William Arrowood

Created by Mick Finlay

I never really thought of Sherlock Holmes as exclusively a servant to the rich and powerful, but that’s the spin they’re putting on WILLIAM ARROWOOD to boost his working class street cred.

In London 1885, the front cover blurb of his eponymous debut, Arrowood (2017) goes, “London society taskes its problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.”

And just in case we missed the point, on the flip we’re reminded that the poor “residents of south London don’t often see Holmes in the densely populated streets of Bermondsey.”

Whatever. It’s a nice selling point, regardless of how arguable the point is, and of course private detectives never came cheap. But let’s face it — there is something vaguely aristocratic and even snobbish in Holmes’ demeanour and lifestyle.

So a working class, decidedly downscale private eye for the rest of us, one who despises Holmes and “his walthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime,” is a neat marketing hook.

It also helps that Arrowood is an interesting detective in his own right, an awkward and flawed man with mud in his eye and a passion for gin, a sometime reporter and self-trained psychologist haunted by past misdeeds, whom the locals nonetheless turn to with increasingly frequency when the undermanned police force are of no help… or use.

A promising debut. The clothes and the trapping may be be mostly Doyle, but the style is all Chandler.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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