The Crack in the Lens: A Holmes on the Range Mystery
This book, the fourth in a series, answers the question “What would it be like if Sherlock Holmes was a cowpoke in 1890s Texas?” It sounds a bit ridiculous, but that just adds to our admiration of Steve Hockensmith and his ability to blend wildly different genres into a successful story.
At this point in the series the Amlingmeyer brothers have discovered, and in their eyes become masters of, the great detective Sherlock Holmes. They travel to San Marcos, Texas to “deducify” a mystery that’s both heinous and personal. Five years ago, Gustav Amlingmeyer, the older brother, fell in love with a prostitute in San Marcos and planned to marry her. These plans were destroyed when she was brutally murdered.
When the brothers return to San Marcos to solve the murder, they discover two stunning things. First, it appears the death of Gustav’s fiancée was one of several Jack the Ripper-like murders. Second, the people who run San Marcos don’t want two cowboys stirring up a serial murder scandal.
Hockensmith does much more than borrow the investigative techniques of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective. He creates two appealing characters who spice their conversations with cowboy humor and solve a clever murder at the same time. No wonder all three of his previous “Holmes on the Range” mysteries were nominated for Edgar, Shamus and Anthony awards.