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Posted February 20, 2010
Most people are familiar with Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but did you know that there were a couple of other sequels? One was Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894), and the other is this short novel in which Tom Sawyer attempts to solve a mysterious murder, as narrated by Huck Finn. It is a satire of the immensely popular detective novels of the time.
Tom's Uncle Silas, a preacher in Arkansas, is doing poorly because a rich neighbor, Brace Dunlap, wants to marry Tom's cousin Benny, and she said no, so Brace is trying to stir up trouble for Silas, who hires Brace's no account brother Jubiter to work for him in an attempt to smooth things out, although Silas and Jubiter are constantly arguing. Aunt Polly sends Tom and Huck on a steamboat down the Mississippi to help cheer Silas and his family up. On the boat, they meet Jake Dunlap, Jubiter's long lost twin brother who had become a criminal and was assumed to have been killed many years before. He and two other men have robbed a diamond store in St. Louis, and he has sneaked off with the diamonds, but the other two men followed him on to the boat, so he is now trying to escape them. His plan is to go home to his brothers and pretend to be a deaf-mute.
On the day Tom and Huck arrive, Jubiter Dunlap disappears. He later turns up dead, Uncle Silas is accused of killing him, and there is a trial. Will Tom be able to save his uncle from hanging? We did this as a family read aloud, and everyone enjoyed it. In the "Dover Evergreen Classics" edition, the word "nig*er" is replaced by "Negro." I had to do a little further editing because of some common euphemisms and a few instances of taking the Lord's name in vain. There are also several references to tobacco and smoking. Otherwise, this is a fun book. In 1938, the story was made into a movie directed by Louis King, with Billy Cook as Tom and Donald O'Connor as Huckleberry Finn.
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Posted December 3, 2011
Posted May 22, 2010
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