Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Crack in the Lens-Steve Hockensmith

The Crack in the Lens
Steve Hockensmith
Minotaur, Jul 2009, $24.95
ISBN 9780312379421

In 1893, a few weeks have passed since the Amlingmeyer “Reds”, Otto “Big Red” and his older brother Gustav “Old Red”, dropped into egg drop soup in San Francisco (see BLACK DOVE). Old Red tells Big Red about the love of his life being murdered in an unsolved crime five years ago. Big Red insisting they are Sherlock Holmes level experts ever since they worked the Southern Pacific a few months ago (see ON THE WRONG TRACK) suggests they go to San Marcos, Texas to solve the case of who murdered Gertrude Eichelberger.

The Reds arrive in San Marcos and begin their investigation with the local brothels as Gertrude was a hooker. Their inquiries upset the madams, pimps, and law enforcement types, but they refuse to back down. The brothers soon realize that Gertrude’s murderer is a Texas Jack the Ripper having killed several hookers. Although Old Red has the need for closure by catching his beloved’s killer, Big Red has his back every step of the way.

As always with the Reds, fans receive an amusing late nineteenth century whodunit starring heroes who poorly employ the techniques of Sherlock Holmes to their investigation. Fans will enjoy their latest escapades as everything is personal this time (not to say being shot at is not personal). With a great story line THE CRACK IN THE LENS is a super entry in a terrific western mystery saga that in its off beat way pays homage to the great detective.

Harriet Klausner