Mary Russell confronts her past abetted by Sherlock Holmes and Dash Hammett.
Three dreams keep repeating. First, books fly, objects smash and the sky burns. Next, a faceless man enters a soft white room and says, “Don’t be afraid, little girl.” Finally, a house contains a secret locked room to which Mary (The Game, 2004, etc.) holds the key. The dreams confuse Mary, but her husband Holmes believes they’re rooted in repressed memories of her San Francisco childhood during the great quake and fire. She insists she wasn’t even there at the time. Ten years have passed since an auto crash killed her parents and younger brother. Perhaps the need to settle the family estate now has brought on the dreams. Mary and Holmes have barely arrived in San Francisco when her family home is broken into and someone takes a shot at her. Moreover, they learn that within a few months of the car accident back in 1915, the family cook and gardener were murdered. So was the psychiatrist helping young Mary. Holmes hires sometime Pinkerton man Hammett to reexamine the accident site, and the three with some help from a passel of scamps and a venerable feng shui expert piece together what happened on the awful night in 1906.
A humdinger of a plot that deepens with each retelling of the dreams, plus pulsating descriptions of San Francisco’s tent cities, looters and flattened Chinatown in the quake’s aftermath.