Good day, my friends and fellow bookworms, today, as I continue to try to catch up on my review writing backlog, I am bringing you my shorter thoughts on the last two instalments from Laurie R. King’s long-running Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series that I have read.
First up we have the eighth mystery in the series, Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King, which was published in 2005. I finished this off near the end of August, last year, after thinking it was high time for another one of these because my last read from the series was The Game, that I enjoyed over the Christmas 2021 break.
This next mystery leads straight on from the end of the married duos’ Indian adventures in 1924, as they set sail from Japan to cross the Pacific to Mary’s childhood home of San Francisco, USA; where they hope to settle Mary’s family affairs. However the closer they get to the booming ‘City by the Bay’, Mary begins to be plagued with upsetting dreams of the 1906 earthquake, a faceless man, and a locked room of secrets; all surrounding the tragic death of her family.
To help, Mary tracks down the psychiatrist who helped her as a child after she miraculously survived the traumatic car crash that claimed the lives of both her parents and her brother. Only for the psychiatrist to be found murdered…it seems her past isn’t the only thing that is catching up with her and so the sleuthing duo set out to investigate: Many threads lead off from this and see the pair split their focus, then everything links back up at the end for a satisfying crescendo and big reveal.
Overall, I thought Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King was another cosy and nostalgic mystery, that I lightly tripped through and started to get me in the autumnal mood. There were perhaps a few too many threads to this one for me, however I did again love how King seamlessly weaves historical context into the mystery, including: the 1906 earthquake, Prohibition, flappers, and the dissolute youth of the period.
My Rating: Good ⭐⭐
Next up, we have the ninth mystery in the series, The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King, which was published in 2009. I read this over the Christmas 2022 break, just as I did The Game the previous year, while I visited family and stayed in a lovely old hotel on the south coast of England – this seems to be becoming a bit of a tradition.
In this next mystery, the delicious anticipation of Mary’s and her husband, Sherlock Holmes’s sweet homecoming to the Sussex Downs, after seven months abroad, is quickly tempered by the discovery of the bizarre death of one of Holmes’ precious hives. This ill omen is quickly followed by the arrival of a dark shadow from Holmes’ past: Damian Adler. Mary had met Damian only once before, but now the talented and troubled young man has returned to enlist their help in a desperate search for his missing wife and child.
Holmes and Damian leave immediately in the night, leaving Mary behind. Finally after many dull days alone, Mary thinks phooey to them and follows to join the dangerous investigation; that will lead them from suicides among the Standing Stones to a bizarre religious cult, and from the heart of Bohemian London to dark secrets on the streets of Shanghai. They will find themselves on the trail of a crazed killer more menacing than any they’ve ever faced – a killer that perhaps Holmes will unconsciously refuse to see.
Overall, I thought The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King was less cosy and nostalgic, and more thrilling than I am used to from this series. It was a hair-raising mystery full of secrets, disguises and many twists and turns; with the added, darker elements of 1920’s Avant Garde art, new-age religion, and fascination with ancient Neolithic monuments and practices.
My Rating: Good
(Books 6 & 9 for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2022)
Now I’d love to hear from you: Have you read either of these books or this author? Any recommendations for some great nostalgic mysteries I should check out next? Let me know in the comments below.
6 thoughts on “📖 Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King (2005) & The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King (2009) ⭐⭐”
I haven’t read either of these books, but they do sound good.
Hi Nikki, if you have a chance to read these books, I hope you will enjoy them. I am very much enjoying this series. 🙂
I’m glad these were both good reads, even if the second one was less cosy than you had expected. I’m hoping to continue with this series soon, but as I’m only up to the third book, it will be a long time before I reach these two!
Helen, yes you do have quite a way to go in the series before you will reach these two! I hope you find time to catch up – to be fair you are a much faster and more prolific reader than me. 😉
I’ve only read the first in this series. I enjoyed it, but sure have a lot of catching up to do if I want to continue! I also love when an author blends real life events into a fictional story in a convincing manner.
Kelly, you certainly do have a lot to read if you wish to catch up on this series. They are wonderful books for blending real life events and fictional mysteries together. 🙂