes fanfic, with the great detective given a female romantic and professional partner. So many ways it could have gone wrong, but I never have felt King's creation Mary Russell was a Mary Sue--for all her capabilities she has had her vulnerabilities, and I think this installment is among the most personal and introspective of the books, and I loved that aspect. One thing I've enjoyed about the books so far, and this is the eighth of them, is that King keeps changing things up so they're fresh. Even the narrative technique is different in this one, consisting not only of Russell's first person narrative, but third person from other perspectives. And, as usual--and it's infectious--you can tell King has a blast with these, this one perhaps more than usual. The Moor has the Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles for its basis. The Game was set in India under the British Raj and was a homage to Kipling's Kim. This one takes place in 1924 San Francisco. King is a California native and resident and she even slips an ancestor who survived the famous 1906 quake into the narrative as a character. She writes San Francisco with evident affection, and even included Dashiell Hammett, the one time Pinkerton Agent and mystery writer, as a character. There's even a playful reference to Conan Doyle, Holmes' creator... er, I mean biographer. This novel isn't quite the favorite some of the other Russell novels have been--The Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Letter of Mary and Justice Hall--but boy was this a pleasure. It was a treat in particular to get more of Holmes from his own perspective.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Russell and Holmes have just finished their last escapade in India (The Game), when Russell is called to San Francisco to deal with matters relating to the estate of her late parents. Though Russell spent her early childhood there, she has not set foot in the city since she was fourteen, when the tragic accident that took the lives of her parents and brother occurred there. She is convinced that she will be able to handle the flood of memories and emotions the city brings back, but as she nears Russell and Holmes have just finished their last escapade in India (The Game), when Russell is called to San Francisco to deal with matters relating to the estate of her late parents. Though Russell spent her early childhood there, she has not set foot in the city since she was fourteen, when the tragic accident that took the lives of her parents and brother occurred there. She is convinced that she will be able to handle the flood of memories and emotions the city brings back, but as she nears her destination, strange dreams begin to trouble her, about flying objects, a man without a face and a mysterious suite of locked rooms to which only she holds the key. On arriving in the city, an attempt is made on her life, and the normally lucid, coldly deductive Russell is overcome by her emotions. It becomes clear that it will be up to Holmes (with the help of a few Irregulars) to discover the identity of the attacker, and to unravel the mysteries surrounding the death of Russell's parents and their estate. I have to say that though I found this book just as engrossing as the others in the series, I had a few issues with it. Some have said that they liked the portrayal of Russell as an emotional wreck in this novel, as it made her feel more human. I, however, did not like it. Maybe because throughout the rest of the series, I got used to Mary as being unemotional, unflappable and totally in control, and her behavior in this book was so at odds with that, it was disconcerting. Some of it just seemed unbelievable. I, personally, can't picture the Mary Russell I know from reading the other books partying with a bunch of flappers, no matter what her state of emotional disarray. I'm sorry, it just doesn't work. On the other hand, with Russell down for the count, it allows the narration to be taken over by Holmes, which I definitely liked. For once we are given an inside look at his thoughts processes and motivations, which I thoroughly enjoyed. For me, it made his character seem more human, as we find that beneath his steely exterior, he does possess emotions. As for plot, I felt that the ending was a bit of a let-down. To me, it was very anti-climatic. However, anyone who is familiar with the series knows that the primary appeal of the books is not necessarily figuring out the "who-done-it", but absorbing the atmosphere of the writing along the way (if that makes any sense). So, all-in-all, while definitely not my favorite of the series, I still enjoyed it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    My favorite one of the series. I absolutley loved finding out finally the story behind the accident that is mentioned about the whole series and explained completey. I found myself melancholy when this book ended because I wished to continue being a part Russell and Holmes day to day activities and banter.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    Sherlock Holmes is a character that who seems to continue to fascinate. Conan Doyle’s character having taken on almost mythical proportions has been responsible for the wide ranging Holmes pastiche that has grown up since Conan Doyle finished writing his Holmes stories. There are many writers out there who have continued to write Sherlock Holmes stories. For instance, there is ‘The young Sherlock Holmes’ series for children by Andrew Lane, a book called The Last Sherlock Holmes story by well-kno Sherlock Holmes is a character that who seems to continue to fascinate. Conan Doyle’s character having taken on almost mythical proportions has been responsible for the wide ranging Holmes pastiche that has grown up since Conan Doyle finished writing his Holmes stories. There are many writers out there who have continued to write Sherlock Holmes stories. For instance, there is ‘The young Sherlock Holmes’ series for children by Andrew Lane, a book called The Last Sherlock Holmes story by well-known crime writer Michael Dibdin, a quick look on Amazon revealed books by authors David Wilson, Richard Dinnick and Nigel Scott, and many others – none of which I have read or even heard of, if I’m honest. I did read a good collection of Holmes stories called The Remains of Sherlock Holmes by Paul W Nash – though I think the book is out of print now. I also really enjoyed Anthony Horrowitz’s The House of Silk. However the series that continues to delight me is the Mary Russell series by Laurie R King. In the first book – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – Mary Russell is a fifteen year old Anglo/American orphan living in Sussex with an aunt – she meets and becomes apprenticed to an ageing Sherlock Holmes – who has retired to the Sussex downs to study bees. Needless to say Holmes doesn’t stay retired for long, and is frequently called upon to undertake secret missions by his brother Mycroft. As the years pass Russell and Holmes’s partnership/friendship leads to marriage. Russell is a tough bluestocking, fiercely intelligent and independent; she is not a typical early twentieth century wife – who could imagine Holmes married to a traditional wife anyway? I love the way Laurie R King has resurrected Holmes in these novels, he is still very familiar – he is older and mellower no longer a drug addict – and still taken care of by Mrs Hudson, corresponds with Watson – and still a master of disguise. Locked Rooms is the eighth Mary Russell novel, it is 1924, ten years since the accident that robbed Mary of her parents and younger brother. Returning from Bombay where they had been involved in the case detailed in the seventh novel The Game, Russell and Holmes sail for San Francisco to settle some business with Mary’s family estate. However as the ship gets closer to San Francisco, Mary starts to experience some very unsettling dreams, and Holmes notices his wife’s behaviour begin to change. In 1906 the city where Mary’s family had lived had been devastated by an earthquake, Mary believes that she hadn’t been there at the time; Holmes is convinced that she must have been. Still haunted by the accident which killed her family but which she survived; Mary Russell has a lot to face up to upon her return. She is sure that she can cope with the memories, with revisiting her old home, and is irritated by any show of concern from Holmes. Once in San Francisco Russell starts to uncover the secrets of her own past. A series of deaths that appear to be connected to her family and a bizarre codicil to her father’s will – lead Holmes and Russell to the busy streets of China town. Locked Rooms is possibly my favourite of the series so far – although I remember The Moor as being pretty fantastic too. This novel is a little different as the story – and the mysteries are more personal to Mary – so much more of Russell is revealed. Throughout the series so far, Russell had been almost as enigmatic as the man she married. I do love a bit of Holmes escapism – my curl up in a ball cosy reading. This series is well written, tautly plotted – with plenty of those familiar Holmes ingredients that we love. For anyone not familiar with this series who like the sound of it – I would always recommend starting with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice - and reading the books in order. Thankfully I already have the next one TBR.