Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #8
Published by Bantam on June 21, 2005
Genres: Historical Mystery
Source: my personal collection
Also in this series: Dreaming Spies, The Murder of Mary Russell, Locked Rooms
Also by this author: Dreaming Spies, The Murder of Mary Russell, Locked Rooms
En route to San Francisco to settle her family’s estate, Mary Russell, in the company of husband Sherlock Holmes, falls prey to troubling dreams—and 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.
As much psychological novel as murder mystery, “Locked Rooms” alternates between first-person narrative by Mary Russell and third-person sections telling the parts of the story which Mary could not, at the time, have known. This is important, for Mary in this book is a most unreliable narrator, her memory not so much faulty as suppressed. The death of Mary’s family in 1914 and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake are the twin foci of investigation, though Mary seems unaware for much of the novel that there is, indeed, anything to investigate. As a historical mystery, it is engrossing; as a psychological exploration into memory (and into the character of Mary Russell), it’s fascinating.
[Note: This review was first published on Goodreads by The Bookwyrm’s Hoard.]