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Locked Rooms

(Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #8)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  13,615 ratings  ·  885 reviews
Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes are back in Laurie R. King's highly acclaimed New York Times bestselling mystery series. And this time the first couple of detection pair up to unlock the buried memory of a shocking crime with the power to kill again-lost somewhere in Russell's own past.
After departing Bombay by ship, Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holm
Paperback, 488 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Bantam Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Josianne Fitzgerald Hi there. I looked for book group questions on, an excellent site for book clubs, and didn´t find any for this particular book, but it d…moreHi there. I looked for book group questions on, an excellent site for book clubs, and didn´t find any for this particular book, but it did have a link to Laurie R. King´s website. She doesn´t have discussion questions for this book either, but she has information about her research and the historical events that are featured in the book.

Here's a list of generic questions from you can use for any fiction book.

Hope that helps!(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
After the adventure in The Game, are Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes on a route to San Francisco to settle some legal affairs surrounding the inheritance of Mary's family's estate. But, Mary is having awful nightmares as the ship is closing in on San Francisco. Could the nightmares have something to do with the city and the horrible earthquake that devastated the city? But, as far as Mary knows her family not even there during the earthquake, or were they?

Mary has always lived with the guilt o
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-mystery
I cannot say enough good things about the Mary Russell series. I am a die-hard Sherlock Holmes fan and picked up the first book with trepidation - how could anyone do justice to the great detective? - but I was amazed. King not only honors Holmes, but deepens the character. Mary is a perfect counterpoint and complement and a brilliant, strong character in her own right. The historical detail and frankly, richness, of this series is astounding. In Locked Rooms, the couple travels to San Francisco ...more
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, crime-fiction

This episode in the Mary Russell series finds Russell and Holmes in San Francisco, where Russell is to attend to business related to her parents' estate. As Russell gets closer to San Francisco, she becomes increasingly disturbed by nightmares which appear to be linked to childhood events. Once the pair arrive, they naturally become embroiled in a mystery, which is resolved with the assistance of a band of Irregulars, including young crime fiction writer and former Pinkerton's detective, Dashiel
Caidyn (he/him/his)
CW: assassination attempt, murder, robbery/theft, and the severe 1906 earthquake

I swore that this one was going to be my favorite of the Mary Russell series based on the first part. I thought that it was going to overtake Justice Hall because it was so amazing and I loved how it was focusing on Mary's past. However, this is a weird one that decided to change perspectives. There are four parts to this book. Two are in Mary's perspective and two are from Sherlock's. If it had all been from Mary's
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I greatly enjoyed this, and decided to give this full marks. The series is basically Sherlock Holmes fanfic, with the great detective given a female romantic and professional partner. So many ways it could have gone wrong, but I never have felt King's creation Mary Russell was a Mary Sue--for all her capabilities she has had her vulnerabilities, and I think this installment is among the most personal and introspective of the books, and I loved that aspect. One thing I've enjoyed about the books ...more
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can’t get enough of these characters and their travels and exploits. I love how King weaves real life characters and fictional characters by other authors into her stories. I love her humor and her portrayal of her characters all wrapped around historical events and locations. San Francisco and the background of the 1906 earthquake and fires came to life in this story set in 1924.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, own, whodunit
Russell and Holmes have just finished their last escapade in India (The Game), when Russell is called to San Francisco to deal with matters relating to the estate of her late parents. Though Russell spent her early childhood there, she has not set foot in the city since she was fourteen, when the tragic accident that took the lives of her parents and brother occurred there. She is convinced that she will be able to handle the flood of memories and emotions the city brings back, but as she nears ...more
Feb 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My favorite one of the series. I absolutley loved finding out finally the story behind the accident that is mentioned about the whole series and explained completey. I found myself melancholy when this book ended because I wished to continue being a part Russell and Holmes day to day activities and banter.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sherlock Holmes is a character that who seems to continue to fascinate. Conan Doyle’s character having taken on almost mythical proportions has been responsible for the wide ranging Holmes pastiche that has grown up since Conan Doyle finished writing his Holmes stories. There are many writers out there who have continued to write Sherlock Holmes stories. For instance, there is ‘The young Sherlock Holmes’ series for children by Andrew Lane, a book called The Last Sherlock Holmes story by well-kno ...more
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I did not realize I was up this late, finishing this novel--which I suppose is the highest praise I can give. It's a stay up until 2am to finish novel. ...more
Jun 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the characters, and the setting. Some of the narrative choices were infuriating, particularly how King would switch narrators, each time repeating half the story of the previous one, just from a different perspective. One step back, two steps forward. It is also not exactly a mystery, since everything is simply resolved as a rabbit out of a hat by a convenient letter. (Not only is the letter unconvincing—it reads exactly how King writes the rest of the story—but the resolution it gives ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book with many twists and turns!! Loved every minute of it. I can't wait to pick of the rest in the series. ...more
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'd give it 6 stars if I could. ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This book reminded me of Elizabeth Peters' "Amelia Peabody" series. Both series are supposedly the published journals of the heroine. The concept works well - until the author needs to cover events not witnessed by her. Both authors fix the problem by "discovering" accompanying notes by one of the other characters - and in both cases, there's only one possible candidate.

