Tom Sawyer, Detective

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Overview

It's spring -- and both Tom and Huck have a bad case of spring fever, a malady which is instantly cured when Tom is asked by his Aunt Sally to come as soon as he can to "Arkansaw." It seems that Uncle Silas is in considerable trouble and needs some help. Huck Finn narrates this lesser-known tale of the duo's adventures as they set out down river by steamer. Arriving at their destination, Tom and Huck find Silas being pursued by a dangerous pair of thugs, giving Tom an opportunity to break out the mailorder ...
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Tom Sawyer, Detective

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Overview

It's spring -- and both Tom and Huck have a bad case of spring fever, a malady which is instantly cured when Tom is asked by his Aunt Sally to come as soon as he can to "Arkansaw." It seems that Uncle Silas is in considerable trouble and needs some help. Huck Finn narrates this lesser-known tale of the duo's adventures as they set out down river by steamer. Arriving at their destination, Tom and Huck find Silas being pursued by a dangerous pair of thugs, giving Tom an opportunity to break out the mailorder detective kit he's been itching to use. Thrills, laughs, and a roller coaster ride of breathtaking action follow as clever Tom and crafty Huck get involved with stolen diamonds, meet a mysterious stranger, find a body in a shallow grave, and learn that Uncle Silas has confessed to a murder he didn't commit. Filled with the folk humor and storytelling charm that have made Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn so enduringly popular, this unjustly neglected comic gem by one of America's foremost writers will delight readers of all ages.

Ghosts. Thievery. Glittering diamonds. Murder. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn get involved in intrigue on their riverboat journey to Tom's Aunt Sally's house in Arkansas. Mystery and suspense combine with Huck's storytelling and Tom's detective work to produce a rollicking adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Mark Twain’s two most famous creations, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, are reunited in this high-spirited and captivating tale of mystery and murder in deepest Arkansas.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781600960611
  • Publisher: Waking Lion Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/2008
  • Pages: 72
  • Product dimensions: 0.17 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, during a visit by Halley's Comet in Florida, Missouri. He grew up in Hannibal, Missouri which would later be the setting for "Tom Sawyer" and "Huck Finn." He became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River and a typesetter at his older brother's newspaper. While working as a reporter in 1865, he wrote "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and became nationally recognized.
He served in a Confederate unit in the Civil War for a total of two weeks until the group disbanded, then married Olivia Langdon in 1870. Through his wife, he became friends with Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass and Nikola Tesla. He also knew Thomas Edison and patented three inventions.
The pseudonym Mark Twain came from an old riverboat call, "by the mark twain," meaning "according to the mark, the depth is two fathoms," or "The water is twelve feet deep and safe to pass." Previous to that, he had used the names "Josh" and "Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass."
Twain made a great deal of money by writing and even started his own publishing house, printing the biography of Ulysses Grant. Eventually, that and poor investments in technology caused him to go bankrupt, but he was able to recover by giving a series of world-wide lectures.
In 1909 Twain predicted that, since he had come in with Halley's Comet, he would leave with it as well. He died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910, one day after the comet's approach to Earth. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in his wife's hometown of Elmira, New York.

Biography

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri; his family moved to the port town of Hannibal four years later. His father, an unsuccessful farmer, died when Twain was eleven. Soon afterward the boy began working as an apprentice printer, and by age sixteen he was writing newspaper sketches. He left Hannibal at eighteen to work as an itinerant printer in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. From 1857 to 1861 he worked on Mississippi steamboats, advancing from cub pilot to licensed pilot.

After river shipping was interrupted by the Civil War, Twain headed west with his brother Orion, who had been appointed secretary to the Nevada Territory. Settling in Carson City, he tried his luck at prospecting and wrote humorous pieces for a range of newspapers. Around this time he first began using the pseudonym Mark Twain, derived from a riverboat term. Relocating to San Francisco, he became a regular newspaper correspondent and a contributor to the literary magazine the Golden Era. He made a five-month journey to Hawaii in 1866 and the following year traveled to Europe to report on the first organized tourist cruise. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (1867) consolidated his growing reputation as humorist and lecturer.

After his marriage to Livy Langdon, Twain settled first in Buffalo, New York, and then for two decades in Hartford, Connecticut. His European sketches were expanded into The Innocents Abroad (1869), followed by Roughing It (1872), an account of his Western adventures; both were enormously successful. Twain's literary triumphs were offset by often ill-advised business dealings (he sank thousands of dollars, for instance, in a failed attempt to develop a new kind of typesetting machine, and thousands more into his own ultimately unsuccessful publishing house) and unrestrained spending that left him in frequent financial difficulty, a pattern that was to persist throughout his life.

