Next from my Ask Mefi answers was A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin. It's a novel about an elderly, retired Sherlock Holmes, set in his Sussex beekeeping cottage in 1947. It isn't really a mystery, though there are some prosaic puzzles. It's more of a meditation on old age, as a lonely Holmes contemplates his declining faculties.
Rather good: well written and with a nice elegiac atmosphere: it's a bit of a mood piece. Cullin does a good job at a literary filling out of a character who's somewhat superficial: in some ways I think Doyle's Holmes is a collection of quirks with not much underneath. There isn't much in the way of plot or climax though.
Cullin does pretty well with period and cultural detail, though there a few awkwardnesses like Holmes talking casually about degrees "celsius". (At school in eighties I was taught in "centigrade", though the term was changed in 1948). Also Holmes seems to have more of a modern than Victorian sensibility in some ways. Religion seems strangely absent for Victorian contemplating death. Oxbridge professors were not allowed to marry till the late 19th century and discouraged even then: it was taken for granted that the pursuit of an intellectual life means some sacrifice of private life. I don't think a Holmes could really reach the age of 93 and suddenly realise "oh noes, I forgot about love".
Overall, well worth a look if you don't insist on plot, conflict or action. Thought The Seven-Per-Cent Solution was better, but this may well be the second best Sherlock Holmes novel not written by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Bad science: Big breakfasts breed baby boys. Hints. Think about the 3rd generation. Think about how many parents of each sex a child has. Think how many famines there have been without this effect showing up.
Bad journalism. Fishing for a sabotage story.
Bad medicine. Dr Crippen's Diary?
|< The smallest things are sometimes the largest. | Herrring WINS! >|