Holmes: Volume 1



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.



Even just thinking about the concept of this novel makes me smile because really it shouldn’t work, it is bizarre, a crazy idea but they say that genius and madness are so very close so whichever you are Melvyn Small keep it up!

This isn’t a novel about Holmes and Watson rushing though London amongst horse and carriage, no, no. This is Northern Boro donkey jacket wearing and swearing Holmes that has evaded prison by the skin of his teeth. Watson is his therapist/counsellor to help with Holmes’ drug addiction but a formidable partnership and friendship happens through default really from the delivery of a message.

Don’t think for a minute that Melvyn Small has just used these names in token, far from it, a thoroughly modern computer wizard Holmes may be but he is still definitely Holmes, as is Watson his faithfully sidekick.

This novel consists of 6 stories which would make perfect travelling reads or for bed before going to sleep but be warned you wont want to stop at one story. I just had to keep going to the end. Very entertaining , very witty and very memorable. I loved the teasing of Watson by Holmes. Watson being like a little  boy watching a magician to see if he can work out how a trick is done. Think poor Watson is going to be disappointed.

This makes an interesting and light hearted read, very entertaining. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes novels then you may even be able to pick out some very clever usage of things from the original but converted and used to fit into modern day society. I shall say no more. Still keep smiling about this book and very much looking forward to Volume 2 due out this year.

I wish to thank Melvyn Small for a copy of his novel in exchange for an honest review.



Melvyn Small


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. From there his education comprised a BTEC ONC, HNC and a BEng honours degree in Civil and Structural Engineering. After 14 years Mel drew a finally draughted line under the world of hydraulic modelling and roundabout design and undertook a Master of Science degree in information processing, before commencing a career in information technology.

It is perhaps Mel’s technical upbringing and his drafting of countless technical reports and specifications that give him a succinct and efficient writing style that lends itself to the fast-paced short stories he has had published to date. This layered with the gin-dry humour garnered from a Teesside upbringing provides a thoroughly entertaining read.

His latest book Holmes Volume 1 provides a twist on eponymous Sherlock Holmes in a series of short stories that place the famous character in modern-day Middlesbrough. In these comical escapades Sherlock Holmes is a working class Teessider who swears, drinks beer and solves the most puzzling of mysteries as he and Doctor Watson wend their way around the North East of England.

You can follow Melvyn Small on Twitter




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