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Locked Rooms picks up pretty much immediately where The Game left off, as we learn that Russell and Holmes have left India--and instead of heading back to Britain, they've gone through Japan instead on their way to San Francisco to take care of some family business of Russell's. The transition between stories, I fear, is a bit shaky; we are told that this was part of their plan all along, and yet, having just read The Game immediately beforehand, I recollect exactly nothing in that book about ho Locked Rooms picks up pretty much immediately where The Game left off, as we learn that Russell and Holmes have left India--and instead of heading back to Britain, they've gone through Japan instead on their way to San Francisco to take care of some family business of Russell's. The transition between stories, I fear, is a bit shaky; we are told that this was part of their plan all along, and yet, having just read The Game immediately beforehand, I recollect exactly nothing in that book about how they'd intended to head to San Francisco. There's also several bemusing references to their stop in Japan and hints that Interesting Things happened there. Russell at one point uses the phrase "complexity of events" to describe what happened there--and yet we never are told what actually happened, which was confusing and vaguely annoying to me as a reader. I was torn between wanting to yell "um, so, WHAT HAPPENED IN JAPAN?", half-wondering if I'd somehow missed a book somewhere (though I knew I hadn't), and strongly suspecting that there will in fact be a future book about What Happened In Japan. Which struck me as, well, gimmicky. So did the use of Dashiell Hammett as a character in this plot, for that matter. See all my comments up above about reacting to the use of Kimball O'Hara as a character; they apply here, only more so since Hammett was an actual real person. As with The Game for me, so too with Locked Rooms; I am not familiar with Hammett's work or his history, so the use of him in the plot doesn't mean much to me and pretty much came across as another excuse to have Russell and Holmes meet a Famous Person. All that said, I enjoyed Locked Rooms a lot more than I did The Game. All the problems in the previous book with Russell being omni-competent get turned on their ear here as we learn that why yes, Russell can be thrown hugely off her stride. Seeing her trying to come to terms with her past and the deaths of her parents and brother, and even fight with Holmes when he gets too close to the sensitive bits of her repressed memories? That was interesting. And so was seeing things from Holmes' POV for once! King jumped into Holmes' head for two long chunks of the book, and it was about damned time she'd done so as well. I mean, if she's going to have her protagonist go and marry the world's most renowed detective, it's good to actually see him do some on-camera detecting--not to mention see him reacting to the stresses that Russell's going through and to have their relationship rounded out quite a bit more. There was some measure of "convenience" to certain aspects of the plot--the 'faceless man' of Russell's nightmares turning out to be her father's shady friend, for example--but not nearly so much as in the previous book, and the far more interesting aspects of the plot helped balance things out rather nicely. The flashbacks that helped bring to life the events of the 1906 earthquake were particularly vivid, as were the descriptions of Chinatown. And I liked how things were tied in to a seemingly random incident in the previous book--the attempt on Russell and Holmes' life with the collapsing balcony in the marketplace. All in all, two thumbs up!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I did not realize I was up this late, finishing this novel--which I suppose is the highest praise I can give. It's a stay up until 2am to finish novel.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Great book with many twists and turns!! Loved every minute of it. I can't wait to pick of the rest in the series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    This book reminded me of Elizabeth Peters' "Amelia Peabody" series. Both series are supposedly the published journals of the heroine. The concept works well - until the author needs to cover events not witnessed by her. Both authors fix the problem by "discovering" accompanying notes by one of the other characters - and in both cases, there's only one possible candidate. The trouble is that these "notes" are written in the third person, and it's as if the author forgets who's supposed to be the w This book reminded me of Elizabeth Peters' "Amelia Peabody" series. Both series are supposedly the published journals of the heroine. The concept works well - until the author needs to cover events not witnessed by her. Both authors fix the problem by "discovering" accompanying notes by one of the other characters - and in both cases, there's only one possible candidate. The trouble is that these "notes" are written in the third person, and it's as if the author forgets who's supposed to be the writer. So Sherlock/Ramses gets described in ways Sherlock/Ramses would never describe himself - and it jars. Why couldn't they 'write' in 1st person? It's less of an issue in this volume, because the "notes" are mainly in one big section, and after a while you forget who's meant to have written it. And in general, I enjoyed this story. I had two gripes. One - when we finally discover her father's dark secret, it's not convincing. I suspect the author had trouble thinking up a black deed that wouldn't besmirch the reputation of her father - I think she should've allowed him to be a little less perfect! My other gripe is King's habit of including other famous people in her stories. Given Sherlock's fame, I can believe him being introduced to other famous people - but to accidentally bump into well-known characters like Dashiel Hammett strains credibility, and isn't necessary to the plot. Finally, this story constantly reminded me how young Mary is, and there is something slightly creepy about the huge age difference between her and Holmes. Oh wait, that's a third gripe. Perhaps when I get around to reading the first in the series, it will make more sense.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    (07/28/2017, editted to correct typo and add links.) King's "found" further adventures of Sherlock Holmes seem to work better when, as here and in The Moor, she brings an historical person into the cast. Setting the tale in Roaring Twenties San Francisco allows King to explore new territory, as begun in the preceding The Game. The broken narrative works, but maybe because King explained it. Historical quibble: King posits America--or at least San Francisco--as having been swept up in war fever the (07/28/2017, editted to correct typo and add links.) King's "found" further adventures of Sherlock Holmes seem to work better when, as here and in The Moor, she brings an historical person into the cast. Setting the tale in Roaring Twenties San Francisco allows King to explore new territory, as begun in the preceding The Game. The broken narrative works, but maybe because King explained it. Historical quibble: King posits America--or at least San Francisco--as having been swept up in war fever the summer of 1914--men taking draft physicals, making other plans, settling personal matters before shipping out--when in fact most of America resisted getting involved in Europe's war. Mary's mother was English, so the war would touch more closely, but it does not adequately explain her father's motivations. Cover quibble: Mary has shorn her hair boyishly short but is show with it as long as the previous covers in the series. A very good read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Annabelle

