The Stolen White Elephant, and Other Detective Stories

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Oxford University Press, 1996 - Detective and mystery stories, American. - 214 pages
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Three detective stories by Mark Twain with an introduction by Walter Mosely, the modern master of mystery writing, and an afterword by noted scholar Lillian S. Robinson. "The Stolen White Elephant" is a broad farce mocking the self-proclaimed omniscience of many fictional detectives, told entirely in the form of a series of ridiculous telegraphs. Revolving around the theft of a literal white elephant, the gift of the King of Siam, this manifestly absurd story is nevertheless modeled afterthe real life efforts of a blundering New York Police Department to recover the corpse of one Alexander T. Stewart, stolen from his family vault in 1878. "A Double-Barreled Detective Story" is another delightful spoof of the mystery genre, then in its infancy, this time introducing the reader to Sherlock Holmes as he has never been seen before or since. Far from his usual elegant London haunts, the great detective is caught up in a melodramatic murder mystery of love, betrayal, and vengeancein a rough California mining town. Finally, in "Tom Sawyer, Detective," Twain gives us a lively adventure featuring Tom Sawyer as the great detective and Huck Finn as his Watson, investigating diamond thefts and murders back in Hannibal. Three delightful stories, all with Twain's trademark wit and sense of fun.

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About the author (1996)

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Professor of American Studies, University of Texas, Austin.

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