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Review: iClassics' "A Scandal in Bohemia"

iClassics are a company providing a more immersive experience of works by past authors. Amongst those on their list are Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde and, in this case, Arthur Conan Doyle.

A typical "page" in the app
The Sherlock Holmes story in this instance is A Scandal in Bohemia. Essentially what you get is an interactive book experience where you turn the pages and see some scenes given life through still and animated images.

The way the story has been presented is clever. The app restricts the amount of text you see on any one "page" which has the effect of making this short story seem a lot longer than it is.

Before you commence (and indeed at any stage during your reading) you can use the options page to make certain decisions. The principal decision being whether or not to have the music on. The music is perfectly good but after a few pages it does start to grate and I suspect, like me, you'll eventually return to the options page to turn it off. For the best experience I found it good to turn the music off just before starting to read. This decision does not affect the other audio during the book.

I hardly need to review the story itself but the graphic style is good and reminded me of certain Holmes graphic novels that have been produced in the last few years - such as those by Eye Classics.

From The Sign of Four graphic novel (Eye Classics)
In addition to the story itself, there is a mini-biography of Arthur Conan Doyle which is quite good but does leave some odd things out. There are also a few examples of the artist's preparatory drawings for the app which are quite interesting.

My biggest concern is the storage required. On Android this app consumes 270MB of space (it is also available for iPhone). If each story consumes a similar amount (and bear in mind this is a short story), your phone is going to get rather full as other stories are made available. I am also forced to wonder whether the graphics and presentation are enough to persuade people to part with money (albeit £1.99) to get hold of a story that they can download for free.

Also, if future stories are released, what extras will they have? The makers won't be able to get away with the same extras so they will be under pressure to provide new offerings in this area.

Would I buy these? I have to be honest and say no but I'm coming from the position of someone who already has many versions of the stories in his possession and does not see enough in this one to merit purchasing it. If you are not in my position and are perhaps at the beginning of your Sherlockian journey these would be a worthy introduction to the Holmes canon. In order for it to be a success I think iClassics need to bring out more in the series as fast as they can possibly manage.

Please note that I was asked if I would supply a review for this app. In order to be able to provide it I was given the app for free (it is on Google Pay for £1.99). Look for app entitled "iDoyle".

Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here
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