BONUS: This edition contains excerpts from Laurie R. King's The God of the Hive and Pirate King.
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.
In her last outing, The Game (2004), Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, traveled to India on a case of geopolitical significance, but in the richly imagined eighth novel in this acclaimed series, set in San Francisco in 1922, Russell undertakes a far more personal investigation. Since she began her journey back to her hometown-ostensibly to deal with her father's estate-Russell has been tormented by strange dreams, one of which involves the "locked rooms" of the title, and the sight of her San Francisco childhood home opens a flood of memories and emotions, most of which she's loathe to allow into her ber-rational mind. When someone takes a shot at her, Holmes enlists the help of Pinkerton agent Dashiell Hammett and Russell tries to unlock her past, in particular the "accident" that killed her family and left her an orphan in 1914. King's re-creation of San Francisco, especially the backstory during the devastating 1906 earthquake, is superb, and it's a pleasure to see the unusually competent Russell struggling with her own psyche. The plot may be a bit thin, but the narrative has real momentum, the characters are engaging and the prose, as always, is intelligent, evocative and graceful. Agent, Linda Allen. (June 21) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 21, 2005
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Excerpt from Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King
Japan had been freezing, the wind that sliced through its famous cherry trees scattering flakes of ice in place of spring blossoms. We had set down there for nearly three weeks, after a peremptory telegram from its emperor had reached us in Hong Kong; people kept insisting that the countryside would be lovely in May.
The greatest benefit of those three weeks had been the cessation of the dreams that had plagued me on the voyage from Bombay. I slept well--warily at first, then with the slow relaxation of defences. Whatever their cause, the dreams had gone.
But twelve hours after raising anchor in Tokyo, I was jerked from a deep sleep by flying objects in my mind.
Three days out from the island nation, the rain stopped and a weak sun broke intermittently through the grey. The cold meant that most of the passengers, after venturing out for a brief turn on the decks, settled in along the windows on the ship's exposed side like so many somnolent cats. I, however, begged a travelling-rug from the purser and found a deck-chair out of the wind. There, wrapped to my chin with a hat tugged down over my close-cropped hair, I dozed.
Halfway through the afternoon, Holmes appeared with a cup of hot coffee. Actually, it was little more than tepid and half the liquid resided in the saucer; nonetheless, I sat up and disentangled one arm to receive it, then freed the other arm so that I could pour the saucer's contents back into the cup. Holmes perched on a nearby chair, taking out his pipe and tobacco pouch.
"The Captain tells me that we are making good time," he commented.
"I'm glad the storm blew itself out," I replied. "I might actually be able to face the dinner table tonight." Something about the angle of the wind the past days had made the perpetual pitch and toss of the boat even more quease-inducing than usual.
"You haven't eaten anything in three days." Holmes disapproved of my weak stomach.
"Rice," I objected. "And tea."
"Or slept," he added, snapping his wind-proof lighter into life and holding it over the bowl of his pipe.