Locked Rooms

Locked Rooms

A Mary Russell Novel

Book - 2005
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, c2005
ISBN: 9780553801972
Characteristics: 402 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 22, 2018

As Russell and Holmes approach San Francisco after their India adventures in "The Game," she finds herself more and more apprehensive. Three nightmares alternate, making no rational sense. And Mary needs logic above all. Holmes becomes concerned at her unwillingness to face her fears. The ostensible reason for this visit to San Francisco is to clear up the terms of her father's will, sell the family home and investments. Her feet take her to the house she hadn't remembered. The will prohibited any but family but entering the grounds, let alone the house. It's a mess, but there are footprints in the dust. Who's been there? Why? These questions become more urgent when Mary's shot at, missed only when the son of former servants knocks her out of the way. This book is among the best in the series, showing the personal relationship between the couple rather than the two of them solving a political puzzle. Earlier novels have referred to her parents' and brother's deaths in an accident. Mary believed this was her fault because she was goading her brother and distracting their father. Holmes and Dashiel Hammett prove the cause was murder, releasing Mary from several locked rooms of her mind, and absolving her of the guilt she's carried for years. A splendid page turner.

rb3221 Oct 21, 2017

Mary's past and her vulnerability is the focus of this novel as she tries to unlock the mysteries of her childhood when her family died (or was it murder?) when she was only 7. The excellent historical detail about the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 gives the novel a real depth. An interesting and enjoyable technique is the changing point of view from Holmes to Russel as the novel proceeds. The story occasionally dragged on but overall it was a satisfying read.

PimaLib_ChristineR Mar 14, 2017

While the series had had its ups and downs, I find myself again saying this may be the best yet. There is not a single misstep in this wonderful mystery. The history of the San Francisco earthquake and its aftermath is fascinating and King's insertion of Dashiel Hammett as a character is both brilliant and wonderfully written. I can just imagine him doing all that has been written here.

The split narrative was well used as was the landscape of the city. This could easily be read alone but reading the previous novels in the series helps to give Mary's blind spot some context and the conclusion added depth.

Oct 17, 2016

I love the Mary Russell/ Sherlock Holmes series, and I really loved this installment. Unlike "The Moor" or "The Game" where she and Holmes spend much of their investigations apart, in this story they are working together and you get to see a more tender side of Holmes who is trying to help his wife deal with past trauma, and also to stop blaming herself for the tragic death of her family. He knows that she eventually would go back to San Francisco to face what happened and has been anticipating this for years. Fantastic mystery, fantastic story, fantastic series!

Nov 20, 2014

Excessively suspenseful. I simply could not put down this book. In the previous installments, you are only aware of the automobile crash in her past, but now her past is exposed, revealing the true nature of her family's untimely deaths...

Oct 08, 2012

Another great instalment in this series. We finally learn about Mary's childhood in San Francisco & what really happened to her family.

Feb 27, 2010

All of this series of books by Laurie R King are excellent. Try to read them in the correct order if possible.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CALS

To Top