Another of Mark Twain's best selling yarns of skullduggery and mischief. Set in the deep South, Pudd'nhead Wilson is the central character as an attorney who solves a murder mystery and lays bare the wicked deeds of a larger than life ensemble of personalities in his own wry and peculiar way.
David Wilson is called “Pudd’nhead” by the townspeople, who fail to understand his combination of wisdom and eccentricity. He redeems himself by simultaneously solving a murder mystery and a case of transposed identities.
Two children, a white boy and a mulatto, are born on the same day. Roxy, mother of the mulatto, is given charge of the children; in fear that her son will be sold, she exchanges the babies.
The mulatto, though he grows up as a white boy, turns out to be a scoundrel. He sells his mother and murders and robs his uncle. He accuses Luigi, one of a pair of twins, of the murder. Pudd’nhead, a lawyer, undertakes Luigi’s defense. On the basis of fingerprint evidence, he exposes the real murderer, and the white boy takes his rightful place.
The book implicitly condemns a society that allows slavery. It concludes with a series of witty aphorisms from Pudd’nhead’s calendar.
Table of Contents
A Whisper to the Reader
Chapter 01 Pudd'nhead Wins His Name
Chapter 02 Driscoll Spares His Slaves
Chapter 03 Roxy Plays a Shrewd Trick
Chapter 04 The Ways of the Changelings
Chapter 05 The Twins Thrill Dawson's Landing
Chapter 06 Swimming in Glory
Chapter 07 The Unknown Nymph
Chapter 08 Marse Tom Tramples His Chance
Chapter 09 Tom Practices Sycophancy
Chapter 10 The Nymph Revealed
Chapter 11 Pudd'nhead's Thrilling Discovery
Chapter 12 The Shame of Judge Driscoll
Chapter 13 Tom Stares at Ruin
Chapter 14 Roxana Insists Upon Reform
Chapter 15 The Robber Robbed
Chapter 16 Sold Down the River
Chapter 17 The Judge Utters Dire Prophesy
Chapter 18 Roxana Commands
Chapter 19 The Prophesy Realized
Chapter 20 The Murderer Chuckles
Chapter 21 Doom
Author's Note to Those Extraordinary Twins