England in 1947. The famous detective Sherlock Holmes, now 93 years old, lives in his Sussex country house. When he goes to the cinema and sees a film about himself, he mostly shakes his head. For much of what he is purported to have done in the heroic stories has simply been made up. He never wore the legendary hat and, rather than the pipe, he always preferred a cigarette. Long since retired, he steers clear of people and dedicates himself chiefly to bee-keeping. The only people he suffers to be around him are housekeeper Mrs Munro and her small son Roger, whom Holmes is initiating into the secrets of apiculture. But sometimes his thoughts are beset by old cases. What really went on with the mysterious Ann Kelmot, whom he shadowed at her husband’s behest? And what connects him to the Umezaki family, who have invited him to Japan? Holmes undertakes one final big journey, experiences a botanical miracle and resolves to tell a compassionate lie.