Hockensmith is funny, clever, and has a great sense of the realities of the Old West. Here we have two brothers, known as Big Red and Old Red for their fiery hair color. Old Red, the brainy one, is a fanatic fan of Sherlock Holmes--who he doesn't know is fictional--but can't read. Big Red, the younger brother, has been to school and can read, so he reads any Sherlock stories they can get their hands on to Old Red (and the rest of the bunkhouse crew) over and over again.
When mysterious things start happening out on the range and in the castle-like but rundown old ranch house, Old Red decides it's time to do some sure-enough Sherlocking of his own--with hilarious results.
Yes, it's funny, but it's also a satisfying mystery, which would have been a good story if told straight--that is, with a non-funny narrator. Luckily for us, Big Red is a hoot.
You don't have to like Sherlock Holmes to read this. You don't have to like cowboy stories to read this. You'll like it as long as you have a funny bone and can tolerate good mystery stories.
Roy W. (NiteOwl) reviewed Holmes on the Range (Holmes on the Range, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 4
Light hearted western mystery with a realistic, albeit humorous, flavor. Set in eastern Montana, the two brothers find themselves deducifying the happenings on a secretive cattle ranch where y'er s'posed ta be payin' attention to y'er own business lest you end up on the wrong end of a stampede.
Enjoyable romp through the wild west with two heroes who solve a mystery due to the fascination with Sherlock Holmes' detectiving methods by one of the gentlemen. Book does have strong language which might be offensive to some.
I LOVED this book! It is original and witty and action packed. Sherlock Holmes never met Gustav and Otto Amlingmeyer but to be sure, he would have appreciated them. Mixing an old-time American western with a very British parlor whodunit could have gone horribly wrong but Hockensmith pulls it off with gusto. Great mystery, great humor and marvelous characters make this book a winner. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series soon.
First Line: There are two things you can't escape out here in the West: dust and death.
When brothers Old Red (Gustav) and Big Red (Otto) Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at a spread known for being secretive, the only things they're expecting are lots of hard work, plenty of bad pay, and a bit of free time to enjoy reading their favorite stories about Sherlock Holmes. When a couple of men turn up dead, Old Red sees it as the perfect opportunity to employ his "deductifyin'" skills, and he sets out to solve the case. Although he doesn't like the looks of it one little bit, Big Red is along for the ride.
If you read a lot of crime fiction, you know that there are some prime directives. One of them has to do with the disposition of the corpse. This book is so good that I forgot all about that basic rule.
Author Hockensmith has come completely out of left field and scored a home run with this tale of two brothers in the Old West. Old Red was the oldest brother who worked hard to keep food on the table for his mother and younger siblings. As a younger brother, Big Red stayed home and had schooling. He knows how to read and write-- something his older brother never had the chance to learn. The stories of Sherlock Holmes fires the imagination of Old Red, and he believes that this is something he can do even if he doesn't have an education. If he can observe and deduce, he can be every bit as brilliant as the grand detective. Big Red has a rather jaundiced view of the whole thing:
"Damn it, Brother," I said. "You're a cowboy, not a detective."
Old Red didn't answer with words. He just turned and showed me that little wisp of a grin he slips under his mustache when he thinks he's being clever.
Oh? his smile said. A feller can't be both?
I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. Hockensmith has a unique voice and vision, and I can't wait to read the further deductifyin' adventures of Old Red and Big Red.
An easy read (but a bit too long.) A convoluted mystery and snappy writing. My one issue is that in this story Sherlock Holmes is not a fictional character, but a real detective. Sort of brought me up short.
I am a huge fan of this series of western mysteries about a pair of borthers who model themselves after Sherlock Holmes and get into all kinds of mis-adventures! This is the first in the series and is well worth your time!