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Holmes on the Range (Holmes On the Range Mystery #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  1,467 Ratings  ·  268 Reviews
Because 1893 is a tough year in Montana, any job is a good job. When Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer sign on as ranch hands at the secretive Bar VR cattle spread, they're not expecting much more than hard work, bad pay, and a comfortable campfire around which they can enjoy their favorite pastime: scouring Harper's Weekly for stories about the famous Sherlock Holmes.

When t
ebook, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tim Hicks
May 11, 2012 Tim Hicks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are OK with a western mystery and dry humour
Wal, I reckon I just done had me a real fine ole read there.

You might not like this if you don't care for characters who say "Yup," but if yer one a them, what in tarnation were ya readin' this here book fer?

This is my second Red/Red novel, and better than the first (which was the one at the Chicago Exposition, and quite good).

The two Reds are a good pair, and the author has done a good job of making them equivalent to Holmes and Watson without being just a knock-off. Their back story is beli
Aug 12, 2008 Spuddie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is #1 in the ‘Holmes on the Range’ historical mysteries series, set in 1890’s Montana. Features “Big Red” Otto Amlingmeyer and his brother “Old Red” Gustav, who are wandering cowboys who take temporary jobs offered by different ranches, and in this book they’re hired by Uly MacPherson, manager of the Castlemere Ranche, commonly known as the Bar VR. It’s not an assignment they’d normally take, as the MacPherson brothers and the Bar VR don’t exactly have a great reputation, but Old Red takes ...more
Dec 02, 2007 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read one of Hockensmith's short stories in Ellery Queen. It was an old west mystery solved by an uneducated but highly intelligent Sherlock Holmes afficionado. When I heard he was expanding the conceit into a novel, I wanted to check it out, although I wasn't sure how well the idea would hold up when stretched to book length. Turns out it makes a damn entertaining yarn.

Holmes on the Range follows the two surviving Amlingmyer brothers as they investigate the strange goings-on at the Bar VR ran
Mar 27, 2008 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's not afraid to get a little dirty while rustling up little doggies.
I first came across this book at the famed bookstore Bookpeople in Austin, TX. I came close to buying it there- but 1) I was on vacation, and running short on money. 2) I was in Austin, TX- where money is better spent on beer and music and food. 3) I worked (and still work) in a used bookstore back at home, so I could buy the book for there.

Flash Forward one year. I'd forgotten about the book- well, I'd forgotten the title and author and what the book looked like- so I became one of those people
Jun 19, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Holmes on the Range is a mystery starring two brothers working as ranch hands in 1893 Montana. Where is the hook for a reader? Gustav Amlingmeyer, the eldest of the two siblings, has been inspired by the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as read by his brother, Otto, out of Harper's Weekly. Gustav (Old Red) starts to practice his "deducifyin'" techniques when he and his brother sign on as cowhands at a ranch. Gustav knows that something is "afoot" when one of the ranch-hands is found dead in a locke ...more
If the cowboy vernacular doesn't irritate you, this is a fun little book. I listened to the audio version and was thoroughly entertained. I had to check and see whether the author was from Montana (he's not) because some of the dialogue was so familiar to me I thought surely he'd listened in on some real Montana cowboys.
Pamela Aidan
My husband and I listened to the audio version of Holmes on the Range during a trip to--of all places--Billings, Montana from our home in Idaho to visit his brothers & their families. He was more than a bit skeptical of Hockensmith's ability to pull off a combination of Sherlock Holmes and an authentic Montana cowboy voice. You see, his father had been raised on a cattle ranch at the start of the 20th century and cowboyed in his youth in southeastern Montana, a place that hadn't changed much ...more
Linda M
Mar 04, 2010 Linda M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My mother-in-law loved this book and I thought I would take a trip into a fun, fluffy mystery.

Well, shucks. This books is awful. As in, "thars' a rattler in my cornpone and he ain't so gay" awful.

Complete drivel and terrible writing, in my opinion. Here's an excerpt:

"Home sweet home," he signed as he hauled himself up.
"God damn," Anytime spat. "They may as well have us bunkin' in a hole in the ground."
"Ain't been nothin' but snakes in here in years," Pinky added.
"Maybe that's a good thing, I re
Joe Slavinsky
Jan 24, 2016 Joe Slavinsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "World's Greatest Sleuth", which is the 5th in this series, first, and I was so impressed, that I went back to this first book in the series. Hockensmith has apparently been writing short stories, many including the Amlingmeyer brothers, prior to this book, which is his first novel. The concept of this series is so different, and refreshing, that it leaves one wondering why no one had thought of it sooner. Two cowboys, in the late 19th century, being so enamored with the "true" stories of ...more
Robin Conley
Oct 13, 2012 Robin Conley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. The combination of a Montana cowboy using Sherlock Holmes's methods to solve a mystery was an intriguing one, and I think Hockensmith pulls it off well. The writing is interesting and funny at times, and I think the story kept me reading. I really enjoyed Big Red and Old Red, and I thought Big Red made a great narrator who could introduce the reader to the ways of the old west while simultaneously prying at Old Red and getting him to explain his methods of deduction. Ov ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up at the library for a challenge last month and never got to it. I wasn't even sure I would like it since I got it based on the cover (Pictionary challenge and this had a horse on it). I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't like the books I normally read but it wasn't bad. Basically, one of the 2 brothers was obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and he decided to take a crack at solving mysteries. They got jobs working on a ranch and end up smack dab in the middle of a mystery (perfe ...more
May 22, 2013 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
These surviving brothers who are fans of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories make a fascinating pair of protagonists with the elder being illiterate but the better analytic observer. Gustav “Old Red” Amlingmeyer becomes the itinerant proto-investigator leading his journal keeping proto-author brother, Otto “Big Red”, on a search for real paying cases for him to exercise his detective skills.
Nov 14, 2014 Michelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This one star is unfortunate. I think this would be a great story, but I only got through chapter 2. I'm sure some cowboys do talk this way, but I don't appreciate such rough language in my books, so I had to put it down. It really did seem like a good plot - 2 cowboys who read a Sherlock Holmes story and then set out to solve a mystery or two, Holmes-style.
Apr 29, 2011 Beth666ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun mystery series set in the late nineteenth-century U.S. West. The audio books, read by William Dufris, are an acquired taste as I feel the reading "dumbs down" the main character, but the series is fun.
Jun 04, 2008 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun mystery novel set on a ranch in the Old West. Old Red is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic/disciple. Big Red is his little brother, and the narrator. Both are ranch hands investigating a murder. Fun read.
It's a nice book, a 3.5 stars read, and it has a humorous take on Sherlock Holmes, fans of the great detective may enjoy it as much as I do.
Feb 21, 2011 Fatima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cowboys obsessed with Sherlock Holmes? Written by a dude from Alameda? Slam dunk.
Mary Mackie
This was a fun read! The author has an interesting concept, and his sense of humor lends fun to the characters. Keeps you guessing up to the end on some of the mysterious points.
Mar 20, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otto and Gustav Amlingmeyer are cowboys in Montana in the 1890s. The rest of their family is dead, and the family savings are gone, so they find what work they can on different ranches. Otto is known as Big Red, Gustav as Old Red, because (though still in this twenties) he's very serious. Gustav is illiterate, and Otto reads to him from whatever magazines he can find. Harper's has serialized stories like The Speckled Band. Gustav makes Sherlock Holmes his hero and his role-model.
So when Big Red
As the title implies this is the story of a cowboy who idolizes Sherlock Holmes. Set at the height of the American Frontier with ranches and lawlessness aplenty it follows the adventures of the Amlingmeyer brothers, Gustav (Old Red) and Otto (Big Red), as they hire themselves out as ranch hands in Montana and solve a few mysteries while they are at it.

The narrating role of Dr. Watson is played by younger brother Otto. He is a friendly talkative fellow with little ambition beyond sticking like g
May 26, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderful affirmation of the power of brotherly love, optimism, and perseverance. Two brothers, Gustav and Otto Amlingmeyer--affectionately known as Old Red and Big Red--have experienced a lifetime's worth of heartache, loss, and all around bad luck in their young lives, and find themselves looking for work as cow hands at the wrong time of year in a depressed Montana town. After losing their farm, their family, and their money, the only thing these brothers have left is each othe ...more
Apr 08, 2008 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
This book is chocked full of interesting characters and Holmesian-style detective work. Gus and Otto are two brothers who cowboy together. Gus is illiterate and Otto has read (repeatedly) aloud to his brother many of the stories of Sherlock Holmes. Gus takes it in his head to begin adopting the deductive method and finally, when they get hired to work on a ranch with strange goings on, Gus sets out to use Holmes' methods. Otto becomes an annoyed Dr. Watson type sidekick and they find themselves ...more
Somehow I forgot to review this book when I read it over a year ago...but I still remember it so clearly. That is a testament to its uniqueness.