The trouble is that these "notes" are written in the third person, and it's as if the author forgets who's supposed to be the w
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
I’ve read a number of King’s books and loved them. I think she is running out of gas a bit. This is about Mary Russell, the 23 year old wife, of Sherlock Holmes. They are sailing around the world, and go to San Francisco to settle Russell’s estate. Her parents and brother were killed in a car crash when she was 7. She does a lot of description, like there are not too many ideas for the plot. A lot of it deals with the history of the San Francisco fire, earthquake, and structural inequality of th ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
(07/28/2017, editted to correct typo and add links.)

King's "found" further adventures of Sherlock Holmes seem to work better when, as here and in The Moor, she brings an historical person into the cast. Setting the tale in Roaring Twenties San Francisco allows King to explore new territory, as begun in the preceding The Game.

The broken narrative works, but maybe because King explained it.

Historical quibble: King posits America--or at least San Francisco--as having been swept up in war fever the
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Has it really been four years since I read the last Mary Russell book? It was great being back in her company. I enjoyed the book, though there was a zip missing, probably because Mary was unearthing some seriously deep shit from her past so wasn't her usual wit-slinging self. The alternating sections between first-person-Mary-POV and third-person-Holmes-POV threw me a bit. I don't think it was necessarily the Holmes POV itself, but that it wasn't consistent. It was usually Holmes, but the narra ...more
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
❂ Murder by Death
I thought this one would be my least favourite, but the story took off for me about halfway through, when the POV temporarily switched to Holmes. Ultimately an interesting story beyond the mystery itself.

Full review:
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Laurie R. King has done it again, for good and ill. Locked Rooms is once again a very satisfying read, exploring fascinating ideas on its way to tell an intriguing detective story. But once again, as in another title in the series, King has let racist epithets slip. And again there's no author's note to excuse the slurs as depicting the thought of the day, and not the thought of the modern author of these historical fictions.

I really wanted to give 4 stars to this one. As a native San Francisca
Amalie Simper
Loved this book. I came back to it after taking a break from this series and it was like visiting an old friend. This is book 8 in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series and with the exception of Book 1, 2 and 4, this book definitely ranks as one of my favorites. It is better written than several of the others. In this book they visit San Francisco to close up the accounts and sell the assets her family owned in the area at the untimely death of her family. Mary has not been to San Francisco si ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it
A good mystery, but I felt it would have been better if the book hadn't been so long. The pace dragged too often to really keep me interested. The only thing that kept me reading to the end was the premise of Russell's "locked rooms" memories of her childhood. I find the psychology of that subject very intersting. Overall though, shorten the book by 100 or so pages and i might have likeed it better.

I liked the idea of this series with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holme, so I plan to go back to the
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Another entertaining book on the adventures of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. After traveling to India and Japan, Mary and Sherlock check in on Mary's family home in San Francisco, where all sorts of mysteries need to be solved. What really happened to Mary's family? Who is responsible for their death? Who has been taking up residence at Mary's family home? Another fun and exciting adventure! ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy
This was one of the best Mary Russell books yet. Holmes and Mary find themselves in Mary's childhood city of San Francisco. Both try to get to the bottom of why Mary is repressing her childhood memories of the great earthquake and the tragedy that took her parents and little brother. It was good to get a peak into Mary's life before Holmes. ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read-2018
Read this 15 years ago. remember it being a little convoluted but enlightening for the insights and information regarding Mary's past. ...more
Bridgette Redman
Nov 20, 2011 rated it liked it
As any Laurie R. King fan will tell you, her books are always about something. The genre is merely the vehicle by which she explores her topic.

Want examples? In A Darker Place, she explores cults, religious communities, and the fine line between the two. In Folly, she delves into mental illness and depression. In To Play the Fool, her exposition reveals much about the tradition of fools throughout history. Monstrous Regiment of Women merges a look at mysticism and turn-of-the-century feminism.
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a book somewhat different than the previous ones.This is about Mary Russell cleaning up her past or coming to grips with her past. My only issue with this book is that it starts off very slowly and there is an introduction of people and circumstances that probably weren't needed. They could of going straight to San Francisco without all of the round the world this and that. However, once they landed in San Francisco, the pace of the book picked up considerably.

One of the things about th
Philip Jones
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
This eighth book by Ms. King in the Mary Russell series is set mostly in San Francisco. But actually, it takes place mostly in Mary Russell’s mind. It is an investigation of her past, both remembering things forgotten and detecting things unseen. The narrative is split into several separate sections; those narrated as seen by Mary and those narrated from Sherlock’s point of view. The parts shown from Sherlock’s viewpoint are among the most Sherlockian passages in the entire series, which is to s ...more
I've been reading this series roughly in chronological order and so far I've enjoyed them all, some more then others. This one hit a solid home run with me. It's a story written on several levels and it works on all of them.

First, there's the relationship between Mary and Holmes, and their individual personalities. They are the reason I read these books, and they shine through the entire story here. I love the way it alternates between their perspectives, but only switches a total of five times
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See similar books…
Edgar-winning mystery writer Laurie R. King writes series and standalone novels. Her official forum is
THE LRK VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB here on Goodreads--please join us for book-discussing fun.

King's 2018 novel, Island of the Mad, sees Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes travel from London's Bedlam to the glitter of Venice's Lido,where Young Things and the friends of Cole Porter pass Mussolini's Blackshi

Other books in the series

Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #1)
  • A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #2)
  • A Letter of Mary (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #3)
  • The Moor (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #4)
  • O Jerusalem (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #5)
  • Justice Hall (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #6)
  • The Game (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #7)
  • The Language of Bees (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #9)
  • The God of the Hive (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #10)
  • Pirate King (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #11)

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