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Publisher's Summary

A heatwave melts London as Holmes and Watson are called to action in this new Sherlock Holmes adventure by Bonnie MacBird. 

In the West End, a renowned Italian escape artist dies spectacularly on stage during a performance - immolated in a gleaming copper cauldron of his wife’s design. 

In Cambridge, the runaway daughter of a famous don is found drowned, her long blonde hair tangled in the Jesus Lock on the River Cam. And in Baker Street, a mysterious locksmith exacts an unusual price to open a small silver box sent to Watson.   

From the glow of London’s theatre district to the buzzing Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge where physicists explore the edges of the new science of electricity, Holmes and Watson race between the two cities to solve the murders, encountering prevaricating prestidigitators, philandering physicists and murderous mentalists, all the while unlocking secrets which may be best left undisclosed. And one, in particular, is very close to home.  

©2021 Bonnie MacBird (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

“Bonnie MacBird’s The Three Locks satisfies a hunger for more adventures of Holmes and Watson on so many levels. Not only does she perfectly capture their voices, she captures that most critical element - their humanity. Brava!” (Leslie S. Klinger, editor, New Annotated Sherlock Holmes)

"The parade of Sherlockian pastiches testifies to the potent and lasting genius of Conan Doyle’s creation. Yet few such homages offer the twenty-first-century reader Victorian atmosphere and drama like Bonnie MacBird’s. The rivalry and frustrations that color the partnership of Holmes and Watson, their James Bond-style adventures and escapes, the great man’s ego and eccentricities, Watson’s catty wit - all are here, in the vivid atmosphere of an unusually hot London summer. MacBird’s sly plot and admirable sense of pacing keeps the story twisting and turning in a way that would have kept Doyle himself turning the pages." (Michael Sims, author of Edgar finalist Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes)

"Though stage magic features in The Three Locks, the real magician is author Bonnie MacBird, who once again brings humour, action, rigorous period detail and the characters we love to her latest Holmes adventure." (Dennis Palumbo, author of the Daniel Rinaldi series, Writing from the Inside Out)

What listeners say about The Three Locks

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  • CR
  • 04-27-21

A little modern, but enjoyable

This is much more BBC / Cumberbatch Sherlock than Conan Doyle Sherlock despite the Victorian setting. Since I very much enjoy both of those incarnations of Holmes, that's fine by me, but it's worth noting because if you're expecting classic Sherlock the characters will seem off. Historical accuracy and atmosphere is also not too strong with there being much about the story, characters, actions and viewpoints contained within that are very modern, including at least one part of the final reveal that is really such a tired cliché in modern times that you saw it coming miles away. That part was a bit of an eye roll, but those quibbles aside, this was otherwise an enjoyable story.

The characterization and relationship between Holmes and Watson in this (once I had the right version of Holmes and Watson in mind) was highly enjoyable and the interweaving of the two cases involved kept things interesting and well paced. I enjoy a spot of well done peril in a mystery story and this one managed to include a nice bit near the end in a highly believable way.

The previous books in this series suffer more heavily from feeling too modern and a general lack of accuracy / understanding of Victorian England. I'm glad I read this one first as some of its predecessors would have put me off, but I did enjoy this book and did not find that I suffered any confusion by having read it out of order from the others.

3 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable story and narrator

I have enjoyed the series so far. The stories and narrator are good. I will watch for more.

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Could be written by Arthur Canon Doyle himself

As far as this amateur can tell, McBird writes very much as Doyle did. She does an excellent job of mimicking his grammar, vocabulary, style, and creativity. It is obvious that she has worked very hard to be this accurate. Well done! I enjoyed this 4th book very much, the best so far, I think.

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Outstanding entertainment.

Bonnie MacBird consistently delivers engaging characters and story lines which entertain and keep me engaged. Darwen’s performance is masterful. The Three Locks was another delightful page turner.

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Intriguing but somewhat hard to follow

I was thrilled to purchase Bonnie MacBird's latest foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes. The story is over complicated, although quite intriguing. What troubled me about it the most is the fact that many of the characters were hard to like or cheer for. There were too many louts in the cast so to speak. However, there were touching moments when we could glimpse the "human" side of Holmes that is often overlooked in both the Canon and in fan-fiction. Overall, this book is a solid entry into the world of Holmes pastiche, despite the few flaws mentioned. Narrator Simon Darwen is excellent.

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  • "katrina1304"
  • 01-23-22

Not Sherlock Holmes!

I love the stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and so I was excited to listen to this book, but I was disappointed! The Holmes in this book is more like an ordinary man than the clever, skilled and remarkable man, making the gulf between Holmes and Watson much smaller which seemed odd. The story is okay, but it struggled to keep my attention. It is worth mentioning that the locked box that you hear about in the sample hardly comes into the story, except for a bit in the middle and at the end. If you want to hear a superb new Holmes story you must read The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz - there you’ll find the true Sherlock Holmes!

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  • Bartholomew
  • 07-18-21

Where is Sherlock Holmes?

Love this series of books by BM. I even enjoyed Simon Darwen’s narration - that is, until he tackles Holmes himself. This voice he gives to Holmes conjures nothing I have enjoyed about the character for so many decades. I’ve had to give up near the halfway mark, and will now order it in book form. At least that way I can get rid of the sixth form student’s squeaky, inappropriate voice, and conjure something more familiar and in-keeping with ACD’s creation - maybe Rathbone or Brett... Excellent book otherwise, though...

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  • spencear
  • 06-04-21

A puzzle too many

A three puzzle problem, which left me feeling underwhelmed. The interwoven stories are plotted well, although I could see the resolution of Dilly Wyndham story, coming a lock gate away. That adventure is also topped off with an old fashioned homophobic conclusion that I have not come across in many years. I could it coming and had no way of getting out of its offensive landing. The other main mystory, depicting intrigue in the world of stage magic felt hollow and unfinished. And finely a mystory that served to fill out some back story for John Watson felt overcomplicated. The voice work from Simon Darwen proved to be the saving grace as his performance moved the book along at a pace.

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  • "timhg"
  • 04-18-21

Good

I liked the story and would have given it five stars but the use of American words supposedly written by Watson annoyed me. Blocks describing distance in a city like London or Cambridge. Sidewalk instead of pavement. Americans are not stupid and they do not need words translated to US English. Watson would not have used “block” or “sidewalk”. Overall it is a good book.

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  • odickinson.
  • 04-08-21

Great addition to the Holmes culture

Great story, great series (honestly I prefer the others) but on the whole great.

the voice work fine. But Holmes himself could use a little more distinction to make it perfect.