    I’ve read a number of King’s books and loved them. I think she is running out of gas a bit. This is about Mary Russell, the 23 year old wife, of Sherlock Holmes. They are sailing around the world, and go to San Francisco to settle Russell’s estate. Her parents and brother were killed in a car crash when she was 7. She does a lot of description, like there are not too many ideas for the plot. A lot of it deals with the history of the San Francisco fire, earthquake, and structural inequality of th I’ve read a number of King’s books and loved them. I think she is running out of gas a bit. This is about Mary Russell, the 23 year old wife, of Sherlock Holmes. They are sailing around the world, and go to San Francisco to settle Russell’s estate. Her parents and brother were killed in a car crash when she was 7. She does a lot of description, like there are not too many ideas for the plot. A lot of it deals with the history of the San Francisco fire, earthquake, and structural inequality of the Chinese. Then there is the roaring twenties, parties and drink. Feng shui is a major plot piece, i.e. eventually a significant secret is found by geomancy in the garden. This does not work. The other plot device of Russell’s dreams is ridiculous, made to seem mysterious, but super obvious. Of course they are unbelievably wealthy, talented, crafty, etc. There is a little creepiness with the age different between Russell and Holmes. But King is a competent writer, and I liked Russell and Holmes, and she captures some Holmeisms, like using street urchins for spies, and having hidey holes and disguises.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Has it really been four years since I read the last Mary Russell book? It was great being back in her company. I enjoyed the book, though there was a zip missing, probably because Mary was unearthing some seriously deep shit from her past so wasn't her usual wit-slinging self. The alternating sections between first-person-Mary-POV and third-person-Holmes-POV threw me a bit. I don't think it was necessarily the Holmes POV itself, but that it wasn't consistent. It was usually Holmes, but the narra Has it really been four years since I read the last Mary Russell book? It was great being back in her company. I enjoyed the book, though there was a zip missing, probably because Mary was unearthing some seriously deep shit from her past so wasn't her usual wit-slinging self. The alternating sections between first-person-Mary-POV and third-person-Holmes-POV threw me a bit. I don't think it was necessarily the Holmes POV itself, but that it wasn't consistent. It was usually Holmes, but the narration would broaden omnipotently at times to drift to Hammet's perspective or even, confusingly, a few lines of Mary's thoughts. I think everything that was uncovered from Mary's past helps fill out the characters, and I'm glad to have read it. It wasn't my favorite of the series in terms of dialogue or plot (the big reveal really didn't land for me, and some of the Chinatown/feng shui stuff was awkward). But I absolutely plan to continue with the series. Hopefully Russell and Holmes will have a bit more of their old spark back now that they've gotten through this crisis from Mary's past.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ok, first let me acknowledge that I really loved the Russell/Holmes romantic plot interaction in A Monstrous Regiment of Women, and I keep hoping there will be more relationship in the subsequent books. Not that I'm asking for lots of lovey-dovey stuff or explicitness, but I really loved their couple dynamic in book 2 and would love more of it along with the mysteries. It is there in the rest, but it's really, really muted. This particular book was a bit hard for me to trudge through, though I t Ok, first let me acknowledge that I really loved the Russell/Holmes romantic plot interaction in A Monstrous Regiment of Women, and I keep hoping there will be more relationship in the subsequent books. Not that I'm asking for lots of lovey-dovey stuff or explicitness, but I really loved their couple dynamic in book 2 and would love more of it along with the mysteries. It is there in the rest, but it's really, really muted. This particular book was a bit hard for me to trudge through, though I think it's necessary to the overall arc of the series to finally get some closure on Mary's past. It was hard to feel the tug of interest in Mary's portion of the story because she was cold and removed from her emotions. Great writing to really nail that state of mind, but hard for me to connect with it. So I'm glad to be able to lay to rest some of the worst of Mary's childhood trauma, and I'm looking forward to what the next books bring.

