Tuesday, December 7, 2010

World’s Greatest Sleuth-Steve Hockensmith

World’s Greatest Sleuth
Steve Hockensmith
Minotaur, Jan 18 2011, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312379438

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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