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Holmes on the Range Paperback – 30 Mar 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books,US; New Ed edition (30 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312358044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312358044
  • ASIN: 0312358040
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 663,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Hilarious. A-"--Thom Geier, "Entertainment Weekly" "A wild, well-told western mystery."--"Forbes Magazine" "This is a great reworking of the Holmes conceit, and one suspects Hockensmith will have a steady readership as long as the Amlingmeyers are on the case."--"Booklist" (starred review)

About the Author

Steve Hockensmith is also the author of "On the Wrong Track, " the second mystery to feature Big Red and Old Red. He lives in Petaluma, California.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. P. Mason on 30 Dec 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books when, upon reading the plot synopsis, you just hope lives up to the potential it contains and trust me, "Holmes On The Range," more than lives up to that potential.

Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer find themselves working as ranch hands at the secretive Bar VR ranch and it's not long before things take a turn for the decidedly mysterious... not to mention murderous. Which gives Old Red the chance he's been longing for, to use the, "deducifyin'," skills of his hero, Sherlock Holmes, on a real case.

Taking elements of the original Conan Doyle stories and inserting them into what is essentially a, "Wild West Murder Mystery," but giving them a unique, not to mention extremely humourous twist, Steve Hockensmith has created not only a wonderful Holmes pastiche but an excellent, "Whodunnit," as well.

In Big Red (the narrator of our story) and Old Red, he has created two of crime fictions brightest new characters. Narrated with a wry humour (and often quite a raucous humour, which is only befitting the characters themselves)the characters really do leap off the page. Added to which, the whole backdrop of the Old West is beautifully rendered, giving the story a great sense of authenticity, plus even the secondary characters are fully fleshed out (my personal favourites being Crazymouth, so called because he is a Cockney Cowboy who no one can understand and a Swedish Chef who would do The Muppets proud.... Plus any book which contains the character of a cannibal murderer callled, "Hungry Bob," just has to be worth a read).

This is a great book and one that, whilst obviously loving the original Holmes stories, isn't afraid to have fun with the genre. Personally, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Inventive, funny and extremely clever I can't wait to read of Big Red and Old Red's next, "deducifyin'," adventure.
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By Mark Baker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Mar 2007
Format: Paperback
Old Red and Big Red are the last two members of their family. With nothing to tie them down, the brothers drift from place to place looking for work.

That's how they come to find themselves in Montana during the winter of 1893. Times are hard and the two are reduced to waiting out the winter hoping to get hired once spring round up starts.

But one day, the foreman of the Bar VR ranch offers them jobs. Despite the rumors of something mysterious happening there, the two take the jobs.

Or maybe it is because of the rumors. See, Old Red has recently heard some of the stories about Sherlock Holmes and has become enthralled with the idea of solving a case of his own.

The brothers arrive with the other men hired at the time and find themselves confined to the area around the massive ranch house. But Old Red still finds every excuse he can to sniff out clues. But when the ranch manager dies in a stampede, it looks like he'll have a chance to truly play detective.

No matter what else is said about this book, you've got to admit it is fun. The brothers are wonderful characters and their relationship brings plenty of laughs, as does Big Red's narration. The plot gets a little bogged down in the middle, but everything does come together for a compelling climax. And what a cast of characters - you've got English nobility, a wannabe cowboy, real cowboys, and a Swedish chef. The book does contain more foul language then I normally like, and I could have done without the fart jokes. But they only dampened my enjoyment slightly.

This book easily blurs genre lines. If you enjoy Westerns or mysteries, you'll enjoy it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 68 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Just Plain Fun 17 Mar 2006
By Rick Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book makes the reader smile on every page. It is not laugh out loud funny, but consistently amusing throughout. The narrator, one of the two brothers who are at the center of the yarn, is a comedian - if he does say so himself.

The Amlinger brothers, Big Red (narrator) and Old Red, are cowboys. Big Red has read Sherlock Holmes stories to his older brother who can not read and Old Red has taken them to heart. The brothers go to work on a ranch known for its nefarious bosses. A body is found. Apparently, the man was killed in a stampede. Old Red doubts it and the Holmesian hunt is on...Old Red goes deducifyin'.

This is a true mix of a western and a Sherlock Holmes type Mystery. Mr. Hockensmith catches the flavor of both tremendously with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek attitude so the depiction of neither genre is "over the top". There are more amusing, and apt, metaphors in this book than any other I have ever read. They were amusing to read and I found myself looking forward to the next one, which was never a long wait.

The characters, especially the brothers are very good. The supporting cast varies from drovers to evil foremen to an English duke, who, of course has met Holmes and hates him, and a damsel.

Lastly, the plot was a good one. Like Holmes, Old Red is always a step ahead of his brother/Watson and the reader. He, of course, wraps it all up in the end.

There are a number of Holmes knock-offs and books about Holmes after retirement, etc. out there. This is not one. Holmes is merely Old Red's hero. Mr. Hockensmith then concocts a Holmes-like mystery told in a western twang. Holmes fans will not be offended since he is only an inspiration to this amateur sleuth.

