blog tour, books, reviews

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!

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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.
If you would like an email providing updates on Mel’s various endeavours please sign up to the newsletter.

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My thoughts: this was a very funny, clever reimagining of some of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Instead of a posh Londoner, he’s a wry Northern alcoholic, whose office is the local pub, presided over by the very patient Mary, while Mrs Hudson runs a clothing boutique round the corner.

Holmes is a former hacker and not really allowed near a computer but when Inspector Lestrade needs his help, under the “supervision” of his psychiatrist Dr Watson (not a surgeon in this life), he’s occasionally allowed near one.

The crimes he solves are mundane on the surface but there is a dangerous mastermind somewhere out there, a mysterious Professor. Oh and Irene Adler, some dodgy blokes called Smith and Jones, and the odd dead body to clear up.

Lots of fun, I enjoyed spotting the references and links to the original stories (ever the lit nerd) and the new twists and turns. The Victorian Sherlock would lose his mind if shown the internet, but this one is a 21st Century ‘tec. There’s another volume and hopefully more beyond that, and I still don’t quite know what a parmo is.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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