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Cullin has carefully woven three stories together and managed it so neatly that no threads show--worthy of Holmes himself. The first is the story of Holmes's recent return from a trip to Japan, ostensibly in search of prickly ash, a bush that he believes contributes to healthy longevity, as does his beloved and trusted royal jelly. While there, he is met by his correspondent, Mr. Umezaki, who isn't as interested in prickly ash as in gleaning information from Holmes about his long-gone father. Supposedly, they met many years before, in London, and Holmes advised him not to return home. Of course, Holmes has no recollection of the meeting but finesses it nicely.
It is 1947 when they visit Hiroshima, post-atomic bomb, and Holmes marvels at what he sees. He compares it, most poignantly, to the loss of the queen in a hive, "when no resources were available to raise a new one. Yet how could he explain the deeper illness of unexpressed desolation, that imprecise pall harbored en masse by ordinary Japanese?" That is what he tells Roger, the 14-year-old son of his housekeeper. Roger is the second thread of the novel. Holmes is introducing him to beekeeping and Roger proves an apt student. His hero-worship of Holmes and his need for a father form an integral part of Cullin's intention of "humanizing" the great Sherlock Holmes.
The final thread is revealed in a journal that Holmes kept, in which he entered an encounter with a married woman, many years ago. He is infatuated with her, and hardly knows what to call it or what to make of his feelings. This is unfamiliar territory for the man who is rational above all else. The man we know at the end of the book makes the reader want another installment, showing a new Sherlock with a heart as well as a brain. --Valerie Ryan
A beautiful, smart novel that goes beyond the typical Sherlock Holmes cliches. In fact, this is a book that offers great insight into the problems of aging. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Blair Kennen
This book was awful; does the author have secret evidence against the publishing company forcing them to publish this mess? Read morePublished 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
BAD! Three unrelated incidents (Holmes in Japan looking for a type of plant), the boy guarding the beehives and stung to death by wasps, the wife of Holmes client wondering about... Read morePublished 1 month ago by jerold saltz
I wasn't able to finish the book because I just couldn't get into it. It was slow and plodding.Published 1 month ago by Kathy H.
it was a disappointment, a pointless bock, can i get my money back?Published 1 month ago by Brian Card
If you have seen the new movie "Mr Holmes," you've seen Ian McKellen's Oscar-worthy performance as the aged consulting detective. Read morePublished 1 month ago by George Needham
The movie is much better then the book. Could have something to do with Ian McKellen!Published 1 month ago by Michael Dean Mixter