If you have a deep-seated yearning to read a YA novel version of Hamlet with Horatio as a cynical, scruffy teen detective with a buried idealistic streak, AND I THINK YOU DO*, you should know that Alan Gratz is offering his first book Something Rotten online for free until November 30th.

What I did not realize when I read (and got a kick out of) the book the other day, however, was that this offer is to celebrate the release of the second Horatio Wilkes mystery, which is an equally skewed version of Macbeth:

Something wicked this way comes, and only Horatio Wilkes can stop it.

A Scottish Highland Fair turns foul when Horatio discovers the games' founder, Duncan MacRae, dead in his tent. All signs point to Duncan's son as the murderer, but Horatio's not so sure--especially when his friend Mac and Mac's girlfriend Beth start acting like they own the place. And that's just one of many mysteries: Like why are Mac's and Beth's fathers acting so suspiciously? What's the deal with the goth-punk bagpiper corps threatening Horatio's friend Banks? Who is the hot girl spying on everyone? And why, exactly, are there men in kilts tossing telephone poles around?

Horatio will need all his snark and smarts--and maybe a little amazing grace--to thwart the fate a road-side psychic laid out for him and his friends. Not that Horatio believes in that kind of thing anyway . . .

I am trying to decide if I would have enjoyed the first book more if I hadn't known the play so well. All I can conclude is that it would have been a different sort of enjoyment, more tied up in the actual whodunnit. But on the other hand, there were still a good few surprises, especially toward the end of the novel. I was impressed by the way the book referenced the original play faithfully on many points (including some giggle-worthy in-jokes and meta) without being enslaved to it. Also, Horatio, HELLO.

Anyway, if you're interested in the books, or just want some amusing Project Runway commentary (or at least it looks amusing, though I'm not a PR watcher so I couldn't tell you how insightful it actually is), check out Alan Gratz's blog.

--
* Or maybe that was just me. Whatever.
For those of us suffering from withdrawal after the end of [livejournal.com profile] charlottelennox's fandom saga, [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63 has written a short but pithy fic:

On The Run

Between this and [livejournal.com profile] cesario's Mina/Charlotte, it could be the start of a whole new fandom!
I just got an e-mail from Laurie R. King telling me she's paid the entire registration fee for me to go to Bouchercon 2004 in October. She said it was a thank-you gift for running RUSS-L all these years.

*takes deep breath*

EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh why oh why oh why do I not have Case of the Winning Woman finished? Or my modern mystery novel? There will be agents and editors there and aaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggh.

Except that aside from Laurie, there is not a single author on the (very long) list of attending mystery authors whose books I have actually read. I've heard of Val McDermid, Sara Paretsky, Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson, but haven't actually read any of their stuff. I think my brother might be a Rankin reader though, come to think of it...

*clicks randomly around Bouchercon site, in a state of dizzy excitement*

Woo! JKR is up for "Best Young Adult Mystery" in the Anthony Awards, for OotP! (Er... how weird is that, really?)

Oh, man, I cannot believe this. I'm already thinking -- I could stay with my brother, who has an apartment in downtown Toronto, and I could take the subway (I love the subway), and if I sign up in time I could go to the Sisters in Crime high tea and...

Did I say EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! yet?

And now I feel extra guilty that I have done such a crap job of updating The Beekeeper's Holmes Page and associated documents over the past couple of years.

Laurie OWNS.

ETA: The guilt is assuaged -- I have updated the web page, the FAQ and the group's list of acronyms. Phew. *feels better*

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