Monday, March 07, 2005

Mark Twain, Mystery Writer

Well, it isn’t exactly a mystery novel, but Mark Twain demonstrated in Pudd'nhead Wilson a serious interest in crime detection in addition to his established flare for humor, social commentary and memorable characterization.

Published in 1894, the novel is set, like so many of Twain's classic tales, in an antebellum Mississippi River town. The “detective”: an eccentric lawyer given the nickname “Puddn'head” after making an enigmatic comment about a barking dog. The plot: Oh, you must read it for yourself. The book is short -- an hour or two’s diversion for most of you (a day or two for me, a hopeless editor who proofreads everything). Perhaps it will whet your interest to note the story hinges on fingerprinting, a science not officially accepted at the time of publication.


Post a Comment

<< Home