Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin

Mitch Cullin's A Slight Trick of the Mind was a surprising read for me.  I had never heard of this novel until I picked it up at a bargain bin.  (I have found many good reads this way.)  It is a quick read, but quite the story.  

We all know that Sherlock Holmes was not a "real" person, yet a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inspired by many people Doyle knew in his lifetime.  In Cullin's novel he brings Holmes to life, yet it is not the Holmes that fans have known in the past.  He isn't the young "Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonny Lee Miller" type.  The Holmes read about in this novel is a 90+ year old man, his twilight years.  A man who deals with memory loss, which he admits interferes with his famous deduction skills.  

This novel deals with Holmes and how he reflects on a personal issues from past and present which ultimately affects him as a person.  The reader at times hopes and prays for him to reach an emotional realization, as we all know he is famous for his calculating reasoning when it comes to dealing with issues of emotion, and all but absent of feeling and empathy.  

Sherlock becomes a mentor to a young child of age- his housekeepers son- Roger.  Roger has become intrigued with the bee apiary that Holmes has installed in the backyard.  This mutual love for the bees draws the older and younger together, and though there is not a "Loving" relationship from the older, there is as much that Holmes can give to the younger as he only knows show caring...teaching the boy how to care for the bees.  This relationship in my mind was sweet and yet tragic, it was the crux of the novel for me.  I think this is also the basis for the movie that will be released in June, which is titled, "Mr. Holmes."  Any amount of emotions that Holmes can possess is borne in this relationship with this child.

Secondly Holmes reflects on a recent trip to Japan to visit an acquaintance he has met through written correspondence, one Mr. Umezaki.  Holmes goes to Japan to visit this man, and stays in a home with Mr. Umzaki's mother and male "companion".  The biggest thing I found interesting about this trip is that Mr. Holmes receives a dead Bee in a glass vial which he takes home and gives to Roger.  There is much more written about his trip, visits to historical places, such as the site of the Hiroshima bombing.  This part of the book was not very interesting to me.

The third part of the book is about the memory kept in written journal form about a case he had in younger years.  This case involved a woman he was investigating for her husband (his client).  The melancholy woman had lost their child and was grieving in her own way, and for some reason the husband believed that she was having an affair.  What was reality about the woman, entranced Holmes,  and he experienced the closest thing to feeling of infatuation.  

The last part of the book deals with his reflections on death and how losing so many people in his life affected him.  The most interesting part is how he realizes his mind is not as sharp as it once was, his despair about this seems subtle, and logical reasoned, but I believe it brought him face to face with his own mortality.

I highly recommend this book to Holmes is well written and keeps to the original quirky personality of the man himself.  ****

The movie trailer:

buy the book :

No comments:

Post a Comment