Book Review: A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin


Author: Mitch Cullin
Title: A Slight Trick of the Mind
Publication Info: New York : Nan A. Talese, 2005.
ISBN: 0385513283

Summary/Review: Mitch Cullin takes the very familiar literary character of Sherlock Holmes and puts him in the seemingly unlikely setting of 1947 post-war England.  The aged Holmes is long-retired from detective work, tending to bees, writing his memoirs, and beginning to lose his mental faculties.  His only companions are his housekeeper and her bright son Roger of whom Holmes begins to take on as a protegé with even some paternal feelings.  Three stories are intertwined – Holmes life at his rural cottage and growing mentor ship to Roger, flashbacks to a  recent trip to Japan after the atomic bomb attacks where he went to collect botanical specimens, and a his own written account of a case and a woman who continue to haunt him.  This is a very different Holmes than ever presented by Conan Doyle yet fitting seamlessly into the oeuvre.  It’s a sad account of a very human side of Sherlock Holmes that is reminiscent of The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Recommended books: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro and Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett.
Rating: ****1/2

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