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Mr. Holmes

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  3,563 ratings  ·  612 reviews
It is 1947, and the long-retired Sherlock Holmes lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse with his housekeeper and her young son. He tends to his bees, writes in his journal, and grapples with the diminishing powers of his mind.

But in the twilight of his life, as people continue to look to him for answers, Holmes revisits a case that may provide him with answers of his own to qu
Paperback, 253 pages
Published June 4th 2015 by Canongate (first published 2005)
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Krishna The original novel is "A Slight Trick of the Mind", by the American writer Mitch Cullin.…moreThe original novel is "A Slight Trick of the Mind", by the American writer Mitch Cullin.(less)

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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  3,563 ratings  ·  612 reviews

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J.K. Grice
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
In A SLIGHT TRICK OF THE MIND, we are treated to the premise that Sherlock Holmes was an actual living historical figure. The year is 1947 and the famous detective is 93. Holmes lives in a Sussex farm house and has spent decades in content isolation, tending to his gardens and his apiary. His housekeeper, Mrs. Munro, and her son Roger are his only companions, living in a cottage adjacent to the main house. At this advanced age, Holmes walks with two canes, but his mind is still quite sharp. Howe ...more
Will Biby
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To start, this is not a mystery story. It is a character study of Holmes as a human not the figure/trope of Conan-Doyle. As an exploration into the inner monologue of an aging introspective celebrity, it's beautiful. I found it moving and incredibly sad...a slice of life, a peek behind the curtain. ...more
I am truly at a loss as to how to describe this book. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle meets Akira Kurosawa is probably the best description. But even that really doesn't begin to touch it.

In "A Slight Trick of the Mind", Sherlock Holmes is 93 and his memory is failing.

The book doesn't so much have a plot as an obsession with death... and bees.

The narrative flits between Sherlock Holmes at home in Sussex, his recent trip to post- WWII Japan, and events of 1902 involving a married woman that he is mildly i
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
any book about Sherlock Holmes absolutely I'm gonna read it ...more
Leah Lucci
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is set after WWII. Sherlock Holmes is in his 90s and suffering from Alzheimers and frailty. He lives with his maid, her young son, and his large collection of bees.

When the story starts, he has just returned from his trip to Japan.

There are three layers to this tale:

1) The present, in which Sherlock is back in England with his maid, her son, and the bees.

2) The recent past, in which Sherlock and his Japanese companion wander around Japan in search of "prickly ash," some sort of plan
Kayla Michelle
My first impression, upon finishing "A Slight Trick of the Mind," was "good heavens, that was terrible." I came to review the novel, fully prepared to give it a sound thrashing and a measly one star rating.

While drafting my review, however, I realized that I made a mistake that colored my reading. I assumed that this Sherlock Holmes would be familiar to me. I've read all the stories, seen all the film and television adaptations. But this version of Holmes is not the detective I know - a brillia
#24 of 2021

I really really wanted to love this book and therefore give it a higher rating since Sherlock is a beloved literary favourite.

But I couldn't.

There were times when I struggled through, wishing I can just finish it.
Some passages were lovely and almost beautiful in a certain sense.
The writing is superb, definitely.

All in all, I liked it enough for 3 reluctant stars.
I read this book for two reasons: I greatly enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories, and I heard that this story is going to be made into a movie starring Ian McKellen as Holmes.

This story is mainly set 1947, in a cottage on the Southern slope of the Sussex Downs. There are two other stories also presented, that take place in the form of flashbacks - one set in post-WWII Japan, and one titled ‘The Glass Armonicist’, that took place when Holmes was still in his prime. Aside from ‘The Glass Armonicist’, th
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unless it's about James Bond, my husband and I rarely go to a movie. But when I learned of the recently released Mr. Holmes starring wonderful actor Ian McKellen, I put it on my must-see list immediately. Not long afterward, I discovered this book, which is the basis for the movie - and in my rarely broken rule of book before movie, I got my hands on a copy. Now that I've finished with it, I'm doubly determined to see the movie and Mr. McKellen's performance - what a plum role this must be!

Ruthie Jones
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
A Slight Trick of the Mind is a slow, delicate story that offers a plausible glimpse into the twilight years of one of fiction's greatest detectives. This book is neither a fast mover nor filled with unceasing action. With that said, this story has many interesting elements.

There are actually three stories going on here: a present story, a memory, and a written account of a past investigation. All three stories are intertwined and bittersweet.

The unassuming homage to a famous work of fiction by
Charles Prepolec
I've had this sitting on the shelf since its release in 2005, but decided I'd best read it before the film opens. It's a beautifully written, ultimately sad and reflective piece of work that attempts to breathe a certain degree of depth into the character of a rather elderly Sherlock Holmes dealing with age and memory loss. It's certainly a very 'original' take on Holmes, fairly engaging, which is down to the lovely writing style more than the story, but on completion I found myself wondering ab ...more
Richard Mansel
I wanted to like this book but it was difficult to force myself through it. Like so many others, I truly love Sherlock Holmes and have for almost my entire life. The current show with Cumberbatch has been so enjoyable because it's respectful & of great quality. This book, on the other hand, portrays him as practically a non-human who can't exist out of his hive. That's just too much for me to accept. ...more
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
I just knew I would like this book and would have to read it before I saw the movie. It was a bit deeper than I expected but that was a pleasant gift. I love it when a book makes a connection with me and makes me think. Mich Cullin's take on Sherlock has done that.

