Pudd'nhead Wilson/Those Extraordinary Twins
Written during Mark Twain's so-called pessimistic period, Pudd'nhead Wilson is a darkly comic masterpiece that exposes the wounds of racism in America & the absurdity of judging character based upon class or skin color. Set in a small Mississippi River town in the state of Missouri before the Civil War, the novel begins when Roxana, a beautiful slave who can pass for white, switches the child of her master with her own infant son, now called Tom, who grows into a cruel and cowardly man. When Tom's uncle, Judge Driscoll, is found murdered after a botched robbery attempt, suspicion is cast upon two former sideshow performers, Luigi & Angelo Capello, a pair of good-looking & charming identical twins from Italy. Meanwhile, David Pudd'nhead Wilson is a wise but unorthodox lawyer who collects fingerprints as a hobby. Shunned as an eccentric, he ultimately wins the respect of the townspeople when he solves the murder mystery & reveals the true identity of the killer. Often hilarious, sometimes appalling, always fast-paced, Pudd'nhead Wilson is ultimately a fierce condemnation of a racially prejudiced society that was predicated upon the institution of slavery. This edition also includes Twain's related short story, Those Extraordinary Twins.