Sunday, February 12, 2023

Five of the best mystery-comedy novels of all-time

A.J. Devlin grew up in Greater Vancouver before moving to Southern California where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from Chapman University and a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute. After working as a screenwriter in Hollywood, he moved back home to Port Moody, BC, where he now lives with his wife and two children.

The latest book in his "Hammerhead" Jed professional wrestling mystery-comedy series, Five Moves of Doom, was published September 15th, 2022 by NeWest Press. It was selected by The Globe and Mail as one of the Best Books of 2022, won the 2022 Crime Fiction Lover Editor's Choice Award for Best Indie Crime Novel, and has been nominated for a 2023 Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery.

At The Strand Magazine Devlin tagged his five favorite and most influential mystery-comedies of all time, including:
Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith

An original and inspired take on the Sherlockian formula, this clever cowboy-and-sleuthing mash-up will beguile both die-hard fans of Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary whodunits and the most devoted pulp Western fiction aficionados. Following the ginger cattlemen brothers Amlingmeyer, burly younger sibling Otto aka “Big Red” and his elder bro Gustav aka “Old Red” are all that are left of their family after an arduous life on the great plains killed their loved ones. While “Old Red” worked to take care of Otto and ensure he stayed in school in order to learn to read and write, the younger of the two buckaroos is able to return the favor by reading the exploits of Sherlock Holmes – from The Strand Magazine no less – to “Old Red” by campfire each night after a long and hard day’s work on the range. But when a body turns up dead on a ranch where they are earning their keep, “Old Red” finds the discovery suspicious and sets out to use the Holmes method of “deducifyin’” in order to reveal the identity of a killer. While Otto writes in epistolary style as the de facto Watson and “Old Red” serves as the Wild West’s version of the world’s greatest detective, the genre-blending antics of these two brothers gives a whole new meaning to the term “cow puncher.”
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Holmes on the Range.

--Marshal Zeringue