The Three Locks Reviews

More about The Three Locks

The Three Locks Book Cover‘MacBird’s series grows stronger with each book and she remains, in my opinion, the best and most faithful pastiche writer out there today – bar none.’

— Alistair Duncan, The Doylockian

Read the full review here.

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“The creation of new Sherlock Holmes stories is a longstanding and thriving cottage industry, with no signs of sluggishness either in print or on-screen. MacBird, an American who splits time between the U.S. and the United Kingdom, is one of its top-notch practitioners… MacBird has a gift for moving smoothly among the multiple plots, and her prose style is always evocative and respectful of the Victorian-era milieu. Her historical research sits lightly, and the characters of both major and minor players are never less than convincing.”

— Adam Woog, The Seattle Times 

Read the full review here.

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‘Vivid and exciting, this is a strongly written Holmes adventure that keeps the reader hooked from start to finish.’

— Emma Clarendon Love London Love Culture

Read the full review here.

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“Intriguing… MacBird artfully alternates among multiple plotlines, maximizing suspense. With its deep probe into the friendship between the detective and the doctor, this is a good choice for fans of… Sherlock Holmes.”  

— Publishers Weekly

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 “MacBird’s novels are a gem.”

— C. P. Lesley, New Books Network

Hear the interview here.

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‘This wasn’t just a good book – it was a fabulous book… this was definitely a five star read for me. If you love Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, this is a sympathetic, warm and respectful pastiche by an author who seems to love them very much. Even if you haven’t read the originals, there is lots for you to enjoy here and I urge you to dive in. Highly recommended!’

— The Quick and the Read book blog

Read the full review here.

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The Three Locks is the fourth in MacBird’s Sherlock series, but can be read as a stand-alone. She puts her own spin on the classic characters and she brings the era to life well…. I admit that I enjoy most Sherlock adaptations, but this series is one of the best, in my opinion.”

— Carol’s Notebook

Read the full review here.

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*****FIVE STAR*****
‘Fast paced, full of intrigue and a pleasure to read the adventure with true Sherlock essence – highly recommended.’

— Too Many Books Never Enough Time blog

Read the full review here.

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“There is murder, romance, family secrets, insanity, scientific discovery, greed, confusion, misplaced loyalties, and a plethora of clues and misdirection… thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing.”

— Gayle Surrette, Gumshoe Review

Read the full review here.

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 “The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird hit all the right notes for me and may be one of my favorite reads of 2021 so far. ”

— Lauren Stoolfire, Always Me Blog

Read the full review here.

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The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird is a welcome addition to the ever growing canon of Sherlock Holmes stories. A deftly crafted and inherently fascinating read, The Three Locks is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to all community library Mystery/Suspense collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated Sherlock Holmes fans that The Three Locks is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99).”

— The Midwest Book Review:  June 2021

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“The Three Locks, by Bonnie MacBird (London: Collins Crime Club, 2021; 412 pp., $26.99), is the fourth in her series of pastiches, and a prequel, set in 1887 and involving Holmes and Watson with stage magicians in London and with students and dons at Cambridge; it’s nicely done, and a welcome addition to the series.  The story is told with style and surprises, and there is a personal mystery for Watson.   Her web-site www.macbird.com has interesting and colorful annotations for all of the books.”

— Peter Blau, The Baker Street Irregulars 

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Book review: Bonnie MacBird’s The Three Locks

June 22nd, 2021 by Ardy The Shakespearean Ukelele

Having read and enjoyed Bonnie MacBird’s previous Holmes pastiches, I was excited to have this one arrive on my doorstep – and I wasn’t disappointed. I feel like MacBird gets more sure-footed with every book on many levels.
First off, there are not one, but three mysteries in this book: an intrigue between rival magicians; a young woman’s toying with several young men, and a mysterious box that arrives in Baker Street bearing Dr. Watson’s name and little else, and proves impossible to open even by the most determined (and devious) locksmith London has to offer. They link stage magic, romantic intrigues, and a glance into Dr. Watson’s personal past. An ambitious construction, for sure – but one which works and pays off beautifully and very movingly in the book’s final moments. The plethora of settings, from dressing rooms to Cambridge colleges to the seedy underworld inhabited by Holmes’ less-than-savoury associates, is well rendered such that I found myself wanting to spend more time in the various locations looking behind the curtains.

Just as in the previous books, there is no shortage of colourful characters here. The ones I enjoyed most personally were the larger-than-life stage magician Madame Borelli, who designs all her husband’s tricks and is done with never getting proper recognition and, at the polar opposite of the colour spectrum, Deacon Buttons – a character who blends into the wallpaper a little bit too much for the ears of an experienced mystery reader to not prick up and wonder what the story is there.

The greatest enjoyment in following this series has been seeing MacBird become more and more comfortable with writing Holmes and Watson’s relationship both professional and domestic. Being, as many Holmesians, a person who loves a good mystery any day of the week but reaches for a Holmes pastiche for the “Three Garridebs moments”, I definitely got my money’s worth. From moments of comedy such as Holmes’ “wet shirt moment” towards the beginning, over them saving each other when in peril, to understated expressions of what is doubtlessly deeply held affection towards the end, their partnership feels real and solid.

What set this book apart from the others for me is how serious it is in its treatment of the social themes. It has a lot to say about class and about the position of women in Victorian society. Especially Odelia Wyndham, the young lady with all the beaus, is a highly complex character about whom I could write a whole post on this blog alone, but that’s for another time. Let me instead recommend you meet the young lady herself. 

If you enjoyed the other pastiches by Bonnie Macbird, you’re going to enjoy this one as well, but the books all stand up alone, so you can also dive straight in here if you feel like it. If you like your pastiches with social conscience, a dash of action, and a whole lot of heart, this is the book for you.

The Three Locks is published by Collins Crime Club. Find it at your local independent bookshop!

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