The Accidental Detective by Melvyn Small

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for The Accidental Detective by Melvyn Small.

Title: The Accidental Detective

Author: Melvyn Small

Published on: 1 November 2022

Genre: Crime | Humor

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Accidental Detective is a collection of six Holmes and Watson mysteries. Set in the modern era, Sherlock Holmes is a notorious cybercriminal and Dr. Watson, his court-appointed psychologist.

Holmes is not allowed to use any gadgets – not even a cellphone. This isn’t your usual Holmes pastiche – a dash of darkish humor and lots of swear words. We have all the ‘special’ characters that feature in a Holmes mystery – an arch nemesis (he needs no introduction), Irene Adler, Inspector Lestrade and, Martha Hudson.

Mrs. Hudson runs a clothing store called The Hud Couture. Apart from being Holmes’ landlady, Mrs. Hudson also has a thing going on with Holmes *wink wink* – especially when the rent is due.

The six stories included in this book are:

The Woman

Two men claiming to be FBI agents seek Holmes’ help. They want him to locate a media file – a top-secret file that, if fallen into the wrong hands, might cause disastrous effects. This is Holmes and Watson’s first case together. Watson still isn’t used to Holmes’ way of working – there are times when he believes Holmes isn’t interested in helping the FBI agents.

The Goldfish Bowl

Seven red-haired youngsters seek Holmes’ help. They were selected for a red-haired only reality TV show that was supposed to be aired on channel 4. The show was called Goldfish Bowl. The youngsters were asked to complete tasks. The venue was a rented house were the youngsters were asked to come every day from 9 to 5. They were paid at the end of each tasks. But it ended after a week – no intimation, nothing. They went to the place as usual and found the door padlocked.

When Holmes and Watson arrive at the place and ask the owner to open the door, they find the whole place empty – no evidence of cameras or furniture. The rooms are freshly painted too.

The Secondhand Bride

Mrs. Hudson has received a letter from the army stating her estranged husband Paul Hudson has gone missing. Holmes and Watson decided to dig deeper into the mystery. They learn Paul went missing three months ago but the army did not intimate Mrs. Hudson of this until recently. Also, Paul is one of the eight people who mysteriously disappeared from the deserts of Afghanistan.

The Valley Drive Mystery

Dr. John Watson and his girlfriend Mary attend a party hosted by Charlie McCarthy – a friend of Watson from his University days. The host’s wife Lana retires early from the party. After a few minutes, the guests hear a scream. Charlie’s son comes running into the room, screaming “Lana’s dead.” Lana is found floating in the swimming pool. Watson and another man (who later introduces himself as Superintendent of Police) pull Lana out of the pool and the stepson gives her CPR. But Lana’s dead.

Lestrade is called to the scene of crime and so is Sherlock Holmes. The next day, Charlie McCarthy is arrested for killing his wife. But Holmes knows for certain that McCarthy did not kill his wife… but that doesn’t mean he’s totally innocent.

Fifty Orange Pills

Fifty experimental pills are stolen from a pharmaceutical company. They were in the process of creating a pill that could cure any kind of mental illness. The owner of the company seeks Holmes help. Then, the pills claim a victim – a young woman crashed her car into a tree on her way home from the pub. Then, another person died under mysterious circumstances. It becomes quite clear that someone gave these victims the stolen pills.

Death in the Twisted Lip

A landlord (who first appeared in The Goldfish Bowl) is found dead in the house, ten buildings from 22 1B. Holmes wonders if the Goldfish Bowl reality show’s anonymous host had something to do with the murder. This also means that Holmes arch nemesis is on prowl…

I love Holmes pastiches. What worked for me in this book is Holmes being his usual (pain in the neck) self. His deduction skills are impressive and he finds pleasure in proving poor Watson wrong. Hmm! What I did not like is the course language – I wouldn’t have minded it, had this been a non-Holmes mystery.

Sherlock is called Sherley on multiple occasions. He also seems to be keen on fist-bumping Lestrade and Watson – thankfully this tick fizzles down soon! What I found the most interesting was Holmes’ take on ‘reverse thinking.’ I loved this concept – something similar to reverse engineering.

The series ends with a cliffhanger. Ah!!! I loved Holmes’ arch nemesis’ role – they are always in the background, one step ahead of Sherley. The next book might reveal the real identity of ‘The Professor.’

4 thoughts on “The Accidental Detective by Melvyn Small

  1. I’m never entirely convinced by pastiches.

    Does it force the writers to be more creative as they are working within constraints? Or should they focus on creating something original?

    Which would be best?

    1. I loved M.J Trow’s take on Holmes pastiche. I do not know if Holmes fans might like it but in Trow’s Inspector Lestrade series, Holmes’ disguises and sleuthing is not up to the mark. (The series spotlights on Lestrade and his excellent sleuthing.)

      I think pastiches force the writers to be more creative. Not a competition as such but they do know they are trying to re-create a master storyteller and well loved author’s works.

      What is your opinion?

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