Tuesday, April 9, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: LOCKED ROOMS BY LAURIE R. KING (Book Review 004 by Lee Houston, Junior)

Bantam Books, 404 pages
There are many authors who have used the legendary Sherlock Holmes character to star in new mysteries, but Laurie R. King is one of the few that I have read who creates adventures worthy of the world's first consulting detective.

Her work is based (in part) upon the premise that Doctor Watson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his literary agent; aged Holmes for the original stories, fearing no one would believe that a man as young as Sherlock actually was when those adventures occurred could do the things he did.

Which leaves us with a Holmes in his mid-to-late 50s when he first meets King's original creation Mary Russell; a woman who can not only hold her own against Sherlock's intellect, but in time intrigues him in a way no woman has since Irene Adler.

Locked Rooms finds the intrepid, now married May-December couple sailing to San Francisco after their previous adventure (The Game) to settle the estate of Russell's family. However, one cannot be successful within their line of work without acquiring some enemies, and the danger from that is just the tip of the iceberg as they try to solve the mystery of who would break into a deserted house and what everything has to do with the repressed memories of Russell's childhood.

Locked Rooms is the eighth installment within the Russell-Holmes series. Alas, life and other events have kept me from finding and reading anything in this series since the second book (A Monstrous Regiment of Women), but I found it easy enough to fill in the gaps as I went along, although I will continue haunting my public library and (used) bookstores until I have had a chance to read the other volumes.

King is not afraid to use period word spellings, nor do her research. I found the San Francisco of this book to be quite believable, as well as the surprise guest star who shows up in Chapter 10 to help Holmes with the ensuing mystery, since Russell is at first overwhelmed by confronting her past. It should come as no surprise that Sherlock also establishes an American version of his Baker Street Irregulars, although what happens to them after the end of the book remains to be seen, since the next Russell-Holmes adventure (according to the preview at the end) starts with the duo back in Europe.

Overall, while some of the various post-Doyle adventures might conflict with one another on various points and timelines, Laurie R. King's work with Sherlock Holmes is well worth reading.


The Free Choice E-zine's Editor-In-Chief, when not working on his own novels and short stories, posts reviews of what he has been able to read in what he laughingly calls his "spare" time. The previous articles in this series, started in 2013, have featured The Intercept by Dick Wolf, The Lone Ranger: Vengeance! by Howard Hopkins, and the Monster Earth anthology by Various.

No comments: