Sherlock Holmes, Enigma, Detective, Boro Lad
Holmes Volume 1
When Doctor John Watson completes his court-ordered counselling sessions of convicted criminal Sherlock Holmes, he assumes he has seen the last of this wayward and strange character. This changes on the arrival of two FBI agents at his Middlesbrough surgery, attempting to track down Holmes in order to make use of his "ethical hacking" skills to locate a scandalous media file, with the power to unseat governments on both sides of the Atlantic.
This event seeds a collaboration between Holmes and Watson which sees them embroiled in a series of fast-paced adventures including investigations into a disappearing reality television show, a missing solider, a drown party guest, deadly drugs and a particularly sadistic killer. With Holmes and Watson still finding their feet as detectives, success is never guaranteed, however it’s always tantalisingly close.
Holmes Volume One provides a singularly original interpretation on Conan Doyle's eponymous hero. Many have followed Sir Arthur in order to extend his brilliant canon of work, however Mel Small’s pastiche of the great detective has Sherlock Holmes flipped on his now deerstalker-less head. In this alternative reality Holmes is a native of Middlesbrough in the gritty north, who operates in altogether less opulent section of society. Gone is any hubris, that would have been knocked out of him in his pre-school years, however a fixation on data and logical reasoning remains. From Holmes' base of Flat 1B, 22 Baker Street, Middlesbrough, the escapades of Holmes and Watson take them on romps across Teesside that take in locations such up Stockton, Billingham, Norton, Wolviston and Saltburn.
The Holmes in these six short stories is in many ways an enigma. He dazzles with his observation and logic, but alludes to some sort of trickery. He appears absent and withdrawn to the point of being a sociopath, and yet he seems to possess an uncanny understanding of the human condition. His approach is sometimes harsh and violent, although he is prone to acts of great selflessness. Even his language, his profanity-ridden vernacular and unrelenting sarcasm, may serve only to disguise an underlying intelligence.
Perhaps the real mystery his Holmes himself, with his variable character, self-efficacy and mockery creating an undercurrent of doubt in both Watson and the reader as to the legitimacy of this strange creature.
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