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Something Wicked: A Horatio Wilkes Mystery

By: Alan Gratz

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.

ISBN: 9780803736665

JLG Release: Nov 2008


Sensitive Areas: Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Language: Mild Language
Topics: 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

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Guide, Kirkus Reviews

Horn Book

Sharp-tongued, audacious Tennessean, Horatio (Something Rotten), attends the Scottish Highland Games with his friend Mac. Things go awry after Mac's grandfather Duncan, the festival's founder, is murdered. Family rivalries and inheritances provide the clues to solve the crime in this clever modern-day Macbeth takeoff. The story juxtap Sharp-tongued, audacious Tennessean, Horatio (Something Rotten), attends the Scottish Highland Games with his friend Mac. Things go awry after Mac's grandfather Duncan, the festival's founder, is murdered. Family rivalries and inheritances provide the clues to solve the crime in this clever modern-day Macbeth takeoff. The story juxtaposes light humor and dark behavior more starkly than in Horatio's previous adventure.

Junior Library Guild

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’
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.

Book Details

ISBN

9780803736665

First Release

November 2008

Genre

Mystery.

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

272

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.6; Points: 10;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 4.5; Points: 18;

Lexile

Level 740L

Format

Print Book

Edition

-

Publisher

Dial

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Language: Mild Language

Topics

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,

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