  16. 5 out of 5

    ❂ Jennifer

    I thought this one would be my least favourite, but the story took off for me about halfway through, when the POV temporarily switched to Holmes. Ultimately an interesting story beyond the mystery itself. Full review: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/115399...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amalie Simper

    Loved this book. I came back to it after taking a break from this series and it was like visiting an old friend. This is book 8 in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series and with the exception of Book 1, 2 and 4, this book definitely ranks as one of my favorites. It is better written than several of the others. In this book they visit San Francisco to close up the accounts and sell the assets her family owned in the area at the untimely death of her family. Mary has not been to San Francisco si Loved this book. I came back to it after taking a break from this series and it was like visiting an old friend. This is book 8 in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series and with the exception of Book 1, 2 and 4, this book definitely ranks as one of my favorites. It is better written than several of the others. In this book they visit San Francisco to close up the accounts and sell the assets her family owned in the area at the untimely death of her family. Mary has not been to San Francisco since the time of her families death and her survival of the crash at age 14. She spends the book trying to understand the 3 nightmares that are plaguing her dreams. I loved how this book was written both from her viewpoint as she rediscovers her past and also the sections from Holmes voice about what he doing in his own time in San Francisco. It was fun to learn more about Mary's childhood and also how Holmes has become not only her partner in their crime fighting endeavors but also how he is her husband.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debby

    A good mystery, but I felt it would have been better if the book hadn't been so long. The pace dragged too often to really keep me interested. The only thing that kept me reading to the end was the premise of Russell's "locked rooms" memories of her childhood. I find the psychology of that subject very intersting. Overall though, shorten the book by 100 or so pages and i might have likeed it better. I liked the idea of this series with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holme, so I plan to go back to the A good mystery, but I felt it would have been better if the book hadn't been so long. The pace dragged too often to really keep me interested. The only thing that kept me reading to the end was the premise of Russell's "locked rooms" memories of her childhood. I find the psychology of that subject very intersting. Overall though, shorten the book by 100 or so pages and i might have likeed it better. I liked the idea of this series with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holme, so I plan to go back to the beginning and read book #1.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bridgette Redman