Holmes on the Range is the story of two brothers, Otto and Gustav Amlingmeyer, who work as ranch least, that's their day job. In this book, they become amateur detectives. When hiring on at the Bar-VR in Montana, it soon becomes clear that something is amiss, and Gustav gets to put into practice all of the techniques he has learned from his id
Mar 29, 2016 Shawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had just suffered through a couple of extremely dismal "mysteries" by some big names in the genre when I saw "Holmes on the Range" on the shelf in the library. It looked like an intriguing premise, a murder mystery on a ranch and a cowboy sleuth. My expectations were dragging in the dust, considering I was 0 for 2 with the last couple of mysteries I'd tried, but I figured I'd have a go.

And boy, did I have a blast reading this book! It was as engaging as my previous two mysteries had been off-p
Amy Rosenkoetter
I picked this book up because the cover grabbed me (so sue me) and because I love puns and Holmesiana. I remember sitting on the floor at Barnes and Noble and going through my LARGE pile of books that were sitting on a chair, most of which were continuations of series I'd been reading for a while. I only had so many expendable dollars, so I had to be somewhat selective. I tried putting this one in the "put back" pile twice, but kept pulling it back out. In the end, it went home with me, and star ...more
Oct 21, 2012 Lindz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness how I love this book.

Big Red and his brother Old Red have signed on to work at a ranch in Montana. It's hard, dangerous work under secretive and violent bosses. When two men are killed, the bosses try to write it off as an accident or suicide. What they don't know is Old Red is trained for deducifyin' by the master himself - he's read about Sherlock Holmes.

It's definitely a funny book. Way more fart jokes than I was expecting, though I probably should have, considering it's a cowb
Nov 05, 2010 Hobart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
>You just have to love this concept. An illiterate cowboy in 1890's Montana hears about Sherlock Holmes due to the republication of some of Watson's accounts in American periodicals. He's drawn by what Holmes does and sets about getting his hands on all of Watson's reports he can. And then he makes his brother read them to him over and over and over so he can learn how to do what Holmes does. At some point he thinks he's learned enough to start, and puts himself in a situation to put his skil ...more
Jan 27, 2013 rabbitprincess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for a light mystery with a Western twist
Shelves: bibliotheque, 2013
Old Red Amlingmeyer and his younger brother, Big Red, have just been hired at the Bar VR Ranch. It's not a very pleasant place, but a job's a job. One day, though, the boys come across the aftermath of a cattle stampede---complete with the aftermath of a man. How did this fellow meet his demise? Old Red is itching to employ his detective skills, as adopted from the tales of Sherlock Holmes. With Big Red as his Watson, "Holmes" is on the range!

Overall the book met my expectations. The narrator, B
Jun 29, 2011 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this story of two brothers, Big Red and Old Red, who are working as cowhands in Montana. Big Red is the narrator. He's big, gregarious, can read, and looks up to his older brother, who is taciturn, can't read, but has plenty of natural smarts. Gustav (Old Red) has become fascinated with the tales of Sherlock Holmes, who in this story's conceit is a real life figure solving mysteries in far away London.

The brothers hire on at a ranch where every action by the foremen is suspicious, and
Sep 12, 2016 M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First book in a mystery series with a fun premise.
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Classic Readers : Holmes on the Range 1 6 Apr 22, 2014 05:07PM  
  • The Canary Trainer: From the Memoirs of John H. Watson, M.D.
  • The Lost Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance
  • Sherlock Holmes for Dummies
  • A Study In Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes
  • Exit Sherlock Holmes
  • The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories
  • Sherlock's Home: The Empty House
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Voice from the Crypt and Other Tales
  • The Night Calls
  • Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes Vs Zombies
  • The Crimes of Dr. Watson
  • The Trial of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes Dynamite, #1)
  • The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Man From Hell (Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Paperback))
  • The Affair of the Porcelain Dog (Ira Adler #1)
  • The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Stalwart Companions
  • Night Watch: A Long-Lost Adventure in Which Sherlock Holmes Meets Father Brown
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)
  • On the Wrong Track
  • The Black Dove
  • The Crack in the Lens
  • World's Greatest Sleuth!
  • Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes On The Range Mysteries

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