#bookreview – The Darlington Substitution by Melvyn Small #blogtour @indipenned #thedarlosub

I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Darlington Substitution by Melvyn Small. I’d like to thank Mel for asking me to take part. I’m reviewing the book further down this post but first, let’s see what this novella is about.

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.

The Darlington Substitution is going to be serialised as 12 weekly postings on Indipenned.com, the home of independent literature. It’s a platform that has been created to champion the work of independent authors and connect them with discerning readers looking to put something a little bit different on their bookshelves.

Click here to start reading for free.

I must admit I had no idea what to expect from this novella. I’ve never read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories, although I do know a bit about the character (who doesn’t?). I enjoyed some of the most recent TV adaption and that may have been because it had a modern setting and style to it.

So I was keen to try The Darlington Substitution by Melvyn Small. From what I can gather, Small has taken the title of a case from the casebook of Sherlock Holmes and rewritten the story. I have to say that I absolutely loved it. The Darlington of the title is a radio DJ who is interviewing Dr Watson about his book of Sherlock Holmes cases, but when the interview is not only not aired, but completely deleted, Watson is piqued and Holmes is on a mission to find out why the interview was scrapped.

I read this novella really quickly, partly because it’s short and partly because it’s so good. It completely exceeded my expectations and it frequently made me smile or laugh. It’s got a lot of dry humour in it and I loved the many modern and down to earth touches which bring Holmes and Watson right up to date.

It’s great fun and an appealing story, with a well-written take on some very well-known characters. Loved it!

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.


  • Hi Nicola,

    Many thanks for your wonderful review. I am so glad you liked it. No matter how confident you are that you have done a good job, there are always a few nerves when you put these things out there.

    Best wishes


  • Love how we can feel you enjoyed this in your review! 🙂 I was skeptical when I read the blurb but you made me curious!

  • We’re only three reviews in and the tour has massively exceeded my expectations. The bloggers and retweeters have been absolutely amazing 🙂

    M x

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