Penguin's latest attempt to harness the power of the Internet and bring reading to the computer generation is cleverer than most.
Taking it one step beyond asking a clutch of familiar names to knock out a short story, the site uses interactive technology to bring the tales to life. Six classic books will be reworked in a short tale by a well-known author and the first, The 21 Steps (it's short about 18) has just arrived courtesy of Charles Cumming. Using Google Maps to dash around the country, you can follow the progress of protagonist Rick Blackwell visually and click on information points to find out the rest of the story.
Some of it is cheesy and the story is sometimes rather laden with stereotypes and cliches (oh, look! A Greek girl whose father is called Aristotle and owns a shipping company!) and Scooby Doo twists but it still kept me resolutely clicking along.
There's another impetus to complete the story which is that at the end of all six questions will be asked and providing the right answers could lead to a prize of a huge new Penguin library of 1,300 books.
You can get reading here, and don't forget to sign up to the Google group for updates on the next story.