Review: Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries

Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries
Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries by Steve Hockensmith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whether or not you’ve read any of the “Holmes on the Range” books yet, you will love this set of stories set in the 1890’s west with adventure, mystery and humor. I’ll bet afterward you’ll be stamping at the bit for more.

Most of these seven stories were originally published in a nationally-known mystery magazine, but because I don’t read that prestigious periodical, they were all new to me. The author was kind enough to send me this book to review, and since the Amlingmeyer Brothers are two of my favorite characters, so this was a very enjoyable assignment.

Each story is in the form of a letter from ‘Big Red,’ (Otto) the literate, younger brother, to various recipients including their idol Sherlock Holmes, who is non-fictional in the Amlingmeyer’s world; Holme’s deputy John Watson at The Strand Magazine in London; and Harper’s Weekly, a combination of “People” magazine and the “New York Times” of that day.

Big Red relates recent adventures in which the brothers display their ‘deducifying’ skills to catch bandits, solve murders, and keep friends out of trouble (let alone themselves). The writing is full of fun characters and excellent description. Corny jokes included, the humor is a big draw for me, and the relationship between the brothers provides a lot of opportunity for “he said/he said” banter, like “Sometimes I think if words were water, my brother would be Death Valley.”

Wisecracks aside, the mysteries are thoughtful and the stories are long enough to have a life of their own. Although the brothers seem to get themselves into some fairly crazy situations, it’s all in good fun. Highly recommended for everyone who loves good stories, good, clean humor, and especially historical mysteries.
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