Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Crack in the Lens” as Want to Read:
The Crack in the Lens
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Crack in the Lens (Holmes On the Range Mystery #4)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  372 ratings  ·  49 reviews
In 1893, Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer and his brother, Gustav "Old Red," find themselves in a situation that they never expected: they have a bit of money and time to do something other than scramble. It's enough to confound even that most unconfoundable of men, their mutual inspiration, Sherlock Holmes.

So Old Red decides that it's time for the two of them to head off to t
Audio CD
Published August 4th 2009 by Tantor Media (first published July 21st 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Crack in the Lens, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Crack in the Lens

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 546)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Brothers, Otto “Big Red” and Gustav “Old Red” Amlingmeyer are back. This time things are personal. A long time ago, Old Red’s fiancée, Adeline was murdered. Old Red has carried regret with him that he was not in town, when Adeline was killed. Big and Old Red does some investigating to finally get justice for Adeline. What they uncover just may be more than the brothers can handle.

The Crack in the Lens is the fourth book Holmes on the Range mystery. I have not read any of the prior three novels.
If you love historical fiction in the USA, you'll love this one set in San Marco, Texas. In the 1890s, we're introduced to two German red-haired brothers, Gustav "Old Red" Amlingmeyer and Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer. We watch them travel across the USA, solving mystery along the way with the Holmes method, based on Sherlock Holmes. Otto's a novelist, and Gustav tag along for the ride. There's tons of humorous moments in this historical mystery that separates them from the rest. When they enter th ...more
I've thoroughly enjoyed each book in the series so far. Mystery with a comic aspect along with a view of 19th century sensibilities and current topics.
The brothers clash with a Jack the Ripper type while seeking answers back "home." Wondering if they'll end up as goat farmers next? We'll find out soon in the next volume. This one didn't flow as fast as some of the previous works but it was still fun and a hoot to read. Trouble seems to find these boys and they come very close to being deducified out of existence but for the grace of _____- you'll have to find out.
Otto “Big Red” Amlingmeyer and his brother Gustav, “Old Red” are back. They are looking for the person who killed Gustav's sweetheart over five years before. She was a "lady of the evening" but was going to run away with Gustav and begin a new life when she was brutally murdered. Gustav's reaction was to reach for a bottle and drown his sorrows. Now that he has studied Sherlock Holmes' methods, he and Otto feel that they can find the answers quickly. This series is pretty good. I listened to it ...more
Patrick Fleming
The fourth installment in the saga of the Amlingmeyer brother, Old Red and Big Red, is much more personal that the first three. Now that Old Red (Gustav, or Gloomy Gus) has more practice at deducifying, he brings his brother Big Red (Otto) to San Marcos Texas to solve the five year old mystery of who killed his one and only love. They are greeted by a community that is very different that the one Old Red left in 1888 - one that is none too eager to dredge up old pains. The pair add a few twists ...more
This is the 4th book in a series known as "Holmes on the Range", featuring two cowboy brothers, Otto "Big Red" and Gustav "Old Red" Amlingmeyer. I enjoyed the first two a lot (Holmes on the Range and On the Wrong Track) the third (The Black Dove) not as much, and with this one I am having trouble deciding whether I liked it or not. What I do like about this series is the characters of Otto and Gustav and the settings in the Old West cowboy days. Gustav is illiterate, but his brother Otto reads t ...more
Jennifer Petkus
It’s my bad luck to start reading Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range series, about two cowpokes who solve crimes in the Old West using the methods of Sherlock Holmes, just when the characters temporarily abandon “deducifyin’.”

