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Locked Rooms (Mary Russell Novels) [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Laurie R. King
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Sep 2005 Mary Russell Novels
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.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 671 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (23 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786277017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786277018
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,026,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'As dry, sparkling and delightful as good champagne' Washington Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Laurie R. King is the first novelist since Patricia Cornwell to win prizes for Best First Crime Novel on both sides of the Atlantic with the publication of her debut thriller, A Grave Talent. She is the bestselling author of eight Mary Russell mysteries, four contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and the bestselling novels A Darker Place and Folly. She lives in northern California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Locked rooms of the mind 20 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Mary Russell series has been extremely enjoyable, although for me this novel and "The Moor" stand out. Throughout the series we have learned about Mary's past and the tragedy that overcame her family, sending her to Sussex where she met Sherlock Holmes.

"Locked Rooms" uses the loss of her family as a central theme and following a series of nightmares during the voyage to San Francisco (where Mary must deal with business matters) Mary is compelled to revisit the terrible events that lead to the death of her parents and brother.

The story is well structured and is an excellent mystery with an ending that doesn't disappoint. It uses the San Francisco earthquake and fire as a background for earlier events; the effect of the 1st World War on the younger generation is also shown in the brittleness of some of the new friends that Mary makes during the course of the story.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a well written, thoughtful mystery. Laurie R. King has great skill in developing character and in creating a psychological aspect to her stories that give them depth. This, along with the rest of the series, is highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best Russell yet? 16 Oct 2006
I've enjoyed all the Mary Russell books; but this one had something special. It played on all the things we know about Russell so far, and expanded them to something quite surprising. There's no trickery, no contrivance of the characters to get them to behave the way they do; and contrary to a previous reviewer, I think this is the best one in terms of character development, and the development of the Holmes/Russell relationship, yet. This series just seems to be getting better and better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Holmes but not as I knew him... 30 Mar 2011
The title might make one think of the locked room mysteries of the Golden Age detective. Sherlock Holmes was no stranger to solving the apparently inexplicable. The setting is the 1920s - so this is the time period when these sorts of stories were at their height.

But that's a long way from what we get. King's story places Holmes in San Francisco and into the path of Dashiell Hammett, still earning his keep as a detective, who was to give us a very different sort of detective fiction. And the influence of that - more modern - style of detective writing hangs over the tale.

King's Holmes is not Conan Doyle's - a point she seems anxious to make herself, describing him, and presumably his stories, through the voice of Holmes, as ridiculous. Of course, Holmes always gave short shrift to the literary efforts of Watson in describing his exploits, but one can't help feeling this is part of a deliberate effort to distance this Holmes from Doyle's.

This Holmes shares many similarities with the original, but he does not have extraordinary deductive powers of Conan Doyle's version. The mystery here is spread over hundreds of pages - yet, one might think - the old Holmes could have wrapped it up in a short story.

This was my first taste of King's continuation of the Sherlock Holmes stories - it possibly wasn't the ideal place to jump in. There are eight books worth of adventures to get this point and doubtless the series has been extremely rewarding for those who've followed it.

For those that haven't this book still is not without its pleasures. San Francisco makes for a great backdrop for the story: a new town, still finding its feet (as opposed to the grime of London) the famous vibrant Chinatown and the horror of the 1906 earthquake and fire.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can do better 2 Feb 2006
This is the weakest of the Mary Russell series. The central idea of the novel is interesting but the writing appears to be rushed and is not up to Laurie King's usual standard. In the prologue to one of the earlier books in the series the author writes something to the effect that some writers have put Sherlock Holmes in unlikely situations and made him say unlikely things - sadly there is an element of this running through 'Locked Rooms'. This is especially the case when Holmes is talking about America and some of the dialogue does not ring true to character.

If you have enjoyed other books in the series it is worth reading 'Locked Rooms' as long as you don't expect too much in the way of character development or page turning excitement found in the rest of the series.

If you haven't read any of the Mary Russell books, then start with 'The Beekeepers Apprentice' - the first and best in the series with a cracking storyline, a book that i have re-read a number of times and still enjoy.
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