The Three Locks (A Sherlock Holmes Adventure 4)

Written by Bonnie Macbird
Review by K. M. Sandrick

Dr. John Watson receives an ornate silver box that was meant to be delivered to him on his 21st birthday but has been gathering dust in the attic of his father’s half-sister’s home for years. Sherlock Holmes is experimenting with escape artists’ tools of the trade and scientific methods of distraction. The pair is begged by a besotted deacon to find a young woman who has gone missing.

The Three Locks is fourth in the Sherlock Holmes Adventure Series, whose stories are purported to have come to author MacBird from chronicles of Holmes’s investigations Watson chose not to publish at the time he was writing for The Strand magazine. MacBird apologizes to readers for releasing a tale neither Holmes nor Watson may have wanted to see the light of day.

Unlike knock-off, copy-cat Holmes tales, The Three Locks is true to the Watson tradition, giving readers the feeling they are delving into an authentic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle narrative. Language mimics Doyle’s in timing and tempo, capturing Watson’s voice and observations, Holmes’s nervous and obsessive behavior, Mrs. Hudson’s studied impatience.

Plotlines are carefully drawn so that surprises, when they come, are nevertheless well grounded. Scientific explorations and discoveries of the time period both explain and entertain. Storylines intertwine and unveil, revealing in particular characteristics and motivations that define and drive Watson. A prequel to MacBird’s three other Holmes’ novels, The Three Locks is a treasure.