    As any Laurie R. King fan will tell you, her books are always about something. The genre is merely the vehicle by which she explores her topic. Want examples? In A Darker Place, she explores cults, religious communities, and the fine line between the two. In Folly, she delves into mental illness and depression. In To Play the Fool, her exposition reveals much about the tradition of fools throughout history. Monstrous Regiment of Women merges a look at mysticism and turn-of-the-century feminism. As any Laurie R. King fan will tell you, her books are always about something. The genre is merely the vehicle by which she explores her topic. Want examples? In A Darker Place, she explores cults, religious communities, and the fine line between the two. In Folly, she delves into mental illness and depression. In To Play the Fool, her exposition reveals much about the tradition of fools throughout history. Monstrous Regiment of Women merges a look at mysticism and turn-of-the-century feminism. Justice Hall explores World War I and the British policy on deserters. Granted, each of those stories are buoyed by a strong sense of storytelling: compelling characters, tension, mood, and strong plot. But woven in amongst the story is a well-researched exploration of some topic. Locked Rooms, the latest in her Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series, continues this tradition. In its pages, King unfolds the horrors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. She’s meticulously researched both the earthquake itself and the resulting fires. She then manages to put a human face on it by taking us to meet people whose lives continue to be affected by it, even years after the event. In Locked Rooms Russell and Holmes have left India where The Game took place and are now headed for San Francisco so that Russell can take care of some family business. On the way there, she is haunted by recurring nightmares that force her to face her own past and the death of the family that she loved. King examines many other things in this novel besides the earthquake. She takes a look at repressed memories—why we repress them and what they can do to us. She glances at the interpretation of dreams. It is one of the odder moments that the highly rational Sherlock Holmes is much quicker to put stock in the evidence of dreams than even his theologically and psychologically oriented wife. There are also many pages devoted to feng shui, including an explanation for why it is more rational than it appears despite its heavily mythological languages. Holmes may complain about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s obsession with the mystical, but he himself walks far closer to the spiritual side of life in these stories of his advanced age than he ever did in the original canon. King also takes great joy in literary meetings. It’s almost become a hallmark of the series. It begins, of course, with the very introduction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his best-known creation, Sherlock Holmes, in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Later in A Letter of Mary, Dorothy Sayer’s Peter Whimsey makes a brief appearance. Then in The Game, we get to meet Ruyard Kipling’s Kim. In this novel, it is the turn of Dasheill Hammett to make an appearance. This time, it is purely the writer who participates in the mystery, not his creations. By including him, she not only pays tribute to one of the greats of the genre, but she is also able to take jabs at the mystery-writing genre. There is a brilliant moment in which a fictional character speculates about what it would be like to be thought of as a fictional person. On the downside, the plot of this novel and King’s usual mastery of suspense suffers somewhat. It becomes more important to allow Mary time to explore her past and what it means to her than it is to keep the plot going. This leaves several holes in the story. There is no good explanation for why she is immediately shot at and then the danger abates for nearly a week, even though the villains have every reason to step up their efforts. Too often, King indulged the comfort of her protagonists at the expense of the story. Long-time fans who have come to care about the characters will appreciate that they’re finally getting a break. Unfortunately, it weakens the story and will make it far less compelling to anyone new to the series. In a slightly different twist than in the past books (though reminiscent of the later books in Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series), the novel is split into different points of view, ostensibly from two different manuscripts. Given that Holmes does not reveal all that he did and was worried about to his partner, the narrative must sometimes switch to his point-of-view. This is done by having “Russell” sections written in the first-person and “Holmes” sections written in the third person. It’s the first time in the series that we are able to see Mary through eyes other than her own. It also gives us a new look into the character of Holmes himself. This book is far from the best in the series, but it does open a window into Mary’s past, pushing her development as a character while allowing King to take us on yet another tour through history.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Quint

    This was a book somewhat different than the previous ones.This is about Mary Russell cleaning up her past or coming to grips with her past. My only issue with this book is that it starts off very slowly and there is an introduction of people and circumstances that probably weren't needed. They could of going straight to San Francisco without all of the round the world this and that. However, once they landed in San Francisco, the pace of the book picked up considerably. One of the things about th This was a book somewhat different than the previous ones.This is about Mary Russell cleaning up her past or coming to grips with her past. My only issue with this book is that it starts off very slowly and there is an introduction of people and circumstances that probably weren't needed. They could of going straight to San Francisco without all of the round the world this and that. However, once they landed in San Francisco, the pace of the book picked up considerably. One of the things about these books is that illustrates how easy it is to pass between circumstances or control events if one is rich. When Sherlock Holmes needed some extra help, he simply pulled out some money and made it happen. When Mary Russell need some new close, she simply goes to the store and buys them. This is a convenient way of bridging events without getting tangled up in the question of "how do they pay for all of that"; the same question that we ask of soap operas when we wonder how people can live as well as they do and no one seems to go to work. One of the things that make me wonder about the lifestyle of all of these individuals is that they drink a lot of alcohol stay caffeinated 24/7 smoke cigarettes and don't seem to have any health problems. They have this addiction to "good high drinks" and brandy and the like. At his age, Sherlock Holmes should have been hospitalized with a degenerated liver. Mary Russell can always find a good hot bath. It gives the impression that life is simply devoid of all of the day-to-day struggles for subsistence but then again if they were not as well off as they are, the stories would not be as interesting. One of the things about this story is that until you get to the last chapters, it is very hard to figure out how it is going to in. There is no way that you're going to identify the villain until you get to the end of the book but you do not know why the person is a villain pleasure read the first part of the book. Naturally, there's going to be a "happy ending" and if they were not one, I would not like the books. What surprised me even more is how Sherlock Holmes somehow bumps into Samuel Dashiell Hammett, the author of "the Maltese falcon" and Sherlock Holmes says to him that he has a talent for writing detective stories.The absurdity of this encounter actually glues the story together quite well. During the story, when homes first encounters him, I kept saying to myself that I had heard of this person before and then towards the end it hit me that Sherlock Holmes was meeting the author of the soon to be written "the Maltese falcon". Not a bad touch! I recommend this book highly and hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philip Jones

