Something Wicked: A Horatio Wilkes Mystery
Horatio Wilkes joins his good friend, Mac, at the Mount Birnam Highland Games, an annual festival of Scottish food, sport, and family. When the founder of the games, Duncan MacRae, is murdered, the clues point to his son, Mal, as the culprit. However, Horatio soon realizes that the case against Mal is weak . . . and the true killer still roams the mountain. A modern murder mystery inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth.
JLG Release: Nov 2008
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Booklist, The Horn Book Guide, Kirkus Reviews
Junior Library Guild
Horatio’s friend, Mac, and Mac’ To some readers, the language and settings of Shakespeare’s plays can seem distant and boring; conversely, some contemporary retellings that aim to make Shakespeare trendy or accessible end up stripping the emotional depth from the plays. Something Wicked, however, is an exceptional adaptation.
Horatio’s friend, Mac, and Mac’s girlfriend, Beth, are the Macbeth and Lady Macbeth of this story. Beth’s constant challenges to Mac’s manhood and their mutually destructive relationship echo the play’s themes of manipulation and ambition in a context that teens will easily recognize. Likewise, Horatio and Mac’s rapidly souring friendship may remind teens of their own social difficulties.
The captivating murder mystery will keep readers (even those familiar with the play) guessing who the real culprit is. Alan Gratz’s detailed setting, a Scottish Highland fair, is inspired, and his prose and dialogue are consistently funny and well crafted: “‘You’re just going to get him madder,’ Lucy told me. ‘I’m good at that,’ I told her. ‘I have mad skills.’” And Gratz seamlessly incorporates a wide array of pop culture references, including the Ramones, Jackson Pollock, Magnum P.I., and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, in humorous, intelligent ways.
5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Level 4.6; Points: 10;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 4.5; Points: 18;
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Language: Mild Language
Macbeth, Bungee jumping, Pushy girlfriends, Kilts, Fortune-tellers, Scottish festivals, Photographers, Bagpipes, Bullies, Border collies, Eavesdropping, Murder, Cell phones, Evidence, Motels, Alibis, Scholarships, Thieves, Real estate deals, Highland games, Beatings, Marital infidelity, Concerts, Confessions, Prophecies, Advertising,