Old Red & Big Red Amlingmeyer

Created by Steve Hockensmith

“So how is it,” I hear you ask, “that a couple no-account saddle bums like you and your brother came to be so fired-up excited about detectifying like a proper English gentleman detective?”
To which I say, “Who’s a no-account saddle bum?”
Otto puts a little spit in the pan.

If you’ve got a hankering for some tall tales of “deducifyin’ and detectin'” that go down right easy, this may be just what the doc ordered.

In the Old West” of the 1890s, cowpoke GUSTAV “OLD RED” AMLINGMEYER, having grown way, way too fond of the Sherlock Holmes stories, decides to set himself up as a detective, much to the initial dismay of his kid brother OTTO “BIG RED.” But Otto eventually gives in and acts as a sort of fraternal Watson, narrating this quirky, entertaining series.

Imagine a mash-up between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, and you’re almost home. But anyway you slice it, Holmes on the Range (2006) was a great first novel, and ended up being an Edgar, Shamus and Anthony Awards finalist for Best First Novel.

Through most of the novels and stories, they stumble into things, and act as enthusiastic amateur sleuths, but eventually, Old Red Amlingmeyer’s dream comes true, in The Double-A Western Detective Agency (2018), when the two cowpokes finally set themselves up as professional, honest-to-goodness private eyes.


Steve Hockensmith has covered pop culture and the film industry for The Hollywood Reporter, The Chicago Tribune, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Newsday, Total Movie and served more than three years as editor of Cinescape, before turning to mysteries, soon becoming a regular contributor to both Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and wrote “Reel Crime,” a column about mystery TV shows and movies that appeared in each issue of Alfred Hitchcock. Hockensmith currently lives in California’s Bay Area.with “the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect son and a slightly imperfect cat.”



  • “Dear Dr. Holmes” (February 2003, EQMM)
  • “Gustav Amlingmeyer, Holmes of the Range” (February 2005, EQMM)
  • “Wolves in Winter” (February 2005, EQMM)
  • “Dear Dr. Watson” (February 2007, EQMM)
  • “The Devil’s Acre” (February 2008, EQMM)
  • “Greetings from Purgatory” (February 2009, EQMM)
  • “The Water Indian” (2010, Ghost Town)
  • “My Christmas Story” (January/February 2019, EQMM)
  • “Bad News” (January/February 2022, EQMM)
  • “Can the Cat Catch the Rat?” (January/February 2023, EQMM)




  • October 25, 2021
    THE BOTTOM LINE: These two cowpoke PIs may have read a few too many Sherlock Holmes stories around the campfire, but they sure did round up some varmints.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks, Mario!

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