A Slight Trick of the Mind

The German version of this review by Maike Duddek was first published in the 17th issue of
Bücherstadt Kurier’s quarterly online magazine.

Bittersweet: Memories as a journey

When in 2005 a new novel about Sherlock Holmes titled A Slight Trick of the Mind was published, the current Holmes-hype wasn’t even on the horizon. Which makes Mitch Cullin’s version of the aging detective fighting oblivion even more original, bittersweet and human.

Sussex after World War II: Sherlock Holmes devotedly looks after his beehives. There’s nothing else left for him to do. His former partner Watson died many years ago and his body and mind are starting to fail him. By now in his nineties one last case takes him to a Japan still traumatised by the recent war. At the same time he tries to put down in writing a last mystery dating back to his golden days, which awakens tender feelings in him. These two journeys become intertwinded with Holmes‘ life in England and his unusual relationship with Roger, his housekeeper’s enquiring son.

And questions hover above him like the Sword of Damocles: How reliable are his memories? And how does one deal with not being able to trust them any longer?

This touching, tragic subject is reflected in Mitch Cullin’s unobtrusive, quiet writing. Rich with hints and deception it depicts uncertainty, terror and speechlessness. The bee appears as a leitmotif at all levels and shows a fragile and human side of Holmes, something missing from most other books about Holmes.

If you are interested in seeing Holmes from a different angle, A Slight Trick of the Mind is the book for you. Just be aware that the detective has changed and invites you on a subtle but also nerve-wracking journey.

A Slight Trick of the Mind has already been published in 16 languages in 19 countries, with a film version starring Sir Ian McKellen hitting cinemas this year! (UK: 19 June, D: 24 December)

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