Key Summarya copy of the three locks in hardback with a cup of tea and bar of chocolate next to it

Welcome to my review for The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for my spot on the blog tour. Thanks also to Harper Collins for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The Three Locks is a Sherlock Holmes and John Watson mystery. Out on 1st April in hardback and ebook format. This is the 4th book in MacBird’s popular Holmes and Watson series. This is my first experience of MacBird’s writing and I’m blown away by her take on the adventures of this famous crime fighting, mystery solving duo!

The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird Review

My Motivation

The MacBird series has been on my radar for a while. I’m usually very sceptical about anyone taking on a former artist’s work whether it’s books, music or film. For me, it’s very rare that a remake is as good (and rarer still, better) than the original. Hearing though that MacBird does Sherlock stories well, spurred me into putting myself forward for this tour. And I’m not disappointed! I truly enjoy MacBird’s take on the Conan Doyle style. She is faithful to their characters and historical setting, and the mysteries she conjures up are puzzling perfection.


The story opens in London during a sweltering Indian summer with Watson wondering why he’s not seen Sherlock for a while. It’s not long though before Holmes and Watson have not one, but three mysteries to solve. Watson receives a small, silver locked box, which a locksmith offers to open in exchange for an unusual fee. This is a very personal storyline to Watson and allows the reader to know more about his childhood. Another mystery sees an Italian escape artist who dies during a performance on stage at a music hall. He is immolated in a cauldron which his wife designed. The third mystery is away from London, in Cambridge. A beautiful woman is found drowned, her long blonde hair tangled in the Jesus Lock on the River Cam. The daughter of a Don she has several suitors… or should that be suspects?

Writing Style

I love how faithful MacBird is to both the characters and the time period. It truly feels as though all the details are accurate. The style is also very good, the mysteries are gripping and there are lots of red herrings so each time you think you’ve got a handle on the solution you find yourself re-thinking it entirely! That is one of the things I love best about the original mysteries. I also enjoy the aspect of finding out more about secrets from Watson’s life and how the theme of secrets (and the proce of keeping them) run through the story. MacBird has done a brilliant job of sending Holmes and Watson bouncing between London and Cambridge to solve 3 perplexing cases and without confusing or loosing the reader. A triumph! I’m definitely going to read her previous books.

Do check out the other stops on this blog tour, see poster below for details:

a blog tour poster for the three locks featuring dates and blog names

The Three Locks by Bonnie MacBird Cover Blurb

The Three Locks – a gripping new Sherlock Holmes adventure by Bonnie MacBird – is published by Collins Crime Club, an imprint of HarperCollins, on 18 March 2021.  It is the fourth in her acclaimed series.

The year is 1887 and an Indian Summer broils London and Cambridge. A mysterious impregnable box arrives for Watson, locked and with a secret from his past. Then a famous escape artist/conjurer fails to unlock his “cauldron” and burns to a crisp during a performance at Wilton’s Music Hall.  And in Cambridge, three suitors including a priest, an aristocrat and a young physicist vie for the love of a spiteful beauty, who vanishes after her lookalike doll is found dismembered in the Jesus Lock on the River Cam. The cases convolve as Holmes and Watson tangle with clergy, police, academics and scheming siblings, risking life and limb to solve the murders and to keep the innocent from the gallows.

MacBird’s stylish updates to Conan Doyle’s canon bring all the wit, camaraderie and deductions one expects from Holmes and Watson, but with the extended arc of a novel allowing not only more character development but also action, which carries them far beyond the locked room mystery and into danger.

Each of MacBird’s four Holmes books explores a theme. Just as Art in the Blood revealed the perils and gifts of the artistic temperament, Unquiet Spirits uncovered the danger of letting ghosts of the past lie unresolved, and The Devil’s Due touched upon the cost of corruption, The Three Locks examines the risk of keeping dark secrets locked away.

Meticulous research and attention to period detail enrich the reading experience. The Three Locks is a must-read for fans of the original Sherlock Holmes adventures and for readers new to the genre.

a photograph of author Bonnie MacBirdAbout Author Bonnie MacBird

Bonnie MacBird was born and raised in San Francisco and fell in love with Sherlock Holmes by reading the canon at age ten. She now lives in London and Lost Angeles. Her long Hollywood career includes feature film development at Universal, the original screenplay for the movie TRON, three Emmy Awards for documentary writing and producing, numerous produced plays and musicals, and theatre credits as an actor and director. In addition to her work in entertainment, Bonnie teaches writing at UCLA Extension, as well as being an accomplished watercolourist.

She is active in the Sherlockian community in both the UK and the US, and lectures regularly on Sherlock Holmes, writing, and creativity.

Bonnie’s previous three Sherlock Holmes adventures are: Art in the Blood; Unquiet Spirits and The Devil’s Due. Her books are now available in 17 languages worldwide.

For further information about Bonnie MacBird visit:

Twitter: @macbird / Instagram: bmacbird

Facebook: SherlockHolmesAdventureSeries

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