Something Rotten: A Horatio Wilkes Mystery
Something Rotten: A Horatio Wilkes Mystery
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Annotation: In a contemporary story based on Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, Horatio Wilkes seeks to solve the murder of his friend Hamilton Prince's father in Denmark, Tennessee.
Catalog Number: #4804796
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: 2009
Pages: 207 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-14-241297-X
ISBN 13: 978-0-14-241297-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2006038484
Dimensions: 18 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Gratz is cornering the niche market of novels containing dissimilar topics. Here he combines Hamlet and hardboiled detective pulp. During a vacation from their academy, Horatio Wilkes accompanies his buddy Hamilton Prince to Denmark, Tenn. Just two months after his father passed away under suspicious circumstances, Hamilton's Uncle Claude has married Hamilton's mother. Claude now controls the Elsinore Paper Plant, a multibillion dollar company blatantly polluting the Copenhagen River. Horatio, with a knack for investigating, is determined to expose Claude's corruption while Hamilton, dismayed by what he believes is his mother's betrayal, drowns himself in alcohol. Ultimately, Horatio relies on environmentalist protester Olivia to reveal secrets about Elsinore. The many parallels to Hamlet are interesting, but Gratz wisely avoids producing a carbon copy of the tragedy. Horatio admirably plays the loyal friend but has a cocky voice that is too self-assured and as a teen rings unauthentic. However, this well-crafted mystery has appeal for readers familiar with both Raymond Chandler's novels and Shakespeare's masterpiece. (Fiction. YA)
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-This contemporary reworking of Hamlet is told through the voice of quick-witted Horatio Wilkes, who is visiting his boarding-school friend Hamilton Prince. Hamilton's father has been knocked off, and Horatio resolves to solve the crime. Denmark, TN, serves as the mill-town backdrop to the story, and the winking nods to Shakespeare's characters-including Olivia, Roscoe, and Gilbert-are mildly fun to observe. The author tries to remake the protagonist as a sexy Everyman who passes easily through town and into the good graces of its inhabitants, but it feels forced and unrealistic. Women can't resist the teen, apparently, and they all exist merely as a foil for his cadlike ways. When he tires of leering at Olivia and moves on, she has nothing else to do but wait until the end of the novel to kiss him. The fun quotient quickly dissolves for a conceit that had potential.-John Leighton, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates
The town of Denmark, Tennessee, is downright stinky. It is not just because the Copenhagen River is brown and turbid with runoff from the Elsinore Paper Plant. Plant heir Hamilton Prince's life is falling apart. His father recently succumbed to a quick and nasty cancer. Hamilton's mom, Trudy, married loser Uncle Claude. Trudy's ex-paramour is threatening to buy out the family business. Hamilton's ex, Olivia, is trying to shut Elsinore down for violating environmental laws. Even worse, Hamilton finds a video with his father claiming that he was poisoned. Enter Horatio Wilkes, Student of Human Behavior Extraordinaire. When Horatio investigates the alleged murder, he discovers that everyone wants flights of angels to sing the sweet Prince to rest. Gratz's novel is a certifiable pulp-fiction Hamlet redux. Any student who has read, seen, or even heard about the play will find familiar faces in this tale. Hamlet/Hamilton is angsty, Ofelia/Olivia is loony, and Claudius/Claude is smarmy. Gratz mixes up the plot by revamping the ending, but the characters themselves remain the same. Despite the part gumshoe mystery, part revisionist-bard combination, the same play told differently is disappointingly as dry as Yorick's scull. The story drags through most of the book aside from some sadly brief comedic moments involving the Rosencrantz and Gildenstern surrogates. The protagonist and sleuth Horatio Wilkes oozes through scenery making friends and enemies but fails to engender any interest in the action. Steer readers toward Lisa Fielder's works if they are in need of a Shakespearean fix.-Angelica Delgado.
Word Count: 52,126
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 8.0 / quiz: 117770 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.6 / points:14.0 / quiz:Q41861
Lexile: 730L

Denmark, Tennessee, stinks. The smell hits Horatio Wilkes the moment he pulls into town to visit his best friend, Hamilton Prince. And it's not just the paper plant and the polluted river that's stinking up Denmark: Hamilton's father has been poisoned and the killer is still at large. Why? Because nobody believes that Rex Prince was murdered. Nobody except Horatio and Hamilton. Now they need to find the killer, but it won't be easy. It seems like everyone in Denmark is a suspect. Motive, means, opportunity--they all have them. But who among them has committed murder most foul?


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