Wednesday 14 February 2024


By Steve Hockensmith
Rough Edges Press, November 2023

Saddle up for adventure with the eccentric cowboy detectives, Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer, as they embark on a thrilling journey to establish their dream detective agency in the Wild West.

In this action-packed collection of five stories, join the brothers as they navigate disastrous homecoming trips, strange newspaper feuds, supernatural kidnappings, deadly Christmas celebrations, and a high-stakes conspiracy threatening to tarnish their budding careers.

With their Sherlock Holmes-inspired wit and determination, can they crack the cases and outsmart the culprits?

Partners in Crime
My Christmas Story
Curious Incidents
Bad News
Can the Cat Catch the Rat?

This is the second collection of short stories featuring the Amlingmeyer brothers, the first collection being Dear Mr. Holmes. Four of the tales were originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, with the other being a brand-new story. Like before, each tale is told through a letter written mainly to Big Red’s editor Mr. Smythe of Smythe & Associates Publishing, Ltd., who publish the Amlingmeyer stories in Smythe’s Frontier Detective Magazine. 

One of the greatest draws for me in this series is Big Red’s humorous observations in his narration of the brothers’ latest cases and the words he speaks during these events, which had me laughing out loud often. 

The title story takes us back to their hometown in Kansas and readers are filled in a little more about their past, before they became cowboys, which in turn lead to them becoming detectives. 

Each of the five tales offers a very different storyline, one changing quite dramatically mid-way through. Not all their cases involve murder either, which helps keep the stories fresh and individual. I don’t really want to say anything more about the stories as I don’t want to spoil what happens in them, other than to say there are some great twists to some of the plots. There are also lots of references to Sherlock Holmes and his methods of investigating a crime, with Old Red trying to use Holmes’ approaches to solve their own mysteries. 

Partners in Crime is another extremely entertaining read from Steve Hockensmith, and I can only hope he has many more adventures lined up for his fans. 

No comments: