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Tom Sawyer, Detective: 01/30/08

Tom Sawyer, Detective

Tom Sawyer, Detective is the fourth and final book in a series by Mark Twain. The first two books are more well known than books three and four. In order of publication they are:

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
  • Tom Sawyer Abroad (1884)
  • Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896)

I haven't read Tom Sawyer Abroad but of the three I have read, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is my favorite. Frankly, though, this entire series is among my least favorite books by Twain. I much prefer his nonfiction work.

By this final book, Tom and Huck are seventeen. They are old enough to travel on their own on a steamboat. It is as they are returning home that they stumble upon a mystery involving stolen diamonds that later results in a murder.

The edition I read, A 2-in-1 (bound with Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson) volume by Companion Library has illustrations that mistakenly draw Tom and Huck as the would have appeared in the earlier novels. Seeing them illustrated as children makes no sense for the sorts of things Twain has them doing or the way they interact with their elders.

The novel is pretty entertaining until the last (and longest) chapter: "Tom Discovers the Murderers." Then the story drags to its final conclusion. Mark Twain never could figure out how to end his novels and Tom Sawyer, Detective is a prime example of this weakness.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Saturday, February, 2, 2008 at 09:48:10

Nicola Manning

Interesting! I haven't read the last two either and didn't realize they were part of the series.

Found you on Saturday Review of Books!"

Comment #2: Saturday, February, 2, 2008 at 09:19:03


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