Following The Gilded Age (1873), written in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, Twain began a literary exploration of his childhood memories of the Mississippi, resulting in a trio of masterpieces --The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Life on the Mississippi (1883), and finally The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), on which he had been working for nearly a decade. Another vein, of historical romance, found expression in The Prince and the Pauper (1882), the satirical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), and Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (1896), while he continued to draw on his travel experiences in A Tramp Abroad (1880) and Following the Equator (1897). His close associates in these years included William Dean Howells, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable, as well as the dying Ulysses S. Grant, whom Twain encouraged to complete his memoirs, published by Twain's publishing company in 1885.

For most of the 1890s Twain lived in Europe, as his life took a darker turn with the death of his daughter Susy in 1896 and the worsening illness of his daughter Jean. The tone of Twain's writing also turned progressively more bitter. The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894), a detective story hinging on the consequences of slavery, was followed by powerful anti-imperialist and anticolonial statements such as 'To the Person Sitting in Darkness' (1901), 'The War Prayer' (1905), and 'King Leopold's Soliloquy' (1905), and by the pessimistic sketches collected in the privately published What Is Man? (1906). The unfinished novel The Mysterious Stranger was perhaps the most uncompromisingly dark of all Twain's later works. In his last years, his financial troubles finally resolved, Twain settled near Redding, Connecticut, and died in his mansion, Stormfield, on April 21, 1910.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Langhorne Clemens (real name); Sieur Louis de Conte
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1835
    2. Place of Birth:
      Florida, Missouri
    1. Date of Death:
      April 21, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Redding, Connecticut

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

An Invitation for Tom and Huck

Well, it was the next spring after me and Tom Sawyer set our old nigger Jim free, the time he was chained up for a runaway slave down there on Tom's uncle Silas's farm in Arkansaw. The frost was working out of the ground, and out of the air, too, and it was getting closer and closer onto barefoot time every day; and next it would be marble-time, and next mumblety-peg, and next tops and hoops, and next kites, and then right away it would be summer and going in a-swimming. It just makes a boy homesick to look ahead like that and see how far off summer is. Yes, and it sets him to sighing and saddening around, and there's something the matter with him, he don't know what. But, anyway, he gets out by himself and mopes and thinks; and mostly he hunts for a lonesome place high up on the hill in the edge of the woods, and sets there and looks away off on the big Mississippi down there a-reaching miles and miles around the points where the timber looks smoky and dim, it's so far off and still, and everything's so solemn it seems like everybody you've loved is dead and gone, and you 'most wish you was dead and gone too, and done with it all.

Don't you know what that is? It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want—oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! It seems to you that mainly what you want is to get away, get away from the same old tedious things you're so used to seeing and so tired of, and see something new. That is the idea; you want to go and be a wanderer; you want to go wandering far away to strange countries where everything is mysterious and wonderful and romantic. And if you can't do that, you'll put up with considerable less; you'll go anywhere you can go, just so as to get away, and be thankful of the chance, too.

Well, me and Tom Sawyer had the spring fever, and had it bad, too; but it wasn't any use to think about Tom trying to get away, because, as he said, his aunt Polly would't let him quit school and go traipsing off somers wasting time; so we was pretty blue. We was setting on the front steps one day about sundown talking this way, when out comes his Aunt Polly with a letter in her hand and says:

"Tom, I reckon you've got to pack up and go down to Arkansaw—your aunt Sally wants you."

I 'most jumped out of my skin for joy. I reckoned Tom would fly at his aunt and hug her head off; but if you believe me he set there like a rock, and never said a word. It made me fit to cry to see him act so foolish, with such a noble chance as this opening up. Why, we might lose it if he didn't speak up and show he was thankful and grateful. But he set there and studied and studied till I was that distressed I didn't know what to do; then he says, very ca'm, and I could 'a' shot him for it:

"Well," he says, "I'm right own sorry, Aunt Polly, but I reckon I got to be excused—for the present."

His aunt Polly was knocked so stupid and so mad at the cold impudence of it that she couldn't say a word for as much as a half a minute, and this gave me a chance to nudge Tom and whisper.

"'Ain't you got any sense? Sp'iling such a noble chance as this and throwing it away?"

But he warn't disturbed. He mumbled back:

"Huck Finn, do you want me to let her see how bad I want to go? Why, she'd begin to doubt, right away, and imagine a lot of sickness and dangers and objections, and first you know she'd take it all back. You lemme alone; I reckon I know how to work her."

Now I never would 'a' thought of that. But he was right. Tom Sawyer was always right—the levelest head I ever see, and always at himself and ready for anything you might spring on him. By this time his aunt Polly was all straight again, and she let fly. She says:

"You'll be excused! You will! Well, I never heard the like of it in all my days! The idea of you talking like that to me! Now take yourself off and pack your traps; and if I hear another word out of you about what you'll be excused from and what you won't, I lay I'll excuse you—with a hickory!"

