Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Genre Characters of the Week: Gustav and Otto Arlingmeyer

For one of my book clubs this month we read Steve Hockensmith’s debut novel Holmes on the Range, a western mystery, featuring two delightful cowboys-turned-detectives, Gustav “Old Red” and Otto “Big Red” Arlingmeyer, as they take on their first big case.

The two main characters are both huge fans of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, as written by his chronicler, and partner, John Watson.  Interestingly, rather than being fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, Hockensmith has instead put his characters into Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Universe, allowing them to read of his exploits in the paper, and even meet people who are related to people that Sherlock dealt with over his career.

Being both a longtime fan of Westerns and mysteries, this fast-past novel (written in 2006), kept my attention the whole way through, had me smiling more than a time or two, and in the end worked as both a mystery and a western, which is a great job for any cross-genre story.

I think what I liked best about the Arlingmeyer brothers was their depth, considering I’m not used to a lot of character study in westerns, their German upbringing came through again and again their work ethic and in how they saw the world around them.

A really fun story and I’m sure to follow up with more of the series in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I've read that, too! Clever, clever little ending, one of the best genre-mashing moments I've ever read.