A Slight Trick of the Mind

A Slight Trick of the Mind

Book - 2005
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Mitch Cullin's absorbingA Slight Trick of the Mindis an original portrait of literature's most beloved detective, Sherlock Holmes, in the twilight of his illustrious life. Holmes--"a genius in whom scientific curiosity is raised to the status of heroic passion"--is famous for his powers of deduction. His world is made up of hard evidence and uncontestable facts, his observations and conclusions unsullied by personal feelings, until novelist Cullin goes behind the cold, unsentimental surface to reveal for the first time the inner world of an obsessively private man. It is 1947, and the long-retired Holmes, now 93, lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse, where his memories and intellect begin to go adrift. He lives with a housekeeper and her young son, Roger, whose patient, respectful demeanor stirs paternal affection in Holmes. Holmes has settled into the routine of tending his apiary, writing in journals, and grappling with the diminishing powers of his razor-sharp mind, when Roger comes upon a case hitherto unknown. It is that of a Mrs. Keller, the long-ago object of Holmes's deep--and never acknowledged--infatuation. As Mitch Cullin weaves together Holmes's hidden past, his poignant struggle to retain mental acuity, and his unlikely relationship with Roger, Holmes is transformed from the machine-like, mythic figure into an ordinary man, confronting and acquiescing to emotions he has resisted his entire life. This subtle and wise work is more than just a reimagining of a classic character. It is a profound meditation on faultiness of memory and how, as we grow older, the way we see the world is inevitably altered.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese, 2005.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385513289
Branch Call Number: F
Characteristics: xii, 253 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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LPL_IlkaI Nov 11, 2015

This interpretation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, is intriguing. He has aged, retired, and is living out his days as a beekeeper in Sussex. Yet, his mind appears to be failing him and it is a fact he does not want to be known. What remains unchanged for Holmes is the thrill of an unsolved mystery, thus, proving the game is never truly over.

Oct 09, 2015

Didn't finish. Believe I read it years ago. (About Holmes as a beekeeper).

Jul 04, 2015

What happens when a brilliant mind gets old and begins to fail? What happens when the power of reason is no longer fulfilling enough to mask the pain of loneliness? This quiet, introspective story of extreme old age features a frail but dignified Sherlock Holmes as a 93 year old, weighed down by grief, confusion and loneliness, pondering the meaning of his life and all lives.

Told in fragments that shift in time and place, the story makes the reader become a detective, piecing Holmes' memories together to find the deeper meaning of the story--a story that I found strangely mesmerizing and moving.

Aug 12, 2012

I did enjoy the character of the elder detective in this short novel, but am not sure it fits Sherlock Holmes. The story threads seem disjointed until the very end, which is fitting I suppose, but this novel just wasn't my cup of tea.


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