|The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson|
by Mark Twain
Genres: Classic, Suspense
Mark Twain admits that the story got away from him, something that he seems to be notorious for. He had originally meant to create a story that was based on a side show attraction that he had seen of siamese twins. His fiction twins had gotten pushed into the background as the characters of Roxy, Tom, and Pudd'nhead Wilson became more prominent. Twain ended up separating the Siamese twins in this book and pulling this plot out of the story and publishing it as a short story titled Those Extraordinary Twins which I plan to review as a Saturday Short review.
Roxy is a slave who looks white, because the majority of her ancestors were. Her son also has an anglo saxon father and looks just as white as the young master that is her charge. She fears being separated from her son as slaves could be sold at anytime without regard for families. In an attempt to avoid this, she switches the boys in the cradle. Her son ends up pampered, spoiled, and racist, which irks Roxy.
I'm not a huge fan of Mark Twain and I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this book immensely. A great display of suspenseful writing and a look at the use of fingerprinting years before it was commonly used by the police.