Have you ever met someone or gotten to know them and wish that you had known them in their early life...They are so interesting and inspiring! Well, we all knew Sherlock Holmes when he was a young man. He has been created into many dif
Caidyn (he/him/his)
What do I want to say about this book?

Well, a number of different things, really. I have a lot to say, yet my mind won't wrap around how exactly to say them, how to express the minutiae details that impacted and drove the plot in subtle ways.

There are four different plots in this. First, the relationship between an old man and a young boy. Second, a remembrance of a trip to Japan and of the man who took him around. Third, a case he had taken years ago that made a lasting impact on him. And, four
Charles Berman
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In outline it sounds almost like a joke, or something deliberately bizarre: a ninety-three-year-old Sherlock Holmes travels to Japan. Instead, this is a very sad, wistful novel that examines at many angles and with emotional complexity the loneliness and alienation of Holmes' life and the guards he has constructed to keep himself from being consumed by them.

Mitch Cullin's prose is excellent and the novel is quietly structured quite exquisitely, with three storyline unraveling very comfortably n
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
A great premise, poorly written and executed. The transitions between the three cases were clunky, and the cases themselves were uninteresting. The movie Mr. Holmes is much better.
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any Sherlock Holmes fan
Wow. I was not prepared to be swept away by this book. Yet after talks about the upcoming movie starring Ian McKellen, I decided to give it a try, still expecting nothing more than some Dumbledore-ish TED talks. At the very best, that is. (Worst case scenarios I’d made up involved someone like my late grandfather singing “I Did It My Way”, esp. after rumours that the new movie will address Holmes’s personal life, children, grandchildren, and other fai...achievements, that is.) Boy, was I prepare ...more
Renita D'Silva
A wonderfully imagined, brilliant tale
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tracked this down when I read that Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) was going to film it with Sir Ian McKellen in the lead role. There are startling similarities between the two projects: Again, we have a curmudgeonly old man in his dotage, presided over by an irascible housekeeper, with a pretty blue-eyed teenage boy flitting about.

This is one of the more intriguing aspects of Mitch Cullin’s book, as he paints a very delicate picture of the affection (love?) that Sherlock Holmes has for Roger,
Katy Noyes
3.5 stars

The idea intrigued me - a fictional character returned to in old age. We've had Young Sherlock Holmes, a Disney mouse version, a modern BBC-adaptation Sherlock, and now we see the great man as a failing old man.

Saying that, he's still got it... But just not all of the time. This tells several stories at once (which didn't work brilliantly well for me on audiobook, though I loved the narrator), of the required 'how did they do that?' case, his home life as an old man and a little mystery
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is, in a way, a homage to the Sherlock Holmes books the way Tilting at Windmills was an homage to Don Quixote. But this one goes further beyond the character's original portrayal while still remaining recognizably the same one. Holmes is, in 1947, 92 years old, caring for his bees, as he is cared for by his housekeeper & admired by her son, who has, almost against Holmes's will, become something of a beekeeping apprentice for whom Holmes has come to care deeply. Holmes has also recently ret ...more
This book is well-written and will undoubtedly appeal to some people. It hasn't anything to do with Sherlock Holmes, though, so don't let that 'trick' you into reading it. There is no mystery, no actual plot and even if towards the end the ideas which the author wants to convey fall into some sort of place, still - any character could have been at the centre of this book - like, an original character, maybe? Holmes is used out of his element in this book, which is of course to his disadvantage, ...more
Laura Tolomei
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nostalgic and sad: I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan, and this book did him justice in a well written manner I found fascinating and enthralling. And that's the best praise I can write considering how misrepresented this popular character has been of late. ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Holmes is aging, but he does it in his own words, not those of Watson's. This is actually three mysteries rolled into one novel: a past, recent past and present conundrum. ...more
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the few times when the movie is better than the book!
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read2017
3.5 stars

Quite a good book, witnessing Sherlock Holmes as you never seen him before.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was rather disappointed by the book - I'd seen the movie with ian mckellen and liked it very much, but the book lacks some rythm - ...more
 Δx Δp ≥ ½ ħ

How many roads most a man walk down
Before you call him a man ?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand ?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea ?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free ?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't s
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is the story of how an elderly detective sought to attain a kind of ration of honey besides "royal jelly" in hopes of regaining a life of confidentiality of an unfinished biographical intellect of a younger woman who repudiated living in harsh conditions. Around the time he was recounting the task of for endeavor: the quest for japanese honey bees abstract called Prickly Ash. He had encountered a relationship with his housekeeper's son whose name was Roger, and taught he how to adapt to an ap ...more
Joshua Gross
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like old bee-keeping Sherlock Homes. I first read about him in Michael Chabon's The Final Solution, which I enjoyed greatly. Then recently we watched the movie Mr. Holmes and I enjoyed that and saw it was a book so I was excited to read it. Unfortunately I got it on audiobook, which I listen to while getting my walking in, and this was the type of book I wish I could have paid more attention to and had in print.

I loved the settings of the English countryside and post war Japan, the interesting
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Mitch Cullin is an American writer. He is the author of seven novels, and one short story collection. He currently resides in Arcadia, California and Tokyo, Japan with his partner and frequent collaborator Peter I. Chang. His books have been translated into over 10 languages.

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