Something Wicked by Alan Gratz.
A Horatio Wilkes Mystery.
Dial Books/Penguin Group: NY, 2008.

Horatio Wilkes goes along for the ride to the Scottish Highland games in Tennessee. His friend, Mac, is not behaving normally, spurred on by his girlfriend to prove himself a man. The games become ugly after a fortune teller proclaims Mac's destiny. Horatio finds Duncan MacRae, the founder of the fair, dead in his tent.

Trouble follows Horatio around as he searches for the culprit. The evidence points to Duncan's son, but Mac and his girlfriend, Beth, are acting peculiar. A Scottish punk band is picking on Banks, Mac's cousin, as he prepares for the saxophone competition of his life. Mac and Beth's dads are arguing about business and also behaving suspiciously. A striking girl Horatio has his eye on is sneaking around and spying on Mac and Beth's dads.

Plenty of suspicion to go around. Horatio digs in with his usual tenaciousness and sarcasm. He's unprepared for how nasty things might become, and he's blinded slightly by his relationships with people. Plus, he comes to the games as a bystander and ends proclaiming himself a Scot.

I have enjoyed the Shakespeare references in this book and the previous, Something Rotten. They blend even better into this story. There are enough changes to the plot to keep the reader hanging and to make it Gratz's own story, but I love the connections. In Something Wicked, Gratz is also setting the stage for Horatio's next mystery. Looking forward to it. They have been smart and funny so far. And as a bonus, my kids are comparing Gratz to Shakespeare in their homeschooling, and even coming up with their own writing projects.

related-murder, Highland games, Scottish Americans, Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, TN, Macbeth, William Shakespeare, mysteries and detective stories, friendships


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