Synopsis (from the publisher): In 1893, Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer and his brother Gustav, "Old Red" find themselves in a situation that they never expected. They have a bit of money and time to do something other than scramble. It's enough to confound even that most unconfoundable of men, their mutual inspiration, Sherlock Holmes.
So Old Red decides that it's time for the for the two of them to head off to the Texas Hill Country, to San Marcos, and deal with the greatest tragedy of Old Red's life. Five years ago, when Old Red was a cowpoke in San Marcos, he had a sweetheart—a fallen woman at the local house of ill repute. They had made plans but before they made their big move, his fiancée was murdered and the case swept under the rug by the local authorities. Now, Old Red is determined to find out what really happened and to finally find a measure of justice for his beloved. But Big Red and Old Red find themselves facing a wall of silence and in some of the worst situations of their lives: ensnared in a riot at the local cathouse, on the wrong end of a lynching party and perhaps worst of all—having to do the one thing you never want to do in the state of Texas: steal horses.
First lines: I suspect your asking yourself a number of questions right about now. For instance: "Who are these unlucky SOBs with the ropes around their necks?" And: "Where in God's name are they?" And: "Why would anyone want to string them up?" And: "Can they un-string themselves, somehow?"
And perhaps most important of all: "Do I give a crap?"
My thoughts: I'm so glad I found this series. This book was a great, fast read with plenty of laugh out loud moments even though it was the most serious of the series so far. In this one you get to know Old Red a little better and what makes him tick. The Crack in the Lens is a rreference to Sherlock Holmes (who in this world is a real person) whom the older brother, Old Red, tries to emulate. This is not simply a western, it is a mystery as well with lovable heroes you will enjoy getting to know. If you don't read westerns but love a funny book read it, if you like westerns and/or mysteries read it.
Quote: I awoke from my swoon on a jail cell bunk. You might think finding myself in the clink would be a mite discouraging but that wasn't the case at all. In fact, I took it as a sign that our luck was finally turning around.
Lucky break #1: I was alive.