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Holmes on the Range (Holmes on the Range Series #1)

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Because 1893 is a tough year in Montana, any job is a good job. When Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at the secretive Bar VR cattle spread, they're not expecting much more than hard work, bad pay, and a comfortable campfire around which they can enjoy their favorite pastime: scouring Harper's Weekly for stories about the famous Sherlock Holmes.

When the boys come across a dead body that looks a whole lot like the leftovers of an unfortunate encounter with ...

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New York 2006 Hard cover First edition. First edition first printing. New in new dust jacket. First edition first printing of the first novel in the Big Red / Little Red series. ... In fine / fine unread condition. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 294 p. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Holmes on the Range (Holmes on the Range Series #1)

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Overview

Because 1893 is a tough year in Montana, any job is a good job. When Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at the secretive Bar VR cattle spread, they're not expecting much more than hard work, bad pay, and a comfortable campfire around which they can enjoy their favorite pastime: scouring Harper's Weekly for stories about the famous Sherlock Holmes.

When the boys come across a dead body that looks a whole lot like the leftovers of an unfortunate encounter with a cattle stampede, Old Red sees the perfect opportunity to employ his Holmes-inspired deducifyin' skills. Putting his ranch work squarely on the back burner, he sets out to solve the case. Big Red, like it or not (and mostly he does not), is along for the wild ride in this clever, compelling, and completely one-of-a-kind mystery.

1893 is a tough year in Montana, and any job is a good job. When Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at the secretive Bar-VR cattle spread, they're not expecting much more than hard work, bad pay, and a comfortable campfire around which they can enjoy their favorite pastime: scouring Harper's Weekly for stories about the famous Sherlock Holmes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Award-winning narrator William Dufris gives a virtuoso performance on this enormously entertaining tale of Gustave "Old Red" Amlingmeyer, a Montana cowboy who dreams of being a western Sherlock Holmes. When mysterious murders occur on the ranch where he and his brother are working, Old Red sees his chance and immediately sets out to sniff out the culprit. The story is told in first person by the would-be detective's kid brother, Otto ("Big Red"), and with an authentic western drawl Dufris slips into the role as comfortably as an old pair of cowboy boots, conveying Big Red's amiability and frequent befuddlement as he struggles to keep up with his older brother's "deducifyin' ". Dufris creates believable, distinctive voices for a large and colorful cast-among them the gravel-voiced ranch foreman, a Cockney cowboy, a pompous English duke and his ladylike daughter and a Swedish cook-and does it so well that a listener might well believe he's listening to a full troupe of actors. A truly gifted narrator, memorable characters and a tale full of adventure and humor-what more could an audiobook fan ask for? Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's Minotaur hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 7). (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Forbes Magazine
Sherlock Holmes is indirectly involved in Hockensmith’s mystery. A couple of colorful cowboys, brothers Gustav (Old Red) and Otto (Big Red) Amlingmeyer find themselves employed at a mysterious ranch. Foul play is afoot, and, having read Watson’s stories about his illustrious companion in magazines, the brothers employ Holmesian methods to try to solve the case of how an albino cowboy turned up dead in a locked outhouse, as well as another death that looks accidental--but isn’t. The brothers’ adventure involves plenty of sleuthing and many unusual characters, including an English lord and a man-eating mountaineer aptly named Hungry Bob. A wild, well-told western mystery. (27 Mar 2006)
—Steve Forbes
Kirkus Reviews
Inspired by the Baker Street genius, a Montana cowboy solves some murders at the cattle ranch where he works. Redheaded cowpoke Gustav Amlingmeyer ("Old Red") has a hankering for the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. After reading Doyle's "The Red-Headed League," he feels that emulating the famous sleuth is his destiny. Gustav's younger brother Otto ("Big Red"), playing Watson to his brother's Holmes, relates a tale evocative of sagebrush and cactus. The brothers sign on for a hitch at the Bar-VR cattle ranch, where they work alongside a quirky collection of ranch hands with handles like Swivel-Eye and Crazymouth. Tough as they are, a chill goes through the group when they learn that a frontier cannibal named Hungry Bob has escaped from jail. An ornery hand named Perkins disappears, and it's naturally assumed that Hungry Bob is the culprit. Only Old Red has a contrary opinion and sets out to prove it, risking retaliation from both his cranky cohorts and the killer, if there is one. More mystifying is the death of the albino foreman Boudreaux, found locked in the outhouse clutching his Peacemaker. Looks like a suicide, but Old Red effectively dissects the evidence and makes a case for murder. Can the solution be far behind?Hockensmith's debut is a winning twist on a proven franchise. Playful chapter titles add authenticity and flavor.
From the Publisher
"Captivating.... The skillful plotting and characterization augur well for the sequel." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312347802
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2006
  • Series: Holmes on the Range Series , #1
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.42 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Hockensmith writes a monthly column for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and stories featuring Big Red and Old Red appear regularly in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. He has been a finalist for the Shamus Award for his short-story writing. Holmes on the Range is his first novel.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2006