    This eighth book by Ms. King in the Mary Russell series is set mostly in San Francisco. But actually, it takes place mostly in Mary Russell’s mind. It is an investigation of her past, both remembering things forgotten and detecting things unseen. The narrative is split into several separate sections; those narrated as seen by Mary and those narrated from Sherlock’s point of view. The parts shown from Sherlock’s viewpoint are among the most Sherlockian passages in the entire series, which is to s This eighth book by Ms. King in the Mary Russell series is set mostly in San Francisco. But actually, it takes place mostly in Mary Russell’s mind. It is an investigation of her past, both remembering things forgotten and detecting things unseen. The narrative is split into several separate sections; those narrated as seen by Mary and those narrated from Sherlock’s point of view. The parts shown from Sherlock’s viewpoint are among the most Sherlockian passages in the entire series, which is to say that they make some sense and won’t absolutely repulse any but the most fanatic of purists. Some are even pretty interesting. The Russellian passages are frequently disjoint, purposefully so, and pose a number of interpretive problems for the reader. The author attempts to depict various psychological problems from the patient’s viewpoint and the result is, of course, confusing to the reader, who does not share in the emotional problems. It is a noble effort and it certainly brings life to many aspects of human emotional reactions to traumatic experiences. Whether it is an accurate portrayal is impossible to say, since the subject is a character in a novel and not a living person. In spite of the viewpoint situation, which is inherent in the story being told, the book reads well, with interesting characters and vivid scenes and actions. Upon later reflection, the villains become less formidable and their motivation more questionable. The actions in the book are really necessary to develop the situation, but, in retrospect, it is not easy to accept that the villains would sensibly have acted as described. This is not only a matter of motivation, but also an assessment of their competence. They are strangely inept at some moments and fearfully capable and knowledgeable at others. In the course of his investigation, Holmes encounters and enlists the aid of detective Dashielle Hammet. The passages about Dash are some of the best in the book and the numerous little bits of background in this tale later used by the writer, Dashielle Hammet, are real joys to Hammet fans. Some of them are pretty tricky. In fact, several things in the book are tricky, including the use of “reverse Feng Shui” and Holmes’ recruitment practices. In summation, King remains an able and gifted writer, so this is a pleasant book to read. The story is complex but not really as plausible as the writer might hope it to be. As a Sherlockian pastiche, it is mediocre, but as a novel of suspense, it is pretty good. Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, September, 2005. Published in “Dr. Watson’s Practice Notes,” [#19, 07/2010].

  22. 4 out of 5

    An Odd1

    "Locked Rooms" (MR8) by Laurie King is the third of recurring nightmares provoked by Mary Russell's return to childhood home in San Francisco. Two turn out to be memories. The last is symbolic of subconscious truths she refuses to acknowledge. I do not credit nightly brain synapses synchronizing with undue significance. Despite the annoying phony prophetic start, I'm drawn in by the plot thickening, and the author's talent for engaging. Better than psyche focus is the sense of real (not dry rese "Locked Rooms" (MR8) by Laurie King is the third of recurring nightmares provoked by Mary Russell's return to childhood home in San Francisco. Two turn out to be memories. The last is symbolic of subconscious truths she refuses to acknowledge. I do not credit nightly brain synapses synchronizing with undue significance. Despite the annoying phony prophetic start, I'm drawn in by the plot thickening, and the author's talent for engaging. Better than psyche focus is the sense of real (not dry research) quake victims and Chinese immigrants on 1906 west coast. Finding multiple murders in the past, then another present attempt force Mary toward the true cause of her family's fatal accident. While she's distracted internally, Mary's husband Sherlock Holmes enlists tubercular Dashiel Hammett, lured from employment of suspicious Southern-sounding woman seen also in India near-miss falling balcony. Sortof Spoilers: Mary's psychiatrist Dr Ginzberg, and family's servant Chinese couple, Mai and Mah Long, were murdered right after she was sent to England. I guessed long ago, so not spoiler, the car accident that killed her family was murder too. The final total 7+ victims seems more attributable to a madman than the careless greedy father we finally meet. But real human motivations can be complex. While the city burned in 1906 quake disaster, some dangerous activity by her father sent them fleeing to England, and separated from the Longs. The surviving Long adopted son Tom lunges between Mary and a gunshot. When flapper friends make martinis, I checked out cocktail possible origin, 1850s San Fran, recipe first published in 1887. http://www.rdwarf.com/users/mink/mart... 3.1

