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A Slight Trick of the Mind Audiobook

A Slight Trick of the Mind

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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

What the Critics Say

  • 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 Rating

3.6 (320 )
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4.2 (149 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Bill Kailua Kona, HI, United States 08-06-15
    Bill Kailua Kona, HI, United States 08-06-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unsatisfying"

    Sherlock Holmes remains a literary and box office powerhouse. Or, at least, that's the only reasonable explanation for the success of this book.

    On the other hand, Mitch Cullin's contribution to the Holmes canon is, sadly, forgettable.

    Cullin offers us a novel in three parts -- three story lines set in two different periods of Holmes' life. Three new glimpses into the life of Sherlock Holmes could be treasures. But here, they're not. None of these stories is even especially interesting or exciting or engaging.

    With Holmes, we expect a mystery to challenge and confound us. There really aren't any here.

    With Holmes, we expect demonstrations of observation and deduction that cause us to marvel. Here, we don't find much at which to marvel.

    With Holmes, we expect the tale to carry us away to his world as the original stories would: to his rooms on Baker Street or to Baskerville Hall or atop Reichenbach Falls. Here, the narrative has no power to take us anywhere. We remain firmly set in our own time and place and world.

    But still, this is Holmes, so we can hope.

    Surely Cullin will draw his story lines together and redeem his entire novel in an exciting denouement. How could we expect anything else for Conan Doyle's great detective?

    But that never happens, either. Cullin allows each story to wander off on its own and gently fade away. There are no surprises. There are no mysteries solved. There are no exciting moments. There are no characters we will remember. There is no closure.

    There is only a forgettable and unsatisfying novel that serves only to remind us that even great lives have dull moments.

    Skip this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 07-21-16
    07-21-16
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    "This is not a Sherlock Holmes story."

    This is a wandering, unfocused, self indulgence piece of writing. I feel as if I have been tricked into listening to it by the use of Sherlock Holmes as the main character and narrator. If you have any affinity for the original character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or the modern recreation by Steven Moffat, do not bother wasting your time with this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GSDNH NH 01-13-16
    GSDNH NH 01-13-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Rare case where I preferred the Film to the Book."

    I downloaded this audio because I really loved the film that is based on it, Mr. Holmes, played by Ian McKellan who brought an emotional depth to an aged Holmes that I hadn't seen before. The movie was warm with a satisfying ending. Not so with the book. It is rare that I enjoyed a film more than the book, but in this case I did. The writer of the film did an excellent job of taking a book which seemed disjointed and pulling it into a story that made better sense. There were numerous differences between the character portrayals and events between both, and I still prefer the film's version. Simon Jones did an excellent job with the narration and the book held my interest. Just slightly disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Raven Brown Bay Area, CA 09-09-15
    M. Raven Brown Bay Area, CA 09-09-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Didn't work for me"

    I felt like these three storylines didn't go anywhere. Overall a frustrating listen, though the reader's voice was wonderful. It might have worked better if the main character were not Sherlock Holmes. It would not have created an expectation of twists and mysteries and clever endings in me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenna 09-09-15
    Jenna 09-09-15
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    "Fantastic"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Absolutely captivating.


    Any additional comments?

    I rushed to listen to this one in preparation of seeing the movie with friends. I hung on every word. It drove me a little crazy, but in a good way, trying to link the mysteries with real Doyle characters. The movie had a different ending, but I forgave them as it was less heartbreaking their way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Dickens 09-04-15
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    "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 🇬🇧

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 07-21-15
    Margaret 07-21-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walrus Rex Grand Junction, CO United States 06-29-15
    Walrus Rex Grand Junction, CO United States 06-29-15 Member Since 2008
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    "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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Bleuel Canoga Park, CA United States 01-25-15
    William Bleuel Canoga Park, CA United States 01-25-15 Member Since 2011
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy 12-17-13
    Amy 12-17-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Moving Character Study of Elderly Holmes"

    Mitch Cullins has produced a gorgeously-written character study of a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes who is aware of having outlived his contextual moment in time (as well as both his biographer and brother), losing his mental as well as physical abilities, and coming to the end of his days with unanswered questions about the opportunities he missed during his life and the larger meaning of existence itself. It fits very neatly into and extrapolates from the last of Arthur Conan Doyle's canonical Holmes stories, in which readers clearly can see Holmes's loneliness, existential angst, and somewhat repressed humanity asserting itself.

    Cullins weaves several stories together, including the present-day (that is, 1947) mentorship relationship between Holmes and his housekeeper's son, Holmes's recent post-war journey to a devastated postwar Japan (itself in search of meaning in a new era), and Holmes's revisitation of a 1903 mystery that explains Holmes's later devotion to the study of bees. Repeated themes of suicide, pointless death, and potential natural keys to extended life (to what purpose?) raise difficult and universal questions to which Holmes -- and, for that matter, Cullins -- holds no definite answers.

    I've seen some reviews suggest that this is about Holmes's regret over missing romance, which put me off a bit, but that's not what I took from this novel. It's about intellectual fascination and unlikely personal connections and the paradoxical fragility (enter pointless death) and strength (enter memory and study) of each. All three storylines -- that of Holmes's housekeeper's son, Holmes's Japanese hosts, and Holmes's 1903 subject of investigation -- reinforce and echo these themes in a beautifully crafted and achingly effective manner.

    A few minor points of characterization failed to convince me, mostly related to Holmes's "slight trick of the mind," his rather ritualistic means of mourning, but these were surprisingly few and far between. On the whole, this is an absorbing and wrenching portrait, one with which all Holmesians/Sherlockians, I think, should wrestle and challenge their understanding of the Great Detective and what he represents. I'm very glad I listened to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Dr Zube
    Ross on Wye, United Kingdom
    2/3/14
    Overall
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    "A fitting and final Sherlock Holmes story"

    This is a thinking man's Sherlock homes novel, as much about how one meets the end of life as well as the great detectives detecting. I would say this was a very fitting, and moving end to the fantastic, interesting and unique creation S Holmes is. Simon Jones performance is great, very fitting for the slow and meditative style of the story, I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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