In The Crack in the Lens, Gustav Amlingmeyer, or “Old Red,” and his brother Otto, “Big Red,” have ambled into San Marcos, Texas, to solve the murder five years earlier of Adeline, a woman whose virtue could be easily bought and for whom Old Red had fallen in love. It’s
#4 "Holmes on the Range" mystery set in the 1890's American West and featuring the Amlingmeyer brothers Gustav ("Old Red") and Otto ("Big Red.") Otto's publishing deal has come through so the boys take the advance and head to San Marcos, Texas where Gustav had lived and worked five years previously, and where the love of his life, a whore called Gertie, was brutally butchered. He finally feels that he's got his hero Sherlock Holmes' deducifyin' methods down pat so he can go back and find who kil ...more
Mark Baker
Brothers Old Red and Big Red travel back to Texas to figure out who killed the love of Old Red's life several years before. This is the darkest book in the series so far without quite as much humor. But it was still compelling reading for fans of the series.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
While this one wasn't as funny as the first books, I love the Brothers and keep wanting to hear all about their exploits in the old west. There's a fair bit of Old Red's history in this book, which is definitely not all sweetness and light. Much of it was surprising to me, but it felt like I was finding out some of the details of a dear friend's background. In the end, I didn't love him a whit less. This story includes a hefty dose of personal tragedy which adds a massive amount of depth to the ...more
I was worried for a while that Hockensmith would go the way of Black and Evanovich, constantly recycling their characters and predicaments. Not so this time out for Gustav and Otto. This tale of "Holmes on the Range" works well.

Gustav has dragged his brother, "Big Red," back to San Marcos, Texas, the town he left just in time to rescue his kid brother from the flood that destroyed their family and homestead almost five years before. The reason that Gustav needs to return is that the murder of h
Ughhh. Why? Why did I even bother? I don't like to go all negative on a writer trying to earn a living, but in truth I thought this was a dismal failure both as a Western and a mystery. If you're going to use the cachet of Sherlock Holmes to sell your book, you'd better live up to the challenge - and very very few writers have. I have to wonder if the first on the series (wow, there's a series of these *registers blank amazement*) was any better - yes, I did skip the first couple books, I'm that ...more
Diana Petty-stone
The Amlingmeyer brothers as would be dectectives, following in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes, go to San Marcos Texas in search of answers to the death of Old Red's sweetheard. Lots of "decucifying", colorful characters and vivid images.
Now that Big Red has started selling stories about his brother, Old Red, and his detective prowess, the two have the leisure to return to Texas, where--in 1888--Old Red lost the love of his life to a murderer. Old Red expects to find some of his old cowboy friends available to help him, but finds that everyone, even the new marshal, shuns them. Even worse, they almost end up the guests of honor at not one but two lynchings. Someone doesn't want Old Red to find out what happened to Gertie, and as ...more
Written in Mark Twain ' folksy style, the book is both entertaining & suspenseful. It is part of Hockensmith ' s series about two wild west dectectives.
If you haven't found this series yet, stop reading and go buy (yes BUY) Mr. Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range. Encourage the man! Send him royalties, roses, whatever it takes, for him to telling these very tall tales of Old Red and Big Red, a pair of cowboy brothers "deductifying" their way through the changing West.

If you know this series, this is another delightful addition, with the duo being invited to a "necktie party." And, of course, they're the ones with the ropes around their necks. Th
Rina Ribena
Not in any way remotely related to the Sherlock Holmes stories. If I consider it on it's own merit and not in the Holmes field I still didn't enjoy the book. I didn't root for the characters, and the background of wild west America felt just like that..a flat background.
Cathrine Bonham
This book is a little bit darker than the previous three books in this series. The danger is a little more real and the killer is all kinds of evil. This time Old Red is investigating the five year old murder of the dearly departed love of his life. The investigation is not only hindered by Old Red's personal intrest but also by the fact that the entire twon is out to get them.

