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adapted by Oksana Butuk & illustrated by Denis Lekhno & developed by Gutenbergz

Pub Date: Dec. 5th, 2012
Publisher: Gutenbergz

A middling adaptation of the classic Sherlock Holmes stories for the iPad.

The good first: Gutenbergz, a Ukrainian app developer, knows how to make a visually appealing product. In this instance, the feel is something of a cross between Edward Gorey and art nouveau, neither style quite spot-on, chronologically speaking, but certainly right in the atmospherics department. The animations are simple but entertaining, as with the titular orange parts that go a-popping, meaningfully, in the story “The Five Orange Pips.” The music wouldn’t be out of place, speaking of Gorey, as a reworked theme for the PBS Mystery series; it can get a little overbearing, but that’s what the volume control is for. The mediocre: Only one story comes packaged for free, with in-app buying to add another four at $.99 apiece—not a hefty price, to be sure, but only one for free seems a little skimpy, considering that Conan Doyle’s stories have been in the public domain for decades. The bad: The stories seem at times to have been edited with a meat cleaver, with attendant continuity problems. If the intent is to be properly introduced to Conan Doyle’s great detective, who keeps on ticking 125 years later, then the better strategy would be to download any one of the several free editions of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes that are available for iBooks. Better, one could also go to Project Gutenberg, without the piratical z, and download an ePub version with Sidney Paget’s iconic illustrations, a low-tech solution to a no-tech problem.

An entertainment, to be sure, but one that could have been more substantial.