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On the Wrong Track by Steve Hockensmith
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If you prefer mysteries to be more fun than frightening, you'll be on the right track if you read Steve Hockensmith's "On the Wrong Track" (2007). The second book in his Holmes on the Range series makes amusing reading, while at the same time presenting a compelling, fast-moving murder mystery.

Old Red and Big Red, actually Gustav and Otto Amlingmeyer, are a couple of aspiring detectives in the Old West. More accurately, Old Red (so-called simply because he is the eldest of the red-headed brothers, while Big Red is the tallest) is the aspiring detective, a devotee of Sherlock Holmes. Big Red plays his Watson, the guy who goes along, provides some muscle and then writes about the adventures afterward.

This time the brothers get jobs on the Pacific Express, a train heading West. The Southern Pacific Railroad has been plagued by a gang of outlaws known as the Give-'em Hell Boys, and the railroad wants extra protection. Of course, the gang shows up, but there appears to be a conspirator and, indeed, a murderer aboard the train. Old Red, who happens to get motion sickness on trains, is determined to solve the case anyway. As for Big Red, he seems more interested in protecting a certain young woman, who may not be quite whom she pretends to be.

Hockensmith writes some amusing lines and throws in some slapstick situations, but there's plenty of suspense, too. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Nov 8, 2013 |
I read the first in this series featuring cowboy brothers Gustav “Old Red” and Otto “Big Red” Arlingmeyer in 2011. Since then, I’ve wanted to read more about this duo whose older half idolizes Sherlock Holmes and wants to model himself after him. It’s left to Otto to chronicle their adventures. In this instalment, they are hired by the Southern Pacific Railroad as detectives on a Utah to California trip, and run up against notorious train robbers.

The voice in this series is as breezy and refreshing as I remember it, albeit containing profanity of the day, but the villain in this particular piece was a little too obvious, for not being obvious, if you know what I mean. It was still fun to follow Old Red as he trailed the clues and filled in the details. 4 stars

Read this if: you’re looking for a good non-thriller mystery; or you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes (you’ll be tickled how much Old Red tries to imitate him.) ( )
  ParadisePorch | May 12, 2013 |
It had "Holmes" in the title - so I was a sucker for it !
The first of this series was - "Holmes on the Range"
and it was not exactly what I was expecting, but it was a hoot and although I cringed at the rather 'low' humor - couldn't help but laugh and enjoy the goofy brother and the references to Holmes, fresh twist on cowboy life and the mystery to be solved.
I'll be checking the rest of the series out of the library.
(Will apply this to the others I've read, also).
Read in 2011. ( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
"On the Wrong Track" is the second in a five book series about two brothers who attempt to use Sherlock Holmes methods in the 1890's American West. I chose to read this book because in addition to enjoying crime fiction I have a thing for trains in the American West, and a train ride is central to the plot here. I enjoy catching sight of trains while on vacation trips to Arizona and Utah and I plan to visit Promontory Point,Utah, location of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, on my next trip. But I am not into "cosies", e.g. Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, aka "a good mystery". And the usual formula of "who was in the kitchen with Miss Jane when...." really bores me. Nevertheless, there was a lot that I enjoyed in "On the Wrong Track". Numerous, well created and interesting characters, a good 'yarn'with lots of tension and at a good pace, and some interesting background detail. Many readers will enjoy it, I am sure, but it got a bit boring for me toward the end and I was glad it finally ended. ( )
  maneekuhi | Feb 4, 2013 |
Enjoyed the second book in the Amlingmeyer brothers series and found myself wiping tears out of my eyes at one point I was laughing so hard.

The Amlingmeyer brothers, Gustav and Otto find themselves in the employ of the S.P. railroad as rail guards and soon put their deducifying skills to the test when heads begin to roll. In the spirit of Sherlock Holmes, the brother's set off on another wild west adventure while chasing their dreams of becoming detectives.

Colorful characters and a lighter look at the gritty, harsh world of early frontier life, Steve brings humor and a quirky charm to his tales. ( )
  souleswanderer | Apr 4, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312347812, Hardcover)

It might be 1893 and the modern world may in full-swing, but cowboy Gustav "Old Red" Amlingmeyer is an old-fashioned kind of guy: he prefers a long trail ride even when a train could get him where he's going in one-tenth the time. His brother Otto ("Big Red"), on the other hand, wouldn't mind climbing down from his horse and onto a train once in a while if it'll give his saddle-sore rear end a rest. So when it's Old Red who insists they sign on to protect the luxurious Pacific Express, despite a generations-old Amlingmeyer family distrust of the farm-stealin', cattle-killin', money-grubbin' railroads, Big Red is flummoxed. But Old Red, tired of the cowpoke life, wants to take a stab at professional 'detectifying' just like his hero, Sherlock Holmes and guard jobs for the railroad are the only ones on offer.        
       So it is that Big Red and Old Red find themselves trapped on a thousand tons of steam-driven steel, summiting the Sierras en route to San Francisco with a crafty gang of outlaws somewhere around the next bend, a baggage car jam-packed with deadly secrets, and a vicious killer hidden somewhere amongst the colorful passengers.
      On the Wrong Track, Old Red and Big Red's much anticipated return, is filled with all of the wit, flavor, humor, and suspense that made Hockensmith's debut, Holmes on the Range, so beloved by critics and fans alike.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Hired to guard the Pacific Express during a trip to San Francisco, crime-solving cowboy sleuths Gustav "Old Red" Amlingmeyer and his brother, "Big Red," deal with a scheming gang of outlaws and a killer hiding among the train's passengers.

» see all 6 descriptions

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