Tom Sawyer, Detective
Harper's August / Edward Penfield
|Media type||Print, Audio CD|
|Preceded by||The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson|
|Followed by||Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc|
Tom Sawyer, Detective is an 1896 novel by Mark Twain. It is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), and a prequel to Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894). Tom Sawyer attempts to solve a mysterious murder in this burlesque of the immensely popular detective novels of the time. Like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the story is told using the first-person narrative voice of Huck Finn.
- In 1938, the novel was made into a film directed by Louis King, starring Billy Cook as Tom and Donald O'Connor as Huckleberry Finn.
- A similar incarnation of Tom Sawyer appeared in the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, set three years after the publication of this novel. In this film, Tom works for the United States Secret Service, and in the novelization of the film, Sawyer mentions that he once worked as a detective.
In 1909, Danish schoolmaster Valdemar Thoresen claimed, in an article in the magazine Maaneds, that the plot of the book had been plagiarized from Steen Blicher's story The Vicar of Weilby. Blicher's work had been translated into German, but not into English, and Twain's secretary wrote Mr. Thoresen a letter, stating, "Mr. Clemens is not familiar with Danish and does not read German fluently, and has not read the book you mention, nor any translation or adaptation of it that he is aware of. The matter constituting 'Tom Sawyer, Detective,' is original with Mr. Clemens, who has never been consciously a plagiarist."
In fact, if the story were taken from any tale, it would actually be from a real one—in an introductory passage, Twain notes
"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."
- "Was 'Tom Sawyer' Danish Or American?; Why Mark Twain Is Charged with 'Borrowing' from Steen Blicher's Story of 'The Vicar of Weilby.'", by Henry S. Leach, New York Times Sunday Magazine, February 6, 1910, p7
- "Tom Sawyer, Detective"
- Tom Sawyer, Detective at Project Gutenberg
- Tom Sawyer Abroad / Tom Sawyer, Detective, University of California Press, 2004.
- