Tuesday 8 November 2022

BLOG TOUR: The Accidental Detective - Melvyn Small

Thrown together by the British legal system, Holmes and his court appointed psychologist, Dr John Watson, seem an unlikely pairing... but sometimes the stars align.

Our two heroes are soon drawn into a series of riotous adventures that both bewilder and beguile. Holmes’ mastery of data, deduction and logic combines with his gin-dry wit and a casual contempt for life-threatening danger to ensure there is never a dull moment as he and the good doctor battle the mysteries that have the local constabulary baffled.

The game is afoot... oh yes!

What did I think?

I love books set in my native north east of England but I never dreamed that I would ever read about Sherlock Holmes in Middlesbrough.  Melvyn Small's plotting is as clever as the famous sleuth himself in this fabulous collection of short stories.

Holmes is brought up to date with added wit and sarcasm but his brilliant deductive reasoning is true to the original.  I love how Melvyn Small pays homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle throughout the book; not just the character names but things like Holmes drinking pints of Engineer's Thumb in The Twisted Lip pub which references two of Conan Doyle's short stories: The Adventures of the Engineer's Thumb and The Man with the Twisted Lip.  There are probably loads more references that Sherlock Holmes fans will pick up.

There are six short stories in this collection and whilst each one can be read separately, I was like a runaway train once I got started and I had no intention of stopping at the end of each one.  The stories are told brilliantly by Doctor Watson and they flow together beautifully with the same cast of colourful characters and references to earlier cases thrown in for good measure.  The humour is outstanding; it's drier than the Sahara and it made me laugh out loud on several occasions.

With six cracking mysteries to solve, The Accidental Detective is hugely entertaining and absolutely brilliant.  It's a wonderful modernisation of Sherlock Holmes whilst staying true to the inimitable features of Conan Doyle's original characters.  A must-read for any Sherlock fan and anyone who loves a good old whodunnit mystery.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from:
Amazon US

About the author:
Born in Stockton-on-Tees and raised in nearby Billingham, Mel left Northfield Comprehensive School at 16 to train as a civil engineering technician at Cleveland County Council Surveyor and Engineer's Department. It was during this time, spent either at a drawing board or on the clever end of a theodolite that, following a rather sharp haircut, he was bestowed the nickname Melvis.  Thanks go out to Joan the tea lady for that one.  Fortunately Mel is not a vengeful chap and has not once even considered informing HM Revenue and Customs of Joan's illicit below-the-tea-trolley line in Kitkats and Marathons.  Whether Mel retains any likeness to the King of Rock 'n' Roll is debatable, however even the most imaginative would now concede he is less GI Blues and more the Vegas years.  Mel loves a parmo.

On the completion of his traineeship at the council, which included BTEC qualifications studied on day release at both Cleveland Technical College and Teesside Polytechnic, Mel relinquished his unused right to countersign passport applications and photographs, and left local government for a period of employment in the private sector. This included stays at WS Atkins, WA Fairhurst and, perhaps his spiritual home, the now defunct Bullen Consultants Limited. During this period, interrupted by a bachelor’s degree in civil and structural engineering at the University of Sheffield, Mel undertook a lot of modelling work. Three-dimensional ground modelling work to be precise, Mel's use of isopachyte analysis being now the thing of legend.

A natural engineer, Mel expanded his capability into that of hydraulic engineering soon forming quite a reputation in the fields of both storm water drainage and sewerage design, his skills in this area being such that he soon earned the honorary title of the Shitman. It's no exaggeration to state that Mel has forgotten more about storm water attenuation than most people will ever know.

Feeling more inclined to a digital era the modelling shitman left the world of roundabout entry deflection and balancing ponds to embark on a career in information technology. Following a master's degree in information processing at the University of York, he gained employment in the IT department of a large financial services organisation. It wasn't his fault. None of it. Honest.

With respect to the written word, Mel's efficient writing style is perhaps the requirement of both engineering and computer science to communicate in a concise manner. The comedy in his literary output being more of a function of a Teesside upbringing. Mel's first foray into the world of creative writing came in the form of slogans for leading tee shirt retailer Shot Dead In The Head. Mel's work included the popular ”What Part Of Theoretical Physics Do You Not Understand?” and “If You Can Read This You Are Too Close”.

Upping the word count considerably into that of fictional crime writing, Mel's first printed work Holmes Volume 1 and the imaginatively titled Holmes Volume 2. The reviews for this reimagining of Sherlock Holmes a dry-witted, working class northerner plying his trade in current day Middlesbrough have been amazing. If you would like a copy of these classics including their cult cover art, act quickly, They will soon disappear to be republished as The Accidental Detective series in November 2022. This will include a new volume of stories including The Darlington Substitution. and two new feature length stories.

And it doesn’t end there. Mel has now turned his writing skills to music and Project Melv!s. The debut single from this initiative, Provisionally Yours, was released in September 2021 and was followed up with The Perfect EP at the end of 2021. Work on an album of original music is currently underway. It’s shaping up to be something quite special.

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