What did I think?
I thought Mel Small's Holmes Volume 1 could not be bettered but I was wrong. This novella is simply magnificent; it's a page turning mystery filled with the dry wit we have come to expect from Boro's very own Sherlock Holmes.
Mel Small shows his knowledge of the original Sherlock Holmes by naming his book The Darlington Substitution which is the scandal on which Arthur Conan Doyle's son, Adrian, based his short story: The Adventures of the Wax Gamblers. This isn't a retelling of the tale, though. It's a fresh, new, modern interpretation of a case that only Sherlock Holmes could solve.
The Darlington Substitution is a brilliant mystery story. It is based around Dr John Watson who has written about about his escapades with Sherlock Holmes. Watson is invited to do a radio interview about his new book with DJ Charles Darlington. Watson, Holmes and friends are all huddled around the radio in their local pub, The Twisted Lip, to listen to the interview, only to find that Watson has been substituted with another author. Holmes concludes that Watson must have said something in his interview that someone doesn't want broadcast. Either that or Watson's interview was shit (Sherlock's words, not mine!).
It only takes about an hour to read this novella and I absolutely loved every minute of it. I quite agree that this is the best Boro Sherlock Holmes story to date, not only that but I also think that it is the best novella I have ever read. I usually feel unsatisfied by short stories but this one is just perfect. It had me crying with laughter at Holmes' sharp, cutting and dry humour but I was also completely captivated by this latest mystery. No dithering over the amount of stars to award here: 5 stars without doubt. An excellent book!
I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Read the first chapters here and keep visiting Indipenned for a new chapter each week.
About the author:
Melvyn Small is an author and the founder of Indipenned, a website that champions the work of independent literature. Thus far he has written two books, Holmes Volume 1 and the imaginatively titled follow up Holmes Volume 2 (Subsequently republished by Fahrenheit Press as the Victor Locke Chronicles).
Mel's perhaps unique spin on Sherlock Holmes, which places the character in a different time, location and section of society, has found fans around the world and is fast becoming a cult classic. His writing style is pacey and littered with gin-dry humour. It has been described as "hilarious, clever and hugely enjoyable." The Darlington Substitution novella is his longest story so far and perhaps his best work to date.
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