It turns out that there is a killer called Texas Jack who has killed one prostitue a year for the last five years. Now o
It had "Holmes" in the title - so I was a sucker for it !
The first of this series was - "Holmes on the Range"
and it was not exactly what I was expecting, but it was a hoot and although I cringed at the rather 'low' humor - couldn't help but laugh and enjoy the goofy brother and the references to Holmes, fresh twist on cowboy life and the mystery to be solved.
I'll be checking the rest of the series out of the library.
(Will apply this to the others I've read, also).
Read in 2011.
Another Holmes on the Range mystery. This time Otto & Gustav are back in Texas investigating the 5 year old murder of Gustav's prostitute girlfriend. I liked this one better than "The Black Dove", but 2 in a row dealing with prostitutes - really. It does seem good to put the cowboys back in the country, and there are lots of funny situations here as well. I must say that the reader on the audio book is hilarious and really goes all out to bring humor to the story.
Tim Hicks
Yup. Not quite as good as the others most of the way through, but by the end everything comes together nicely and all the carefully-placed clues fall into place. If you don't like gory perhaps you could skip this one; there's more than one "Eww!" scene. But they were necessary to the plot. Perhaps in this one there's a tad too much of the standard detective trope of heading straight into trouble at every opportunity. But it was still a good read.
Was a little bit hard to get into, rather slow for the first half or so of the book but then the pace picked up quite a bit at the end and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen.

I think this is the second book about the two main characters, but I didn't need to read the first one to be able to follow along with the story. Would recommend if you want a nice mystery to read before bedtime.
For me, maybe the humor in this series is running a little thin: wordy at times, with too many similes stretched like a cowboy's suspenders, maybe trying just a little too hard to be cute. That said, the characters filled out some, and the plotline -- the deducifyin' cowboy brothers investigate an American version of Jack the Ripper -- was more engaging than the last couple of books. Entertaining.
Jennifer Garlen
Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range books are always fun, and this one provides more thrilling and often very funny adventures for Big Red and Old Red, although there's a darker element at work here, too. Holmesian tribute and Western cowpokery might seem an odd mix, but Hockensmith makes it work, and it's a lot more interesting than a straight pastiche.
David Johnston
Old Red finally returns to solve the murder of the working girl he loved. Unlike some of the other installments in this series this isn't a tribute to some kind of classic crime fiction. More a tribute to classic crime nonfiction as they try to identify a Jack the Ripper copycat in a less than friendly western town.
Another great book in the series. Otto and Gustav return to Texas to try and find out who killed Gustav's lady friend five years ago. The story is full of close escapes, great characters, a few red herrings, and a good conclusion with a few twists on the "who done it". Very funny dialog, and a quick read.
Paula Hebert
just a fun read for some chuckles when you need a weekend with some smiles. big red and old red amlingmeyer-turn of the century cowpokes-decide they can sleuth as well as their hero sherlock holmes, and hijinks ensue. great dialogue, with a unique first person narrative. fourth in a series-all are fun.
Jan Polep
4th book in Holmes on the Range mystery series. Big Red and Old Red, cowboys who love Sherlock Holmes, solve a mystery connected with a soiled dove that was the love of Old Red's life way back when. Set in 1893 in Texas, it moves right along and makes sense. Hope the author keeps them coming...
I think the brotherly hijinks and interplay of Big Red and Old Red that I found so fresh earlier in the series have become worn as the trail they ride. Plus a mystery that I didn't care much about. Just not as fun a journey for me as On the Wrong Track two books earlier.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders: From the American Chronicles of John H. Watson, M.D.
  • The Night Calls
  • Beekeeping for Beginners (Mary Russell #10.5)
  • The Damascened Blade (Joe Sandilands, #3)
  • The Fiend in Human
  • Rag and Bone (Billy Boyle World War II, #5)
  • An Experiment In Treason (Sir John Fielding, #9)
  • The Man with the Lead Stomach (Nicolas Le Floch, #2)
  • Silent Murders (Roaring Twenties Mystery, #2)
  • The Canary Trainer: From the Memoirs of John H. Watson, M.D.
  • Murder in the Museum (Fethering, #4)
Steve Hockensmith is the author of the New York Times bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls and several other novels, including the Edgar Award finalist Holmes on the Range. He lives in Alameda, California.
More about Steve Hockensmith...

Other Books in the Series

Holmes On the Range Mystery (6 books)
  • Holmes on the Range
  • On the Wrong Track
  • The Black Dove
  • World's Greatest Sleuth!
  • Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes On The Range Mysteries
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After Holmes on the Range On the Wrong Track The Black Dove

Share This Book