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World's Greatest Sleuth!: A Holmes on the Range Mystery (Holmes on the Range Mysteries) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: Holmes on the Range Mysteries (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312379439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312379438
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Hockensmith's clever, slapstick-infused fifth Holmes on the Range mystery (after 2009's The Crack in the Lens), Gustav ("Old Red") and Otto ("Big Red") Amlingmeyer travel to Chicago to take part in a "mystery cracking competition" at the 1893 Columbian Exposition. There the "dee-tective" brothers go up against a number of world famous crime solvers, all of whom hope to succeed recently departed Sherlock Holmes as the greatest living sleuth. After considerable chaos, Frenchman Eugene Valmont wins the first round by finding a golden egg hidden by Holmes fanatic Armstrong B. Curtis, Esq. Judging the contest is the esteemed William Pinkerton, heir to the famed detective bureau, who, to the surprise of the Amlingmeyer boys, will not be competing, preferring to "keep his precious agency above the fray." And a fray it becomes after a dead body turns up face down in a large cheese and our heroes chase around "the White City" for the elusive murderer. (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Some background on this series: in Holmes on the Range (2006), Hockensmith’s debut, brothers Otto and Gustav Amlingmeyer, otherwise known as Big Red and Old Red (Gustav being the older of the two), decide they’re going to solve crimes using the methods made famous by the world’s most well-known private detective, Sherlock Holmes. Now, several books later, the brothers are sent by their publisher (Otto chronicles their cases, in the manner of Dr. Watson) to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where they are to compete in a World’s Greatest Sleuth competition. Well, wouldn’t you know, the competition soon turns deadly serious, and Otto and Gustav are hot the the trail of a murderer. The novel is a delicate balance of mystery and humor, and its two leads, the brothers Amlingmeyer, are a real treat for fans of lighthearted mysteries. Holmesians, too, will get a kick out of Hockensmith’s frequent nods to the Great Detective. --David Pitt

More About the Author

As you might have guessed by now, I am a writer. Most authors are (with the possible exception of Snooki). As a writer, it is my duty to spend large portions of my day sitting in front of a computer in ketchup-stained sweatpants while swilling enough coffee each hour to drown a chihuahua. This I cheerfully do. Occasionally, I even write something. Via this time-tested method of sitting, drinking coffee and writing, I have managed to produce several novels. Some people think they're pretty good. I will now fill the rest of my allotted space with quotes from positive reviews. Sorry. To make it more fun for everyone, I've slipped one fake review in with the real ones. See if you can spot it!

"Grade: A-...hilarious...delightfully offbeat...." --Entertainment Weekly on Holmes on the Range

"Other books and TV series have featured genre-melding cowboys armed with ratiocination as well as revolvers, but Hockensmith's take is quite special. There's his combination of intriguing mystery, breathless action, colorful characters and enough laugh-out-loud moments for the book to fit in the humorous crime category." --The Los Angeles Times on The Black Dove

"Hockensmith takes a concept that could have been terrible -- the backstory of the Bennet girls learning to fight the undead, setting the stage for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- and turns it into a gory and gross, wonderful and clever tale...a true delight, really." --Romantic Times on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

"Hulk hate silly things puny humans call 'books.' Hulk smash The Da Vinci Code! Hulk smash puny Harry Potter! But Hockensmith books pretty good. Hulk no smash. Hulk want more sequels." --The Incredible Hulk on The Crack in the Lens

To learn more about me, go to To learn more about the Incredible Hulk and his taste in literature, go to

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 33 customer reviews
His portrayal of all the characters is extraordinary.
Successful detecting he's undertaken only, and Old Red would be the first to say this, because he tries his best to emulate his hero, Sherlock Holmes.
Happy Reader
I am so glad I found "Holmes on the Range" early on and have now read the entire series (a couple of times).
Dorothy Hollinger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. White on January 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
First introduced to readers in Holmes on the Range, brothers Gustav "Old Red" and Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer are cowboys turned detectives in late 1890's America. World's Greatest Sleuth! finds Sherlock Holmes disciple Gustav ("Some folks get religion. Gustav got Sherlock Holmes.") and Watson-esque brother Otto summoned to Chicago to participate in a mystery solving competition at the 1893 Columbian Exposition (aka Chicago World's Fair).