  23. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Carroll

    Russell and her husband, mumble mumble, arrive in San Francisco to resolve details of her parents estate and end up tumbling into a mystery. Well, it is a mystery series, so there was bound to be one. After all, why else have mumble mumble in the story. I always feel a little awkward explaining the basic premise of the series, I mean, Sherlock Holmes married! It does seem a bit ummm… improbable. The thing about Laurie King’s series is that she really makes it work. She imbues (great word imbue) ea Russell and her husband, mumble mumble, arrive in San Francisco to resolve details of her parents estate and end up tumbling into a mystery. Well, it is a mystery series, so there was bound to be one. After all, why else have mumble mumble in the story. I always feel a little awkward explaining the basic premise of the series, I mean, Sherlock Holmes married! It does seem a bit ummm… improbable. The thing about Laurie King’s series is that she really makes it work. She imbues (great word imbue) each book with an incredible sense of time and period. As to the setting, well, I live here; I’m bound to enjoy a mystery set along familiar streets and ways. This book was a bit of a departure in that King split the narrative point of view between Mary Russell first person and Holmes third person. This allowed the book to play with perspective and Mary as an unreliable narrator in way that wasn’t really possible in previous books. With the idea of locked rooms both real and in our heads. Discuss ideas that we will not allow ourselves to face. It’s always particularly enjoyable when a new book enables you to go back to older books in the series and see events in a new way. As soon as I finished Locked Room, I went back to Beekeeper’s Apprentice with a new eye for old well loved details.

  24. 5 out of 5

    James Swenson

    I'm glad I read this, I enjoyed it, and I'm moving on to the next in the series. This volume takes Mary Russell, and her famous husband, back to Russell's roots in California, to face the circumstances of her family's death. We know, by this time, that she is vulnerable from this direction. Alternating between Russell's first-person tale and a third-person narration from Holmes's point of view, we see Russell's emotional imbalance from inside and out. I was satisfied with the ending (especially c I'm glad I read this, I enjoyed it, and I'm moving on to the next in the series. This volume takes Mary Russell, and her famous husband, back to Russell's roots in California, to face the circumstances of her family's death. We know, by this time, that she is vulnerable from this direction. Alternating between Russell's first-person tale and a third-person narration from Holmes's point of view, we see Russell's emotional imbalance from inside and out. I was satisfied with the ending (especially critical in detective-type stories), though it struck me as rather sudden, with an abrupt denouement. Once again, though, Holmes and Russell fall in with a Famous Character. In The Moor, it was Baring-Gould S. (Sabine). This time, it's Dashiell Hammett. Each time, it's annoyed me: it seems to signal that Laurie R. King lacks confidence in the ability of Holmes and Russell to maintain the reader's interest.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Winx Goll

    I enjoyed this book, but not as much for the mystery as for the character development. I felt that King perhaps wasn't aiming for as thrilling of an adventure as in her previous novel, but instead wanted to take the opportunity to focus on Holmes and Russell. In this book, we see Russell at her most vulnerable -- in something of an existential crisis as she's forced to confront the long-repressed memories of her past. The normally stoic and unsympathetic Holmes is also in a vulnerable position a I enjoyed this book, but not as much for the mystery as for the character development. I felt that King perhaps wasn't aiming for as thrilling of an adventure as in her previous novel, but instead wanted to take the opportunity to focus on Holmes and Russell. In this book, we see Russell at her most vulnerable -- in something of an existential crisis as she's forced to confront the long-repressed memories of her past. The normally stoic and unsympathetic Holmes is also in a vulnerable position as he's conflicted between his usual cold, logical approach to solving mysteries and the emotional ties that he has to this one in particular. He's also in a constant state of worry over Mary and her wellbeing throughout the first 3/4 of the book. Another interesting sight to see was Mary going out with persons her own age (Flo and Donny and their friends) to do the Charleston all night at a jazz club, drinking illegal alcohol during Prohibition times! The mystery itself wasn't very "thrilling" in my opinion, but I felt very attached to the results as the story of Mary's past has been such an integral part of her character throughout the series so far. So, again, for me, this book's enjoyment came mainly from the character development. Although, I did have to laugh out loud when the man tailing Holmes introduced himself as Dashiell Hammett! :P

  26. 5 out of 5

    HBalikov

    This is a major advance in the Russell/Holmes saga. Seemingly small incidents in the previous book, The Game, launch a whole new adventure as the duo journey from India to California. Russell's distraction and nightmares are of concern to Holmes. They arrive in San Francisco to tie up some loose ends in the estates of her parents who died tragically about ten years previously. King does a good job of parsing Russell's previous history (as revealed in the previous seven novels (and I didn't detec This is a major advance in the Russell/Holmes saga. Seemingly small incidents in the previous book, The Game, launch a whole new adventure as the duo journey from India to California. Russell's distraction and nightmares are of concern to Holmes. They arrive in San Francisco to tie up some loose ends in the estates of her parents who died tragically about ten years previously. King does a good job of parsing Russell's previous history (as revealed in the previous seven novels (and I didn't detect any inconsistencies worth noting). The plot is dense, but surrounded by King's love and knowledge of the Bay environs. There is a necessary backdrop of San Francisco's earthquake history and its Chinese community. Fengsui, a Chinese philosophy that seeks to harmonize human existence with the surrounding environment, plays a significant and entertaining role in advancing the plot. By the by, we learn a lot more of Russell's youth and some insights into her relationship with Holmes. In demonstrating her skill with this material, King has raised the bar for her succeeding novels.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lightreads

