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Locked Rooms: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Paperback – April 27, 2010
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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En route to San Francisco to settle her family’s estate, Mary Russell, in the company of husband Sherlock Holmes, falls prey to troubling dreamsâand even more troubling behavior. In 1906, when Mary was six, the city was devastated by a catastrophic earthquake. For years Mary has insisted she lived elsewhere at the time. But Holmes knows better.
Soon it is clear that whatever unpleasantness Mary wanted to forget hasn’t forgotten her. A series of mysterious deaths leads Russell and Holmes from the winding streets of Chinatown to the unspoken secrets of a parent’s marriage and the tragic “accident” that Mary alone survived. What Russell discovers is that even a forgotten past never dies . . . and it can kill again.
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NOTE: A more extensive review can be found on my blog, The Bookwyrm's Hoard. (Sorry, Amazon no longer allows links within reviews.)
This is Laurie King's eighth entry in her Sherlock Holmes / Mary Russell series, and I have read them all in order. I had high hopes for her attempt to meld a favorite detective with a young emancipated woman.
By now, that hope is forlorn. Author King apparently believes that her series is about Mary Russell, and Sherlock is someone with whom she can talk, tour, and sometimes work.
Yet, Locked Rooms is more to my taste than most of her series because Holmes has a more significant role in it than he does in most of the other books. The surprise to me is that author King has chosen to dilute her story about Mary with a second detective character - Dashiell Hammett! Unfortunately, from my perspective, she wastes his presence by giving him little role in unraveling the mystery of meaning to Mary.
I am of two minds about author King's series - I love her use of the English language. The lady can make words fly in your mind!
But, the stories are relatively weak with little mystery to be unraveled and not enough use of the immortal Sherlock.
I will continue to read author King's series because I still hope she will display Sherlock Holmes in settings beyond the view of Conan Doyle and because I enjoy her use of language. But, her series could have been so much more unique had she told us more detective story and less about Mary.
As Mary Russell and husband Sherlock Holmes, who is at present about three times her age, head from Tokyo to San Francisco via ocean liner, Mary nearly falls overboard without realizing she is leaning too far. Her nightmares resume, but now they aren't the constant nightmares of her family's fatal accident. She sees things flying through the air; she sees a man without a face. Worst of all, she sees a locked room, and if she could just open that locked room and look at what it holds, which in the dream she knows but does not show anyone but herself. she would know herself better.
As Mary almost sleepwalks through the new/old city where she spent much of her childhood, varying the day-sleep with a short taste of the youth she never really had, her husband is working to find out what REALLY happened, because he is certain from what he knows of Mary's father that he wouldn't have run off the road at a dangerous curve on a cliff above the Pacific because two youngsters were quarreling in the back seat.
In the last few chapters of the book, things snap together. Mary is herself again, and the mystery is cleared up. Mary is now acquitted. And if I said any more, it would be a serious spoiler. So read it yourself. I think I've read it about ten times now, and I think it's great.
I enjoyed experiencing San Francisco of the 1920's. Descriptions of China Town and the class system therein prompts comparisons to Jim Crow in the South. I love the Dashiell Hammet character. Slipping in popular characters of the time helps me to set the stage and sends me to Google for research. And as always, I keep my dictionary by my side when I read Ms. King's books. Love the arcane vocabulary.
The lesson learned here is that a bored Sherlock Holmes can be annoying. Nice book.
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I really enjoyed the audio book.
us girls love him too ya know.