Sherlock & Watson Wired and Re-Wired | Review
Sherlock & Watson Wired
Sherlock & Watson Re-Wired
by Arthur Conan Doyle & Ann Kimbrough
Everything Journals, $11.99
The “Text Me Mystery” series brings the classic characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson into the modern era by re-telling Arthur Conan Doyle’s mystery stories via text messaging.
Somehow, Holmes and Watson have randomly ended up in a chat thread with four modern-day teens. The kids are bored, so in Wired, Watson begins telling them “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot”. The format is unique.
The text message format communicates the story in short bits, allowing readers to play along. The kids ask about old-fashioned vocabulary (there’s a glossary in the back) and update attitudes, as when a reference to fox-hunting is met with the statement, “we don’t kill animals for fun.”
They also comment on the story. For instance, one says “I’m guessing Sherlock is done being bored… Right?” Notes pages give readers time to think about the story so far. It’s fun being part of the audience with them. New readers have more immersion in the story, while those who know the tale can experience it in a more immediate form.
The story has been made appropriate for younger readers, which means those familiar with the original stories will find some of the plot changed. Instead of Sherlock endangering himself and Watson during the investigation, for example, the kids do research, and instead of letting killers get away, even if their motive is thought to be understandable, they’re arrested. The differences can make for good discussion about how our expectations for justice and appropriate behavior change over time.
The second book in the series, Sherlock & Watson Re-Wired, adds more classic characters to the text chat: Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft and the Scotland Yard representative Inspector Lestrade. A spy story and stolen submarine plans make for more excitement for the present-day kids and readers.
These volumes, with another coming later this year, take classic mystery adventure stories and update them well for a younger, modern audience. The fresh spin is entertaining.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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