>> Monday, October 3, 2011
This is such a fun collection of 7 short stories about two old west cowboys who are inspired by the stories of Sherlock Holmes that they read in magazines.
The Devils Acre and Greetings from Purgatory by Steve Hockensmith
Part of a collection published as Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries
These are the final two of the seven stories in this collection and I can definitely recommend this as an introduction to Steve Hockensmith’s old west detectives Old Red and Big Red Amlingmeyer (also known as Gustav and Otto). After finishing up these stories I’m looking forward to reading the full length novels that feature the brothers.
In The Devils Acre, Otto (Big Red) Amlingmeyer writes to a publishing company to which he’s already submitted a book. He has a new story for them to consider. It’s about a time when he and his brother Old Red ended up nearly broke and jobless in San Francisco. Their adventure in the Barbary Coast section of town turns out to be both dangerous and humorous. This has one of the funniest bar fight scenes I’ve ever read.
In Greetings from Purgatory, the brothers are on a train headed from San Francisco to San Marcos, Texas. For reasons not detailed in this story they are averse to taking a direct Southern Pacific train so they hop on the cheapest local out of Oakland. Further complicating the trip is Old Red’s tendency to get motion sick on trains. Along the way they run into some troubles which end up explaining why they’re stuck in Purgatory (also known as Lovelock, Nevada) instead of San Marcos at the end of the tale.
I enjoyed the way that these two stories alluded to events that have obviously occurred in one or more of the Holmes on the Range books, without really giving too much away. If anything by the end of this collection of short stories I’m more eager than ever to start reading the books.
I highly recommend this collection as a way to get to know the Amlingmeyer brothers. I have a feeling they’ll have you on the lookout for the books soon. The combination of Old West stories with some Holmesian detective work is a fun and entertaining mix.
Short Story Mondays is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.