A Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith

This is the fourth installation in a fairly new mystery series, but it was the first one that I read. And it caught my eye not because of the relationship of the two main characters to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but because the author chose to place his characters in San Marcos, Texas, my chosen home for the past 20 years.

The two central characters in the book are Gustav Amlingmeyer (aka "Old Red") and his brother Otto (aka "Big Red"). What has gone on before the central plot is that both "Old Red" and "Big Red" are roving cowboys in the late 1890's, moving from place to place. "Big Red" reads Sherlock Holmes stories to his brother, who is illiterate. "Old Red" fancies himself a detective in the fashion of Holmes and has taken up cases along the way and solved several.

Which brings us to the current novel. The Amlingmeyers end up in San Marcos to try to determine the cause of death of a prostitute that "Big Red" knew from 5 years prior. A lot of people aren't happy that he has returned to town, and some of them are determined to see that he moves on posthaste.

Speaking as only a recent resident, I tried my damnedest to place the buildings and events in the context of the current layout of the town (and failed miserably, only one of the streets still bears the same name 100 some odd years later. But I had fun with it and enjoyed meeting a couple of new characters to add to my list of favorite detectives. Fortunately my library has the other three books so far published so I will be able to catch up on them quickly.

I rate this one 8½ stars.

1 comment:

jinjas said...

Hi red.. this is jinjas.. i just signed up at Twitter to follow you so you know that I hadn't forgotten you.. :) Miss talking to you.. Hope everything is ok.. Would be nice to keep in touch..