She hit his head a thump with her thimble as we dodged by, and he let on to be whimpering as we struck for the stairs. Up in his room he hugged me, he was so out of his head for gladness because he was going traveling. And he says:

"Before we get away she'll wish she hadn't let me go, but she won't know any way to get around it now. After what she's said, her pride won't let her take it back."

Tom was packed in ten minutes, all except what his aunt and Mary would finish up for him; then we waited ten more for her to get cooled down and sweet and gentle again; for Tom said it took her ten minutes to unruffle in times when half of her feathers was up, but twenty when they was all up, and this was one of the times when they was all up. Then we went down, being in a sweat to know what the letter said.

She was setting there in a brown study, with it laying in her lap. We set down, and she says:

"They're in considerable trouble down there, and they think you and Huck'll be a kind of diversion for them—'comfort,' they say. Much of that they'll get out of you and Huck Finn, I reckon. There's a neighbor named Brace Dunlap that's been wanting to marry their Benny for three months, and at last they told him p'int blank and once for all, he couldn't; so he has soured on them, and they're worried about it. I reckon he's somebody they think they better be on the good side of, for they've tried to please him by hiring his no-account brother to help on the farm when they can't hardly afford it, and don't want him around anyhow. Who are the Dunlaps?"

"They live about a mile form Uncle Silas's place, Aunt Polly—all the farmers live about a mile apart down there—and Brace Dunlap is a long sight richer than any of the others, and owns a whole grist of niggers. He's a widower, thirty-six years old, without any children, and is proud of his money and overbearing, and everybody is a little afraid on him. I judge he thought he could have any girl he wanted, just for the asking, and it must have set him back a good deal when he found he couldn't get Benny. Why, Benny's only half as old as he is, and just as sweet and lovely as—well, you've seen her. Poor old Uncle Silas—why, it's pitiful, him trying to curry favor that way—so hard pushed and poor, and yet hiring that useless Jubiter Dunlap to please his ornery brother."

"What a name—Jubiter! Where'd he get it?"

"It's only just a nickname. I reckon they've forgot his real name long before this. He's twenty-seven, now and has had it ever since the first time he ever went in swimming. The school-teacher seen a round brown mole the size of a dime on his left leg above his knee, and four little bits of moles around it, when he was naked, and he said it 'minded him of Jubiter and his moons; and the children thought it was funny, and so they got to calling him Jubiter, and he's Jubiter yet. He's tall, and lazy, and sly, and sneaky, and ruther cowardly, too, but kind of good-natured, and wears long brown hair and no beard, and hasn't got a cent, and Brace boards him for nothing, and gives him his old clothes to wear, and despises him. Jubiter is a twin."

"What's other twin like?"

"Just exactly like Jubiter—so they say; used to was, anyway, but he hain't been seen for seven years. He got to robbing when he was nineteen or twenty, and they jailed him; but he broke jail and got away—up North here, somers. They used to hear about him robbing and burglaring now and then,

but that was years ago. He's dead now. At least that's what they say. They don't hear about him any more."

"What was his name?"

"Jake."

There wasn't anything more said for a considerable while; the old lady was thinking. At last she says:

"The thing that is mostly worrying your aunt Sally is the tempers that that man Jubiter gets your uncle into."

Tom was astonished, and so was I. Tom says:

"Tempers? Uncle Silas? Land, you must be joking! I didn't know he had any temper."

"Works him up into perfect rages, your aunt Sally says; says he acts as if he would really hit the man, sometimes."

"Aunt Polly, it beats anything I ever heard of. Why, he's just as gentle as mush."

"Well, she's worried, anyway. Says your uncle Silas is like a changed man, on account of all this quarreling. And the neighbors talk about it, and lay all the blame on your uncle, of course, because he's a preacher and hain't got any business to quarrel. Your aunt Sally says he hates to go into the pulpit, he's so ashamed; and the people have begun to cool toward him, and he ain't as popular now as he used to was."

"Well, ain't it strange? Why, Aunt Polly, he was always so good and kind and moony and absent-minded and chuckle-headed and lovable—why, he was just an angel! What can be the matter of him, do you reckon?"

AUTHOR's NOTE:

Strange as the incidents of this story are, they are not inventions, but facts—even to the public confession of the accused. I take them from an old-time Swedish criminal trial, change the actors, and transfer the scenes to America. I have added some details, but only a couple of them are important ones.—M. T

.

All new material in this edition is Copyright © 1993 by Tom Doherty Associates, Inc.

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Table of Contents

Tom Sawyer, Detective 1
Author's note 79
Notes 80
Biographical note 81
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2011

    Great fun!

    Loved every essay and story in this book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    we enjoyed this fun book

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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