Saturday, 16 April 2011

Dear Mr. Holmes

By Steve Hockensmith
April 2011

For fans of Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range series this collection of short stories is something you should not miss. For those who’d like to discover just why so much praise is directed at Steve Hockensmith’s books, then this is the perfect place to start.

Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer have starred in five "Holmes on the Range" novels, rustling up award nominations and fans aplenty as they cracked mysteries using the methods of their hero, Sherlock Holmes. How did these Old West drifters first discover Holmes, though? What were they doing before their novel adventures began? And how did their early, awkward stabs at "deducifying" turn out? These seven short stories provide the answers.

In "Dear Mr. Holmes," Old Red first gets the itch to turn detective -- and just in time, too, because a killer's stalking him and his brother along a Kansas cattle trail. In "Gustav Amlingmeyer, Holmes of the Range," Old Red's attempt to settle down and open his own "cafay" goes haywire when one of the customers gets a side order of arsenic with his steak and potatoes. In "Wolves in Winter," Big Red and Old Red go up against deadly predators of both the two- and four-legged variety. And the adventure continues in four more stories…

Here are the stories you’ll find in this collection:

Dear Mr. Holmes
Gustav Amlingmeyer, Holmes of the Range
Wolves in Winter
Dear Dr. Watson
The Water Indian
The Devil’s Acre
Greetings from Purgatory!

All but one of these tales was previously published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. The odd one out being “The Water Indian” which first appeared in the anthology Ghost Towns.

Each tale is presented as a letter to either a publisher or a specific person: Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Watson for instance. All are fast moving stories of mystery and suspense in a western setting. All are told in an entertaining and laugh-out-loud, easy to read, style that makes it impossible to stop reading them until you’ve reached the end. There are many memorable moments too, such as the Amlingmeyer’s encounter with a vicious dog – this painted some hilarious images within my mind.

Dear Mr. Holmes has just been released as a paperback and ebook earlier this week, and is definitely worth spending a few dollars on.

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