I just finished listening to the audiobook World’s Greatest Sleuth by Steve Hockensmith, narrated by William Dufris. I have enjoyed the Holmes on the Range series immensely. Hockensmith’s writing is great and Dufris brings his colorful characters to life. This is a perfect marriage between writer and narrator with all the benefits going to the listener. The main characters, Big Red and Old Red, otherwise known as Otto and Gustave Amlingmeyer, are a delight. Little brother Otto is an “open book,” which is not surprising as he is writing the tales of the brothers’ adventures. Gustave is his opposite, in both physique and personality. Gustave is brooding and taciturn where Otto is cheerful and outgoing. Gustave is good at reading signs and “deducifying.” Otto is good at dealing with people and doing the talking for both of them. Add in their sometimes partner Diana who is as proficient at lying and scheming (all for the purpose of justice, of course) as most Victorian ladies were at needlework and dancing, and you have an unbeatable team. Criminals beware.
In this fifth book in the series, the detectives travel to the World’s fair in 1893 Chicago to compete in a contest to determine the “World’s Greatest Sleuth.” This title is up for debate after the untimely passing of Sherlock Holmes. Otto’s publisher enrolled the pair in the contest where they are pitted against other dime novel sleuths as well as legitimate private eyes. The contest puzzlemaster, who has practically guaranteed that he will expose all the detectives secrets, not surprisingly, turns up dead on day 2 of the contest. Only everyone seems inclined to believe his death was an accident. Otto, Gustave and Diana take the plunge (literally! Out a window and into the garbage!) and attempt to find the killer. With the bearded man, the other bearded man, the unbearded man and the other other unbearded man hot on their heels and the fair coming to an end, they dig deep for clues and come up with surprising results.
The ending, although wonderful, made me a little sad because it sounded as if it might be a wrap up for the series. I sincerely hope not! Although I am enjoying Hockensmith’s new series, The White Magic Five and Dime, written with Lisa Falco, Holmes on the Range is something special and I, for one, am not ready for it to end just yet.
I also plan to look up other audiobooks that William Dufris has narrated. He is a very accomplished voice actor with an impressive list of credits. On audiofile (http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/narrators/william-dufris/) you can read his biography, find out about awards he’s won and see a LONG list of books he’s narrated.