Originally published in 1902, this novella occupies a decidedly minor place among Twain's works. While it offers flashes of brilliance, it is in the main a dreary story that even Twain buffs wish had never been written. Indeed, many listeners may find it repulsive. The tale begins in 1880 with the marriage of a Virginia belle to a blackguard who abuses her for months, then ties her to a tree, has bloodhounds tear off her clothes, and abandons her. Afterward, the woman bears a son who proves to have the tracking powers of a bloodhound. Years later, she sends him off to track down his father and torment him, in revenge. Unpleasant stuff, but the story does have light moments, including the appearance of a bumbling Sherlock Holmes. Recommended only to libraries that want complete Twain collections.-R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.