Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Dear Doctor Watson" by Steve Hockensmith

Source: Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine podcast (mp3)
Length: 35 min
Reader: Steve Hockensmith and Mike Willtrout

The story: In the Wild West, cowboy Old Red is inspired by his brother Big Red's readings of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Old Red decides to take up "deductifyin'" on his own and begins to apply to local establishments of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. But who would hire a rough-around-the-edges cowboy as a detective?

This story combines some of my favorite genres: detective mysteries, westerns, and humor. If there had been a science fiction or fantasy component, I think it would have hit every genre button. While the mystery itself is neither mind-blowing nor particularly suspenseful, the story has a easy, homespun quality about it that recalls some of Mark Twain's writing, without the misanthropy. This is a fun, funny story that makes an appropriate homage to the influence of Sherlock Holmes on everyone who reads about him.

Rating: 7/10

The readers: This rather new-ish podcast presents mysteries published in the long-running Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. If this is your first introduction to the podcast or the magazine, I encourage you to check them out. The readers here do an excellent job of bringing these characters to life with their voices. There are a few errors and repeats that don't get edited out, but overall, the story is well-told and the recording well-done.

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