Highly recommended. This is a decent mystery that light-heartedly combines the features of Sherlock Holmes and dime westerns.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Sherlock Holmes inspired Old West mystery 1 May 2006
By Cory D. Slipman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Steve Hockensmith's debut novel "Holmes on the Range" is an amusing Conan Doyle inspired mystery set in the untamed frontier of 1893 Montana. The book chronicles the exploits of the Amlingmeyer brothers Gustav and Otto, known as Old Red and Big Red. The brothers were itinerant cowboys, a result of a series of tragedies that wiped out their entire German immigrant family in rural Kansas. Before flood waters and smallpox decimated the Amlingmeyer family, the illiterate Gustav set out to make a living as a cow puncher. The younger Otto, the narrator of this tale, received some education and worked as a granary clerk. A resulting flood wiped out the whole family, save Otto, who joined up with his brother on the range.

They were currently employed as dollar a day cowhands on the Bar VR cattle ranch in Montana. When they accidently came across the apparently stampeded body of what was believed to be the ranch manager named Perkins, curiosity got the better of them. Gustav, a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, began to investigate the death in typical Holmes fashion looking for clues.

The ranch was now being run by a pair of unsavory and underhanded brothers the McPhersons, Uly and Spider. The ranch soon became the locus of a new wider array of suspects into the strange occurrences at the ranch. The owner of the ranch, the English Duke of Balmoral arrived with his entourage just days after the unfortunate demise of the manager Perkins. This arrival was soon followed by the shooting death of top ranch hand Boudreaux, an albino Negro, under some very queer circumstances.

Old Red (Gustav) aided by Big Red (Otto) were allowed to shirk their ranch duties by the Duke in order to investigate the crimes. The Duke, an inveterate gambler had as his motivation, a 200 pound wager he made with his young associate Brackwell, son of an English earl. The Duke bet that Old Red and Big Red couldn't provide a plausible explanation for the mysterious deaths before the arrival of the authorities.

Using Holmesian deductive reasoning the Amlingmeyer brothers eventually found the answers to the mysteries on the Bar VR ranch. Author Hockensmith has a bright future should he continue to write about the exploits of Old Red and Big Red.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Pretty Decent Debut, I Reckon 20 Mar 2007
By Mark Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Old Red and Big Red are the last two members of their family. With nothing to tie them down, the brothers drift from place to place looking for work.

That's how they come to find themselves in Montana during the winter of 1893. Times are hard and the two are reduced to waiting out the winter hoping to get hired once spring round up starts.

But one day, the foreman of the Bar VR ranch offers them jobs. Despite the rumors of something mysterious happening there, the two take the jobs.

Or maybe it is because of the rumors. See, Old Red has recently heard some of the stories about Sherlock Holmes and has become enthralled with the idea of solving a case of his own.

The brothers arrive with the other men hired at the time and find themselves confined to the area around the massive ranch house. But Old Red still finds every excuse he can to sniff out clues. But when the ranch manager dies in a stampede, it looks like he'll have a chance to truly play detective.

No matter what else is said about this book, you've got to admit it is fun. The brothers are wonderful characters and their relationship brings plenty of laughs, as does Big Red's narration. The plot gets a little bogged down in the middle, but everything does come together for a compelling climax. And what a cast of characters - you've got English nobility, a wannabe cowboy, real cowboys, and a Swedish chef. The book does contain more foul language then I normally like, and I could have done without the fart jokes. But they only dampened my enjoyment slightly.

This book easily blurs genre lines. If you enjoy Westerns or mysteries, you'll enjoy it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Fantastically Fun! I'm Ready to Saddle Up With Otto! 12 Sep 2006
By C. Ball - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought the whole title and premise was very clever, and I love Holmes so I picked it up and found an author after my own heart. This is one heck of a book, incredibly fun and witty and written in cowboy-speak so well you will be conversin' with cattlehands in no time. The story keeps you riveted and the writing keeps you entralled. Did I mention this was incredibly fun? I hear there is some dispute as to why Steve's name is on the book instead of Otto's. I reckon there will be a thrashin' a' comin'. Buy it, and devour it. You will thank me.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An American Original Good Read ! 10 Mar 2006
By James Neville - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What a fun book! And a clever idea well done: two cowpoke brothers as Watson and Holmes in the old west! :)

Owen Wister (The Virginian) and Conan Doyle (Study in Scarlet) come together in an American original. Cowboy brothers reprise Watson and Holmes solving two murders, one by gun and one by cattle stampede no less.

All the classic western elements are there: English owners, scurvy outlaw foreman, and the bunkhouse gang. What kept this tale moving was the narrative by "Big Red" (the Watson) seeing his brother emerge from being a "hand" (cowhand) to being a "mind" (detective) working out a truly intricate plot.

Quite moving really and a heckuva good read!
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