The Crack in the Lens
Review: A Crack in the Lens is the fourth engaging mystery in the Holmes on the Range series by Steve Hockensmith, this time with brothers Gustav ("Old Red") and Otto ("Big Red") on a quest to settle a score.
Five years ago Gustav's fiancée Adeline was murdered, brutally killed while he was on a cattle drive. She worked as a lady of the night so the authorities didn't spend much time looking for her killer and no one was ever arrested for the crime. The brothers have a little money in their pockets, Otto having sold a story, so they decide to leave California for Texas where Adeline died. Gustav is an admirer of Sherlock Holmes, whose exploits have been recently chronicled. He believes he and Otto can do a little sleuthing themselves, possibly "deducify" what happened. But before they even reach their destination they're met by three hooded men who hang them from a tree. They escape, of course, but as Otto explains, they were meant to. If the men had intended to kill them, why hide their identities? Old Red and Big Red continue into town, but it's very different than what they remember, and they're considered unwelcome outsiders by the community. There's law and order … and religion. But there's still crime outside city limits. Someone who fancies himself as Jack the Ripper has been targeting prostitutes. Old Red and Big Red try to investigate but are tossed into jail for crimes they've allegedly committed. But locked up, how will they be able to use Old Red's "Sherlockery" to close the cases of the murdered women?
A Crack in the Lens is a wonderful, funny story wrapped around a clever murder mystery. The influence of the famous consulting detective is clearly felt throughout, albeit with a Texas twang and swagger. The characters and setting all have an authentic ring to them, and the narrative and dialog will have the reader grinning shamelessly. This delightful novel should be on everyone's summer reading list.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Crack in the Lens.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Crack in the Lens for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
World's Greatest Sleuth!
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), January 2011
ISBN-13: 9780312379438; ISBN-10: 0312379439
Location(s) referenced in The Crack in the Lens: Texas
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The Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith — A Holmes on the Range Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 2009
List Price: $24.99