Unlike so many others of this very specialized but rather crowded niche genre - the parody of Sherlock Holmes - Hockensmith's unique entry, "Holmes on the Range" amuses, entertains and succeeds wonderfully.
Dateline 1893, Big Sky country in frontier Montana. Two out of work cowpokes, Otto and Gustav Amlingmeyer (known to their friends as Big Red and Old Red) amuse themselves by reading and re-reading Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries in much thumbed copies of the then popular Strand Magazine. Gustav takes it into his head that he's capable of emulating the master's observation skills so when a series of mysterious murders occur on the ranch that recently hired them, Old Red takes advantage of the opportunity to put his "deducifyin' " skills to work.
What a fabulous concept! "Holmes on the Range" provides everything a cozy mystery lover and a Sherlock Holmes fan could ask for. An enormous cast of possible suspects - dusty Wild West cowhands, an albino negro, a stuffed shirt English Duke and his beautiful daughter, a financially embarrassed young British dandy and a Swedish cook - will keep you guessing until the final pages. Wonderfully realistic dialogue complete with a cowboy twang will have you believing you're right there with Old Red and Big Red on the Wild West frontier at the turn of the century. Lots of clues and red herrings will keep even the sharpest reader guessing until the climax arrives with the mandatory drawing room confrontation between Old Red, the cunning detective, and all the suspects. Readers will also be treated to a bonus - a surprisingly realistic depiction of the down to earth daily work of a frontier ranch hand.
Fans of the world's most popular detective will not be disappointed with "Holmes on the Range". Highly recommended.
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