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Publisher's Summary

He's 93-years-old, in retirement in Sussex, beginning to lose his memory, and subject to emotions he has resisted all his life. His name is Sherlock Holmes.

It's 1947, and the long-retired Holmes lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse with a housekeeper and her young son, Roger. Holmes has recently returned from war-torn Japan and settled into the routine of tending his apiary, writing in his journals, and grappling with the waning powers of his once razor-sharp mind. Then Roger secretly searches Holmes' private study and uncovers the case of Mrs. Keller, the long-ago object of the legendary sleuth's deep, and never acknowledged, infatuation.

As Cullin weaves together Holmes' hidden past, his poignant struggle to retain mental acuity, and his unlikely relationship with Roger, who stirs his paternal affection, a mythic figure is transformed into an ordinary man. At once an engrossing mystery and a gripping character study, A Slight Trick of the Mind is an affecting and original portrait of literature's most beloved detective in the twilight of his illustrious life.

©2005 Mitch Cullin (P)2005 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Winner, Fiction (Unabridged)

"An ambitious, beautifully written novel....This look at Holmes near his natural death is a delight and a deeply satisfying read." (Publishers Weekly)
"This is a lovely, tenderhearted book, full of reserve, good manners, elegance of feeling. It's what a novel should be. You don't read it to be "improved", but for the plain joy of seeing what the language can do in the hands of an affectionate, very accomplished writer." (The Washington Post)
"Under Cullin's sure hand, the vibrant, assured detective we know gives way to a man who looks back with regret at missed opportunities in a manner that makes the larger-than-life figure surprisingly human." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    87
  • 4 Stars
    105
  • 3 Stars
    91
  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    20

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    76
  • 4 Stars
    52
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    44
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    8
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A slight Trick of The Mind

This is a very good story with a different side to the Worlds Greatest Detective ! Mr. Holmes is Softer and more Human than ever before. Perfect for the Sherlock Holmes fan , there is a Movie now out based on this Book Mr. Holmes ! , a must see Movie as well , overall a must read for anyone who loves Holmes, will surprise you 🇬🇧

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Strange tale

Oddly enough, this is one time I will say that the movie worked better, though I have my quibbles with that as well. The book is essentially three tales, but they never overlap enough thematically to make a satisfying conclusion. The audio is beautifully performed, however, and kept me listening. A lesser performance would have had me abandoning this book before the end.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Walrus Rex
  • Grand Junction, CO United States
  • 06-29-15

Not the book you think it is

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This is a perfectly crommulent book, it's just not the book you probably think it is. If you are expecting a battle of wits between an aging Holmes and an evil archvillian, forget it. Although Holmes does solve a few minor mysteries, this book is about an imperfect though great aging man dealing with loss and regret.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Know Your Characters...

A shambling mess of a novel, it misunderstands its main character (Sherlock Holmes) and the construction of a mystery story. There's almost no purpose to the novel: Holmes travels to Japan and doesn't have an adventure with the child of a former client, doesn't have an adventure with the accidental death of his housekeeper's son and recalls a case that wasn't an adventure. The actual writing itself is just plain bad: overblown and rambling.

At the end of the book I was left wondering why the author bothered telling this story at all.

And the character of Sherlock Holmes is entirely misrepresented. And I don't mean taking liberties with a well-established character like the Sherlock TV series. I mean this novel simply doesn't understand who Sherlock Holmes is or the nature of his character, even as a 90+ year old man.

The narration is adequate. Often the rhythm of the narration is at odds with the written word and the narrator doesn't seem familiar with the material.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

No mystery and a labourious listen.

Would you try another book from Mitch Cullin and/or Simon Jones?

Mitch Cullin, No. Simon Jones, Yes.

What was most disappointing about Mitch Cullin’s story?

There was no intrigue, mystery or even interesting characters including Holmes himself.

Which character – as performed by Simon Jones – was your favorite?

The woman who played the Armonica.

Did A Slight Trick of the Mind inspire you to do anything?

Fall asleep several times.

Any additional comments?

The stories were simply narratives with little satisfaction at the end of their telling. It's a caricature of what the 1970's Holmes would have become.

Remove Holmes and retitle it, "Reflections of a dying old man" and it may be a better book, but the inclusion of Holmes leaves a reader/listener expecting something memorable and interesting.

The Author, Mitch Cullin has managed to strip nearly every enjoyable aspect of Holmes and left us with a rambling old imposter or character impersonator who thinks he was once Holmes.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Character Study of the Aged, Former Detective

What did you love best about A Slight Trick of the Mind?

I loved the way it studied, in a unique, new way, the main character - Sherlock Holmes.

What about Simon Jones’s performance did you like?

His vocal pacing was very good.

If you could rename A Slight Trick of the Mind, what would you call it?

The focused, yet imperfect mind, of an aging former detective.

Any additional comments?

A read for true Holmes fans, because they will appreciate the story without being disappointed that this is not a classic Holmseian mystery.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting Premise, Poor Delivery

What disappointed you about A Slight Trick of the Mind?

The premise of a Holmes getting senile is interesting. There are three stories and all of them are incomplete. That being so, I wonder why they were told in the first place. There are plenty of unanswered questions. Maybe this is to replicate Holmes' memory loss but, if so, why write this book. Mysteries need a conclusion and there isn't one here.

What could Mitch Cullin have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Bring something to conclusion - even Holmes' death in a relevant situation.

Which character – as performed by Simon Jones – was your favorite?

Holmes

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Some insight into memory loss, but not in this context.

Any additional comments?

When discussing all of his associates' deaths, it gets very depressing. Again, maybe realistic, but that's not what I read Sherlock Holmes for.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Nice Way to Remember Sherlock Holmes

Where does A Slight Trick of the Mind rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Slight Trick of the Mind?

Too many to mention

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I have been reading Sherlock Homes stories since I was a teenager - over 50 years ago. I still enjoy re-reading these tales. It was a nice change to read about Sherlock in his old age, still the spritely individual I have enjoyed forever.

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars
  • Fran
  • Silt, CO, United States
  • 04-04-08

excellent

truly an excellently written book....

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • hh
  • pdx United States
  • 08-11-06

many words, little substance

Mitch writes beautifully. The problem is that he seems to fall in love with his words while neglecting the story. The end result is a very genteel tale with piles and piles of lovely words that become forgettable shortly after you hit the STOP button on your DVD player. If you like being talked AT while sinking into an overstuffed chair at the Savoy during high tea, then this is for you. If you're looking for something to stimulate, look elsewhere.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful