An Odd1's Reviews > Locked Rooms

Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King
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's review
Feb 24, 2012

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bookshelves: mystery
Read from January 18 to February 24, 2012

"Locked Rooms" (MR8) by Laurie King is the third of recurring nightmares provoked by Mary Russell's return to childhood home in San Francisco. Two turn out to be memories. The last is symbolic of subconscious truths she refuses to acknowledge. I do not credit nightly brain synapses synchronizing with undue significance. Despite the annoying phony prophetic start, I'm drawn in by the plot thickening, and the author's talent for engaging. Better than psyche focus is the sense of real (not dry research) quake victims and Chinese immigrants on 1906 west coast. Finding multiple murders in the past, then another present attempt force Mary toward the true cause of her family's fatal accident. While she's distracted internally, Mary's husband Sherlock Holmes enlists tubercular Dashiel Hammett, lured from employment of suspicious Southern-sounding woman seen also in India near-miss falling balcony.

Sortof Spoilers:
Mary's psychiatrist Dr Ginzberg, and family's servant Chinese couple, Mai and Mah Long, were murdered right after she was sent to England. I guessed long ago, so not spoiler, the car accident that killed her family was murder too. The final total 7+ victims seems more attributable to a madman than the careless greedy father we finally meet. But real human motivations can be complex.
While the city burned in 1906 quake disaster, some dangerous activity by her father sent them fleeing to England, and separated from the Longs. The surviving Long adopted son Tom lunges between Mary and a gunshot. When flapper friends make martinis, I checked out cocktail possible origin, 1850s San Fran, recipe first published in 1887. 3.1
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Reading Progress

01/18/2012 page 10
2.0% "Prologue = 3 dreams = triple boring, slow, everyone has nightmares of more or less relevance to their realities. If life were determined by horoscopes and fortune cookies, why bother making choices?"
01/18/2012 page 171
41.0% "In San Fran quake & fire, close Chinaman did mystery task, her mum suddenly left country, dad changed will to forbid strangers in house and visited England. After family died, her doctor and Chinese servants murdered. Their son saves Mary from gunshot. Dashiel Hammett follows Holmeses. Plot thickens intriguingly. Yay."
100.0% "Externals plus; internals negative. Title subconscious dreams suck. San Fran quake time and enlisting Dashiel Hammett terrific."

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