Excerpt from A Slight Trick of The Mind by Mitch Cullin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Slight Trick of The Mind

by Mitch Cullin

A Slight Trick of The Mind by Mitch Cullin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2006, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"You'll live with this mess for an age," said Mrs. Munro, nodding at the mail stacks. After lowering the empty wicker basket to the floor, she turned to him, saying, "There's more, too, you know, out in the front hall closet–them boxes was cluttering up everything."

"Very well, Mrs. Munro," he said sharply, hoping to thwart any elaboration on her part.

"Should I bring the others in? Or should I wait for this bunch to be finished?"

"You can wait."

He glanced at the doorway, indicating with his eyes that he wished for her withdrawal. But she ignored his stare, pausing instead to smooth her apron before continuing: "There's an awful lot–in that hall closet, you know–I can't tell you how much."

"So I have gathered. I think for the moment I will focus on what is here."

"I'd say you've got your hands full, sir. If you're needing help–"

"I can take care of it–thank you."

Intently this time, he gazed at the doorway, inclining his head in its direction.

"Are you hungry?" she asked, tentatively stepping onto the Persian rug and into the sunlight.

A scowl halted her approach, softening a bit as he sighed. "Not in the slightest" was his answer.

"Will you be eating this evening?"

"It is inevitable, I suppose." He briefly envisioned her laboring recklessly in the kitchen, spilling offal on the countertops, or dropping bread crumbs and perfectly good slices of Stilton to the floor. "Are you intent on concocting your unsavory toad-in-the-hole?"

"You told me you didn't like that," she said, sounding surprised.

"I don't, Mrs. Munro, I truly don't–at least not your interpretation of it. Your shepherd's pie, on the other hand, is a rare thing."

Her expression brightened, even as she knitted her brow in contemplation. "Well, let's see, I got leftover beef from the Sunday roast. I could use that–except I know how you prefer the lamb."

"Leftover beef is acceptable."

"Shepherd's pie it is, then," she said, her voice taking on a sudden urgency. "And so you'll know, I've got your bags unpacked. Didn't know what to do with that funny knife you brought, so it's by your pillow. Mind you don't cut yourself." He sighed with greater effect, shutting his eyes completely, removing her from his sight altogether: "It is called a kusun-gobu, my dear, and I appreciate your concern–wouldn't want to be stilettoed in my own bed."

"Who would?"

His right hand fumbled into a coat pocket, his fingers feeling for the remainder of a half-consumed Jamaican. But, to his dismay, he had somehow misplaced the cigar (perhaps lost as he disembarked from the train earlier, as he stooped to retrieve a cane that had slipped from his grasp–possibly the Jamaican had escaped his pocket then, falling to the platform, only to get flattened underfoot). "Maybe," he mumbled, "or maybe–"

He searched another pocket, listening while Mrs. Munro's shoes went from the rug and crossed the slats and moved onward through the doorway (seven steps, enough to take her from the library). His fingers curled around a cylindrical tube (nearly the same length and circumference of the halved Jamaican, although by its weight and firmness, he readily discerned it wasn't the cigar). And when lifting his eyelids, he beheld a clear glass vial sitting upright on his open palm; and peering closer, the sunlight glinting off the metal cap, he studied the two dead honeybees sealed within–one mingling upon the other, their legs intertwined, as if both had succumbed during an intimate embrace.

Excerpted from A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin Copyright © 2005 by Mitch Cullin. Excerpted by permission of Nan A. Talese, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Amber Shadows
    The Amber Shadows
    by Lucy Ribchester
    The Amber Shadows sweeps readers into the realm of World War II-era Britain where Honor "Honey" ...
  • Book Jacket: Midwinter Break
    Midwinter Break
    by Bernard MacLaverty
    Northern Ireland's Bernard MacLaverty is the author of five novels and multiple short story ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ninth Hour
    The Ninth Hour
    by Alice McDermott
    In a pivotal scene in The Ninth Hour, young Sally encounters an increasingly loathsome series of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.