“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.”
This was a real treat for me. Something quite different to the books I usually read. I do enjoy short story collections but they tend to be individual standalone stories written by different authors and put together as a collection. This however is a collection of six short stories about the same characters written by the same author and it was a joy!
You should know something about me before we get too far into this review. I really don’t like Sherlock Holmes. I’ve never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books nor do I want to. If I have stumbled upon a Holmes short story in the past it has always left me feeling cold. I haven’t watched any of the recent TV series or films, I’m just not interested. That was until Holmes turned into a Boro lad.
The book contains 6 short stories but the way they are written, the way they cross over and flow seamlessly meant I didn’t feel like I was reading a collection of individual stories.
So, Sherlock Holmes, the northern bloke. I loved him. He’s well written and believable. Everytime he spoke, he spoke with a Boro accent in my head. The rest of the characters are just as well written; Dr John Watson and Martha for example.
It must be quite a challenge for a writer to take someone else’s character (especially one as well known as Sherlock Holmes) and turn them into your own. Melvyn Small has produced a sterling effort in this anthology. I was pleased to read that Volume 2 is on it’s way in 2016. I, for one, will certainly be purchasing a copy.
Four out of five stars.
Many thanks to Melvyn Small for providing me with a copy of Holmes Volume 1 in exchange for an honest review.