Fraternal Wild West detectives solve another case and still get no respect.
While filling out applications at the prestigious Pinkerton Agency, Gustav “Old Red” Amlingmeyer reflects on previous adventures he’s shared with his brother, Otto “Big Red” (On the Wrong Track, 2007, etc.). Gustav has been obsessed with Holmes ever since reading Arthur Conan Doyle, and Otto tags along as a reluctant Watson who narrates their tales with an engaging mixture of gusto and cynicism. Rejected by Pinkerton yet again, the duo return to the office of their previous employer, the Southern Pacific Railroad, which has ignominiously sidelined them after the theft of their railroad police badges. Gustav gets exercised once more over the continuing disappearance of pretty colleague Diana Corvus. To take his brother’s mind off these troubles, Otto offers a profiling challenge that leads then to Chinatown and the inscrutable doctor Gee Woo Chan. Surprisingly, they cross paths with Diana, who claims to have been looking for them as well. A far more focused and aggressive investigator than the boys, she leads them around by the nose on a mission whose details are revealed piecemeal. After Doc Chan turns up dead, the trio find themselves challenged by the dark treachery of Chinatown.
Hockensmith’s third Holmes on the Range mystery is buoyant and consistently entertaining. Cheeky chapter titles add additional zip.