Ian McKellan's Portrait of Sherlock's Final Days
It is only fitting Ian McKellen's portrayal of Sherlock's final days is the last in our series. Mr. Holmes, from Mitch Cullin's book, A Slight Trick of the Mind, shows us Sherlock at 93, retired to Sussex and keeping bees. Mr. Cullin draws on his experience with his own father's Alzheimer's to show us a quite different time in Sherlock's life. The brilliant detective who tried to avoid human relationships for years finds himself alone at last. Mycroft, John Watson, Mrs. Hudson and Lestrade have all died and Sherlock has banned himself from detective work and London but he can't remember why.
Sherlock is driven to recover his memory and solve his last case, because he knows somehow that John Watson got it wrong in the retelling. He seeks a potion to help, royal jelly from his bees and prickly ash from Japan, but with little success. Desperate to regain his old independence, he strives to alienate his housekeeper and her son. Bright, young Roger will not be dissuaded from his admiration for the great detective and Sherlock finally accepts him as a beekeeper's apprentice, young detective and friend. It is Roger's friendship and Sherlock's new sense of purpose that bring flashes of memories and at last the answers he seeks.
Ian McKellin is the perfect Mr. Holmes and in fact, the one Mr. Cullin envisioned in the role when he was writing his story. Mr. McKellen is equally apt as a younger Sherlock, intelligent, at times charming and correct in his deductions as he is a bewildered and grumpy old man who tries to hide his encroaching Alzheimer's by writing people's names on his shirt cuffs.
Mr. McKellen and Mr. Cullen have presented a brilliant portrait of our favorite consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, as he might have become in later years. Somehow the sadness of seeing him frail and confused made him seem all the more real.
"I think I was real once until John made me into fiction and then after that I had little choice but to play the part as he'd fashioned it or become its contradiction."
(From Mr. Holmes)