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Publisher's Summary

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.

When another ranch hand turns up in an outhouse with a bullet in his brain, Old Red sees the perfect opportunity to put his Holmes-inspired detective talents to work and 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.

©2006 Steve Hockensmith; (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Mystery Writers of America 2007 Edgar Nominee, Best First Novel by an American Author

"Sherlockians, western fans, and mystery lovers who enjoy their whodunits leavened with humor should all be delighted by Hockensmith's captivating debut." (Publishers Weekly)
"This first novel will keep both mystery fans and afficionados of Westerns grinning from the first page to the last." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    85
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    73
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    46
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    13
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    11

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    51
  • 4 Stars
    27
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    15
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    44
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    23
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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Fred
  • fort collins, CO, USA
  • 04-24-06

For Holmes Sake

The talented reader added the right amount of western tones to this well written mystery. The ending was unexpected but completely reasonable. There is a lot of "deducifying" done by the Holmes on the range using skills we have had a chance to hone on our own readings of the Canon.
A very enjoyable read.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Janeen
  • Fresno, CA, USA
  • 04-27-08

What a fun listen this was!

I was looking for a new genre and found myself downloading this, although westerns don't usually grab my interest and I've never read a Sherlock Holmes book. I'm certainly glad to have found this series! I loved the story--not too much of a mystery to confuse the daylights out of me; enough western to give it a bunkhouse flavor, and colorful characters abound. The author's pace is perfect.
Certainly, the reader has done a brilliant job of things. If you go into this realizing it's read like a vaudville play, you'll get great pleasure from the listening.
I'm off to download the next in the series now...

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Happy Surprise

I'm not sure why I even chose this one, but I'm so glad I did. Although it's not a favourite genre for me, I was entertained all the way. The writer is very funny and fairly original.

Audio: This reader came so close to being in the top rank, but he has a tendency to over-act slightly. Much of the time he sounds more like he's telling a story on a Vaudeville stage rather than imparting to you something that really happened. Still, he's endearing and talented.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dalekchap
  • San Diego, CA United States
  • 04-22-06

Ranch Hand Holmes

A Montana based contemporary of Holmes who has followed Watson's stories and faithfully duplicated the great detectives methods. It is a witty and entertaining story.
I really look forward to more Old Red and Big Red!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • BJG
  • Ellicott City, MD United States
  • 02-17-12

Good story, salty language

I enjoyed this a lot. It's a light hearted mystery set in the old west about two brothers who go about "Holmesifying" when murder strikes the ranch where they work. It's an interesting mystery with an entertaining setting and memorable characters. The narrator does a good job with the main characters, but a few of the minor ones are English and his accent is not good. His English ladie's maid voice is down right horrible. They are small characters, so it didn't bother me that much. Also, the characters curse a fair amount. Even using the N word a few times. It fits in with the setting, though, and it's not too exessive. I really liked it overall.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • I.
  • 11-24-08

A little goofy, but satisfying & well-paced

So I would actually give this 4 1/2 stars if I could, but rounded up as I enjoyed the story very much. Obviously, it's a humorous novel with a premise that requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. That said, I prefer that historical novels not have too many obvious anachronisms. There were definitely some moments that veered into silliness and improbability, but the characters, the story, the narrator, and the excellent pacing smoothed them over quickly. It's a lively and fairly original story with plenty of action and plot twists.
If you like humor, the old west, and Sherlock Holmes, this novel is for you.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A fun listen

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, if they were looking for something entertaining & light.

Which scene was your favorite?

Now, that'd be giving away something!

Any additional comments?

This is a story of a cowboy inspired by the stories of Holmes in the paper, no direct connection to the great detective otherwise. As such, it's a lot of fun as our determined cow puncher & his sidekick sort out what's amiss on the ranch. <br/>

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very Disappointed

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who is not easily offended by the N-word being used.

Would you ever listen to anything by Steve Hockensmith again?

Yes. I loved his Pride and Prejudice zombie books. I was eagerly anticipating another genre, but was sorely disappointed.

How could the performance have been better?

Mr. Dufris was great. It was the novel itself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Sherlock fans, you are going to love this!

I've loved Sherlock Holmes since I watched my first Basil Rathbone movie. This was a great spin on a classic. I'm not a western fan at all but I got into the story because of all the interaction between the two main characters who are brothers and cowboys in the Old West. What a lark!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • K
  • 04-29-15

Better previews would reduce refunds

The foul language ruins a classic franchise. Not family friendly. I'm sorry I have to take the time I could be spending with a good book to get a refund.