In their fifth “Holmes on the Range” adventure, the deductifyin’ Amlingmeyer brothers (The Crack in the Lens, 2009, etc.) razzle-dazzle ’em in Chicago.
Much of the buzz in the closing days of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair concerns an intriguing new contest. A prize of $10,000—plus attendant bragging rights—will go to the winner, dubbed the “World’s Greatest Sleuth.” Otto, aka Big Red (because he’s big), and Gustav, aka Old Red (he’s older), the range-ridin’, cow-punchin’, clue-sniffin’ brothers Amlingmeyer, have been invited to trek east to compete against a bevy of crack Sherlockians. It’s a number that will not include the master of them all, of course. Holmes’s recent misadventure at the Reichenbach Falls is universally believed to have precluded that. Still, his ratiocinative spirit will permeate the proceedings, since the contestants, who’ll be judged by no less a detective icon than Mr. William Pinkerton, will be required to “deductify” in the approved Holmesian manner. Before the game gets well afoot, however, an unexpected development gives the puzzle-chasers pause. Suddenly there’s a real corpse belonging to puzzle-master Armstrong B. Curtis, whose untimely end could be aptly described as cheesy. Or, as Gustav says at the moment of discovery: “It’s a dead feller facedown in cheddar.”
The Amlingmeyers are amiable, the deductifying acceptable, but the funny stuff isn't always that laughable.