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THE CRACK IN THE LENS by Steve Hockensmith


by Steve Hockensmith

Pub Date: July 21st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-37942-1
Publisher: Minotaur

The cowboy Sherlocks ride again (The Black Dove, 2008, etc.).

Otto and Gustav Amlingmeyer, disciples of the Gospel According to Holmes, are once more on the prowl. With a bit of cash in their pokes, they are temporarily freed from cow-punching and can focus on an even meatier case of murder. Dour, doleful Gustav was once passionately in love with Gertie, a gold-hearted lady of the night. Five years earlier, under circumstances shrouded in mystery, Gertie got herself done in, resulting in an anguished, distraught Gus. Why he has taken five years to decide to investigate those circumstances is also somewhat mysterious, but he informs Otto, “We’re goin’ to Texas,” in a tone that brooks no argument from his younger but not smarter brother. Predictably, their arrival in San Marcos finds them greeted not by open arms but by sidearms. The boys are roughed up, shot at and nearly lynched several times over. Do Holmes’ methods come to their rescue? Sure do, partner, though Watson might have been hard put to recognize them.

The Holmes on the Range series has seen better days: The boys still charm, but not enough to redeem some dreary plotting and tired prose.