Saturday 3 September 2016

Holmes Volume 1 - Melvyn Small

Six short stories inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. What if Sherlock Holmes, with his dry wit and natural predilection for data, deduction and logic, had been born on Teesside and lived in present-day Middlesbrough?

This smart-arse Boro lad hides his talents under a bushell of misdirection, self-deprecation and good old Teesside sarcasm, served up with some rather coarse language.

With the assistance of his associate, Doctor John Watson, a psychologist he met during some court-ordered counselling sessions, Holmes wends his way through a string of adventures, baffling and entertaining as he goes, with many a three-pint problem solved over his favourite libation, a pint of Engineer’s Thumb in the Twisted Lip, before he staggers back to Flat 1B, 22 Baker Street, Middlesbrough.

What did I think?

I read and enjoyed a few Sherlock Holmes novels in my youth, so I was absolutely delighted that Melvyn Small used the same method of logic and deduction, with a huge dose of dry humour, in his Holmes Volume 1 collection of short stories.  I'm not usually a big fan of short stories but this book doesn't read like a short story collection at all.  With the same cast of colourful characters, each one interlinks and they are so entertaining that they flow effortlessly from one to another.

Boro Sherlock Holmes is a parmo eating, ale drinking, sarcastic super-sleuth.  He sees things others don't see and cleverly pieces together all the clues to solve the crime, with the help of Doctor Watson of course.  There are some cracking mysteries to solve; I loved each story and, unlike most short story collections, I had no intention of stopping at the end of each one.  The humour running through the book is so dry that I think I would have to read it again to pick up each and every clever little quip.  Some of it is regional humour, as I'm sure not everyone would understand being as offside as Bernie Slaven (but I got that one!).

Melvyn Holmes pays great homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in this modern day telling of Sherlock Holmes.  Boro Sherlock drinks pints of Engineer's Thumb in the Twisted lip and, being a real ale lover, I did actually google Engineer's Thumb to see if it was a real beer but found that it was a clever way to mention two of Conan Doyle's short stories: The Adventures of the Engineer's Thumb and The Man with the Twisted Lip. 

Holmes Volume 1 is hugely entertaining; it's a wonderful modernisation of Sherlock Holmes whilst staying true to the inimitable features of Conan Doyle's original characters.  If Benedict Cumberbatch hadn't got there first, you could have easily seen cheeky chappy Boro lad Bob Mortimer in this starring role.  A must-read for any Sherlock fans and those who love a good old whodunnit mystery.

I received this e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

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