Friday, 16 February 2018
Release Date: 14th February 2018
With Watson's literary career going from strength to strength, he secures a slot on local radio to publicise his new book. Uncertain as how to well it went, he is still a little surprised when the recording isn't broadcast. Although disappointed, he disregards this snub to his confidence as a peculiar but unimportant bend in the path of his literary career.
Sherlock Holmes is not so dismissive. He seizes upon the event, certain that there is more to this rebuff than meets the eye. He grills Watson to the content of his interview, convinced a key fact will reveal all. There is nothing. Watson is sure off that. An investigation ensues that takes Holmes to the end of the known world, a place just near Thirsk.
The Darlington Substitution is a retrospective account, occurring during the same time as the adventures chronicled in Holmes Volume 2. It sees Holmes at the height of his wisecracking, foulmouthed, law disregarding deductive brilliance.
For fans of the modern day Sherlock Holmes series on television this book will totally appeal to you. Set in Boro, Sherlock Holmes is a bit of a laddish swearing type of character and his sidekick Dr John Watson is still the sensible one trying to keep Holmes within the confines of the law. Not always easy with someone like Sherlock Holmes.
In The Darlington Substitution we see Dr Watson desperately trying to promote his new book which chronicles his adventures with Holmes. In an effort to gain greater publicity for the book, Watson is invited onto a local radio show to talk about his writing and working alongside the great detective. However, for some unknown reason the interview is scrapped and the recording allegedly deleted. Watson is understandably upset but brushes it off. Holmes however is convinced that something is afoot and sets out, trailing poor unwilling Watson along with him, to discover the exact reasons that the interview was never aired. There is something in the interview that has caused the interviewing DJ to scrap it. But what!?
This was an enjoyable book that I was able to read in one sitting. I was at first slightly put off by a swearing Holmes but soon grew to quite like his modern day personality. He was still the annoyingly clever wise cracking Sherlock Holmes underneath it all. The story is narrated as one would expect by Dr Watson and I was glad that the author had decided to continue in the same theme as the original books. This book however brought about a change for me in terms of favourite characters and I found myself drawn to Watson more. He is the voice of reason to Holmes and his overactive, overthinking brain.
The Darlington Substitution was a cleverly written book that I did enjoy and the interaction between the characters worked well. The introduction of other characters from the Sherlock Holmes books, such as Lestrade and Mrs Hudson was well written and they all added to the back story with their own unique personalities. An interesting and enjoyable take on one of my favourite classics.
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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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