Upon arrival, the brothers find themselves up against famous crime solvers from around the world, including frenemies Col. Crowe and Diana Corvus (On the Wrong Track and The Black Dove). The competitors are challenged with solving a set of clues each day, with the winner of the most daily competitions at the end of the contest being crowned the "World's Greatest Sleuth."

Things take a serious turn, however, when the competition's organizer is found dead on the second day of the competition..face down in a giant vat of cheese (The Mammoth Cheese From Canada - Weight 22,000 Pounds). Though the local police seem inclined to write it off as an accidental death, Gustav and Otto think there's more to it than meets the eye and, as Holmes would say, the game is afoot to find the killer.

The Chicago World's Fair is a unique setting - and a marvelous one for a murder mystery - but is one with which many readers many not be familiar. Have no fear. Author Steve Hockensmith does a fantastic job making the Fair and its famed "White City" come to life, and the wonderfully vivid descriptions make the reader feel as if he were actually there at the Chicago World's Fair along with Otto and Gustav.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy Hollinger on January 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished "World's Greatest Sleuth!" and I have to say it lived up to expectations and was worth the wait. I agree with other reviewers who said not to read it in a public place unless you want to have people staring at you wondering what the heck is so funny. I laughed out loud several times, and grinned through most of the rest of it. The Chicago World's Fair comes alive in a rollicking manner. I like books where the description of the environment adds to the enjoyment of the characters, and does not overpower them. I'm glad Diana made a reappearance and it sounds as though we are going to see more of her. Big Red and Old Red are two of the finest characters ever created, in my opinion.

I am so glad I found "Holmes on the Range" early on and have now read the entire series (a couple of times). The second reading may even be better because knowing the denouement, I can appreciate the getting to it even more!

The question, Mr. Hockensmith, is WHEN? How long do we have to wait for the next installment. I for one cannot wait!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In 1893 the Amlingmeyer brothers, Gustav "Old Red" and Otto "Big Red, travel to Chicago to participate in a detectiving contest to determine who the world's greatest sleuth is held at the Exposition. Internationally renowned detective William Pinkerton will lead the competition.

The siblings are not that interested in meeting the legend though they wonder why he gave his name to this challenge. They attend the Chicago Exposition of 1893 for one purpose to meet Diana Corvus, the woman of a thousand faces. However, the games turn macabre when someone shoves contestant Armstrong Curtis into a vat of cheese. The homicide and the contest mean less to the Reds who prefer solving whether the relationship between Diana and her boss Colonel Crowe is purely professional, but follow clues throughout the city seeking the killer.

The latest Holmes on the Range historical mystery (see The Crack Lens) is a super late nineteenth century spoof mindful of the movie Murder By Death. The novel needs a warning label not to read in public as your hysterical laugher will have anyone nearby wondering. The Reds are as usual over the top, this time, of the Ferris Wheel especially Big Red who has a lot to say about anything. Outrageously humorous yet interwoven with detailed historical tidbits that bring Chicago alive, readers will wonder who will win the prize as the World's Greatest Sleuth.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on February 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When word gets around that McClure's magazine is about to publish an expose on the alleged death of Old Red Amlingmeyer's hero, Sherlock Holmes, Old Red and his brother Big Red are alarmed. They consider Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictional detective to be a real person, and anything written to the contrary about him gets them riled up. Big Red mourns the loss of his hero and states that any claim of Holmes being a fictional character is "scandalous, slanderous, preposterous and just plain dumb."

In response to the article, the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 that is taking place in Chicago has decided to invite renowned detectives from around the world to participate in a World's Greatest Sleuth contest. Much to their surprise, Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer and Gustav "Old Red" Amlingmeyer receive an invitation from a publisher by the name of Urias Smythe to come to the "White City" and participate in the competition.

In the same way that Dr. John Watson documented the many adventures he had with his friend and partner, Big Red has penned a number of stories based on the mysteries he and Old Red have been involved in. They're known for being quite colorful with amusing chapter headings in every story. Their tales focus on the "deducifyin'" skills that Old Red utilizes in a manner patterned after Sherlock Holmes.

When the brothers arrive at the Exposition, they find that they are in the company of many internationally known detectives: Eugene Valmont from France; Boothby Greene from England; King Brady from the US; and a woman whom the brothers know quite well, Diana Crowe. Each sleuth is accompanied by a publisher or confidante --- in the case of Diana, she is paired with her father, Colonel C. Kermit Crowe.
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