    Books 4-8 of that series where young woman meets, studies with, and eventually marries Sherlock Holmes. I'm . . . ambivalent. Good things" Pretty writing. Good research. Not infrequent veins of emotional or intellectual or historical richness. Commercial derivative fiction that's actually interesting! The bad: not always succeeding in that admittedly hard task of writing about historical people and their views on race and gender while neither alienating modern readers or being anachronistic. (Thes Books 4-8 of that series where young woman meets, studies with, and eventually marries Sherlock Holmes. I'm . . . ambivalent. Good things" Pretty writing. Good research. Not infrequent veins of emotional or intellectual or historical richness. Commercial derivative fiction that's actually interesting! The bad: not always succeeding in that admittedly hard task of writing about historical people and their views on race and gender while neither alienating modern readers or being anachronistic. (These books fail in both directions, on different occasions). But the greatest sin of all is that, right up to Locked Rooms, Sherlock freaking Holmes was about as dull and sanitized as he could get. I mean, she started by virtually hand waving the drug addiction, but apparently all his quirkiness and baggage went, too. I mean, Sherlock Holmes! You have to try to make him uninteresting. That does get better in the last book

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I have returned to this series, with Locked Rooms, after a long break. I'm not sure if I enjoyed Locked Rooms so much because I missed reading Laurie King or if it captured me more than the others in the series. I love that King delved deeper in to the character Mary Russell. Mary was more vulnerable, even driven to distraction by the heartbreak and questions of her past. This is a much more personal look at a crisp, normally reserved, composed, and distant (but still likable, and most admirable I have returned to this series, with Locked Rooms, after a long break. I'm not sure if I enjoyed Locked Rooms so much because I missed reading Laurie King or if it captured me more than the others in the series. I love that King delved deeper in to the character Mary Russell. Mary was more vulnerable, even driven to distraction by the heartbreak and questions of her past. This is a much more personal look at a crisp, normally reserved, composed, and distant (but still likable, and most admirable!) Mary. Holmes was perfect. I loved how he protected Mary (though he was quite sneaky!) and subtly guided her through the process of exploring the mystery of her family's deaths. I loved that Dashiell Hammett was a guest character, and ally. I loved Holmes San Fran Irregulars. Great supporting characters throughout. I just loved this book! Oh, the story itself- the solving of the Russell family mystery, is good too. Read it, by all means!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Treasa

    This is one of my favorite books from this series since the first three (which have been my favorites up to now). The mystery was one that I could really get emotionally involved in since it was directly tied to Mary's past and centered around an event that I had heard about many times in previous books. While I enjoy the mysteries that take Mary and Holmes to exotic places so they can help Mycroft and other important political figures, the ones like this that are on a more personal level really This is one of my favorite books from this series since the first three (which have been my favorites up to now). The mystery was one that I could really get emotionally involved in since it was directly tied to Mary's past and centered around an event that I had heard about many times in previous books. While I enjoy the mysteries that take Mary and Holmes to exotic places so they can help Mycroft and other important political figures, the ones like this that are on a more personal level really grab me. Also, I loved that we got to hear parts of the story from Holmes's point of view. Usually we only get to hear what he's thinking through Mary's narration. But here we actually got to see through Holmes's eyes, which was wonderful! I also loved the inclusion of Dashiell Hammett - what a fun character to have interact with Holmes! Just a wonderful book. One I will definitely reread many times.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ann aka Iftcan

    in this, the 8th Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel, we discover more of Mary's back story. Including much that she herself didn't remember. This one was particularily interesting for what we find out about Mary's family. And my basic reaction to one of the revelations was, "Wow, if MARY thought that her little brother was smarter than she is, the kid would have given Einstein a run for his money if he'd lived." And, on that tantalizing note, I will just say that the story was very good, even if in this, the 8th Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel, we discover more of Mary's back story. Including much that she herself didn't remember. This one was particularily interesting for what we find out about Mary's family. And my basic reaction to one of the revelations was, "Wow, if MARY thought that her little brother was smarter than she is, the kid would have given Einstein a run for his money if he'd lived." And, on that tantalizing note, I will just say that the story was very good, even if the "mystery" part of the story wasn't as engrossing as the previous books, since much of the "mystery" part of this novel was Mary's re-discovery of her childhood. Oh, and for all of us fans of the "greats" of mystery, Dash Hammett makes an appearance in this story. Just as a further incentive for reading this book. :o) I do love the characters that King uses to help out our intrepid duo.

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