Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Book Review - Mr Holmes

Mr Holmes is the newly titled 2005 book A Slight Trick of the Mind by and has recently popularised by the film released in cinemas last week.

As a true lover of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock collection I was practically giddy when I heard about this book, but apprehensive as the original stories are so precious to me. I got my copy as soon as I could as I wanted to make sure I had read it before seeing the film. I love Victorian crime novels, I love a mystery, I love a book that has the ability to make me forget what it was I was supposed to be doing and keep me turning those pages until the conclusion.

I would describe this book as a page turner.. but only because I was hurriedly turning pages trying to see when the storyline would kick in. 

The blurb on the back describes the tale as 

"It's 1947, and the long retired Sherlock Holmes lives in a remote Sussex farmhouse with his house keeper and her young son. He tends to his bees, writes in his journal and grapples with the diminishing powers of his mind.

But in the twilight of his life, as people continue to look to him for answers, Holmes revisits a case that may provide him with answers of his own to questions he didn't even know he was asking - about life, about love and about the limits of the mind's ability to know." 

When I read that, I was sold. It has all the makings of a great read but I'm just so disappointed. I really do not understand what the author was trying to achieve with this book. I don't know if I just didn't get it, but I felt like I was only reading the first few chapters of a book, nothing really seemed to happen and I was constantly wondering where it was going to go and it never went anywhere!

I think the idea of what happened next with Sherlock, is a great idea. The image of him on a remote farm, tending to bees is so starkly in contrast with the vibrant, dynamic, character from the original stories it is fascinating to me and I was just expecting so much more from this book. 

There is no mystery, no intrigue, no echoes of the past that seem genuine or interesting conclusions to some of the worlds most favourite characters. 

I feel that there was the potential to do so much more with this concept. It's a well written book, and the attempts at writing in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when showing flashbacks of an old case are believable and authentic. However, I feel that these flash backs are something that could be incorporated so much more to really give Sherlock fans something to enjoy.

To be brutal the book manages to be utterly boring and totally depressing at the same time. All the characters involved are lack lustre and from the aftermath of the atomic bomb in Japan to finding out what happened to Watson I'd rather not have known. 

This isn't a historical figure we are dealing with here, it's not an insight into the sad end of the days of a real person, there was free reign to make anything happen and tell any story at all and I feel a little let down that the legacy of Sherlock Holmes would be dealt with in this way. I think Sherlock's character is right, I like some of the things he says in the book and feel like this really is Sherlock, but I think the world in which he inhabits through the confines of the story are frustrating and left me feeling unsatisfied. 

The entire way through this book I was waiting for that moment, the bit where everything comes together and has a point. A nod to the Sherlock fans, a new revelation, a past case which suddenly now makes sense, or simply a visit to some well loved characters.. something!! 

I understand that this is about showing a different Sherlock, a Sherlock that can't use his amazing analytical skills of the past, one who doesn't hold the key to every mystery firmly in his mind, however there's something just not quite there in accomplishing it. 

I was really looking forward to the film, until I read the book and now I don't even think I'll bother going to see it, not even for the popcorn (and I love popcorn). 

Let me know if you've read it and what your thoughts are as I'd love to know if you found something in it that I didn't. You can comment below, tweet me at or find me on Instagram -


  1. I was going to read this but I'm not sure I'll bother now! Thanks for being so honest hon

  2. Oh no! I love Sherlock too! Thanks for the heads up!


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