Holmes On The Range Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Holmes On The Range

There's no doubt about it—something mighty peculiar is going on at the Bar VR cattle spread, something that would take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out.
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Only Sherlock is busy elsewhere, so readers of Holmes on the Range are going to have to settle for Old Red, all of 27 and a devotee of the great detective's stories, and his younger brother, Big Red, a Watson-in-training. It's a pretty good compromise.

Times are tough in 1893 Montana when the Amlingmeyer brothers, all that's left of a family decimated by disease and flood, sign on at the secretive ranch, run by the nasty McPherson boys for the absentee British owners. The brothers and a handful of other drovers recruited from the Hornet's Nest saloon aren't at the Bar VR before a body, trampled to pulp, is found out on the range, following a big storm. Old Red is suspicious.

But before he can start to do much in the way of detecting, the owners of the Bar VR just happen to show up: the pompous Duke, his daughter Lady Clara, her would-be suitor Young Blackwell, the mysterious, tight-lipped Mr. Edwards, and their retinue. Throw in a handful of other colorful characters—Boudreaux, an albino Negro cowpuncher, and Hungry Bob, a reputed cannibal at large--and the stage is set for a story that twists and turns its way like a rain-carved gully through dusty sage plains.

This may also be the first locked room mystery where the room is an outhouse.

But what makes this story special is the dialog, the rhythms of cow talk and Big Red's sassy, cynical take on a life that is hard under the best of circumstances. The mystery is indeed a good, complex one, but of the “all is revealed in the last two chapters” sort.

The review of this Book prepared by Jon Kapecki

In Steve Hockensmith's debut novel he mixes mystery and a fun western yarn in Holmes On the Range. The book opens up with Big Red (Otto Amlingmeyer) explaining how his brother Old Red (Gustav Amlingmeyer) got interested in being a detective after Otto read Gustav the Sherlock Holmes story The Red-Headed League. The cowpokes soon get hired for the Bar VR ranch for five dollars a week. Not long after they arrive, Big Red and Old Red find the mangled corpse of manager, Perkins. This motivates Old Red to investigate and soon the corpse of another worker on the ranch is found dead. It's here that the owner of the land makes a bet with his underling Brackwell that the brothers will not solve the case. Bid Red and Old Red then stop their duties on the farm and go full time into investigating the murders, solving the riddles in a plausible manner for the Duke.
The review of this Book prepared by Bobby Blades

Chapter Analysis of Holmes On The Range

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 35%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 25%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   very humorous How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1600-1899    -   american wild west What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60%    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in that culture Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Midwest    -   West Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   ranch

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies Unusual forms of death    -   crushed    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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