“Holmes on the Range” – Steve Hockensmith
Instead, it’s a good mystery and a good Western at same time, full of the sights, sounds and, especially, smells of Montana range life in the 1890s. There is pathos, there is cruelty, there are drama and tasty contrasts between rough-hewn ranch hands and their ranch’s aristocratic English owners. And, yes, there are funny lines. The cowboys’ speech is colorful, some of it wonderfully so, but not over the top:
“Blastin’ yourself in the skull ain’t sharpshootin’. You’d have to get your hand right up against your noggin. And if you did that, not only would you end up wearin’ your brains for a glove … "Gustav Amlingmeyer, called "Old Red," is the Holmes of the title. He has a Watson in his brother Otto, or Big Red, and he eagerly awaits old copies of Harper’s magazine, so Big Red can read him the latest exploits of that great deducifyin’ and detectiving Englishman, Sherlock Holmes. The great detective is both a model and an inspiration for the admirable Old Red.
“I smacked into its mangy hide like a snowball dashed against the side of a barn, coming down hard on my saddle-warmer … "
(Hockensmith has followed Holmes on the Range with two more in the series: On the Wrong Track and the new The Black Dove.)
"`Are you American or British?' Old Red asked.© Peter Rozovsky 2008
"Edwards simply glowered for a moment, obviously weighing whether to answer.
"`I'm from Boston,' he finally said.
"`Oh?' Gustav rubbed his chin, his left eyebrow arched up high. `You know, I'm not sure if that really answers my question.'"
Labels: Steve Hockensmith