    A powerful narration by William Dufris

    Steve Hockensmith's Holmes On The Range receives a powerful narration by William Dufris, whose award-winning voice lends a strong boost to a mystery set in 1893 and revolving around two ranch hands hired at a secretive cattle spread. Their penchant for Sherlock Holmes tales leads to their own style of investigation as results come in and threats heighten tensions.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great Holmes imitation, but oh, that title!

    I'm sure Steve Hockensmith could've come up with a better title than "Holmes on the Range". It's really a terrible pun, but that doesn't distract from the story he's telling. <BR/><BR/>Gustav "Old Red" and Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer sign on as hired hands of a sort at the Bar VR ranch somewhere in Montana near the end of the 19th century, where it becomes more than obvious that there's something funny going on. Old Red has become a fan of Sherlock Holmes after hearing his brother read him some of the Holmes stories (Old Red is illiterate) and decides to emulate his hero by, in his words, deducifyin' what's going on at the ranch. <BR/><BR/>The deducifyin' is worthy of the great man himself, although Old Red is not an exact imitation of Holmes. No one could be - Holmes was, emotionally speaking, a virtual automaton, and Old Red shows more signs of humanity than Holmes ever did. I was completely bamboozled right up until the end and look forward to reading more about Gustav and Otto (who is, by the way, nothing like Watson, save that he's the narrator of this tale and acts as the intellectual foil for Gustav, just as Watson did for Holmes). <BR/><BR/>The supporting characters are interesting as well. The McPherson brothers were properly villainous and would have fit right into "A Study in Scarlet" or "The Valley of Fear". And I also like how Hockensmith borrowed from the tale of "The Noble Bachelor" to bring in the characters of the Duke of Balmoral and his entourage. <BR/><BR/>I was, however, somewhat disappointed by the rest of the so-called "Hornet's Nesters" who shared quarters with Big Red and Old Red. They kind of reminded me of stock characters in the old Western movies and with one exception didn't really seem to serve much purpose in the story. <BR/><BR/>The jacket of this book mentions that Hockensmith has written some short stories about Old Red and Big Red that appear in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. I think I'll see if I can find some of those stories.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2006

    Great Book!

    This is a very rewarding and satisfying twist on the Sherlock Holmes pastiche. Hockensmith's writing is unobtrusive, yet compelling. You NEVER here the typewriter in the background as one often does while reading genre fiction. It's too bad the producers of PBS's Mystery aren't particularly adventurous because this would make a fantastic beginning to a marvelous TV serial. Let's hope Hockensmith has more planned for the future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Refreshing take on the Holmes mystique

    In 1892 during a cattle drive in Montana, Otto ¿Big Red¿ Amlingmeyer reads aloud around the campfire from the novel the Red Headed League. His brother Gustav, known as ¿Big Red¿ enjoys the cleverness of the lead protagonist, Sherlock Holmes, vowing to emulate his new hero as he believes he has deduced his life¿s calling.----- After spending most of their money in Miles City, the ¿Red¿ siblings obtain work at the Bar VR Ranch. Not long afterward the manager Perkins, who never works outside, dies in a stampede that everyone assumes is a tragic accident that is everyone except Big Red wearing his Holmes hat wonders if a murder occurred. When a second person dies allegedly a suicide, Big Red shifts to high sleuthing gear as he knows something a foul is a foot.------ This refreshing take on the Holmes mystique will have the audience hooked from the first fumble by Big Red and keep readers enthralled until the final solution when the obvious is set aside. The story line deftly blends the Wild West with sleuthing so that fans of the great detective will enjoy leaving Baker St for Montana while the historical Americana crowd will appreciate this deep tale. Elementary readers, a sequel is a must.---- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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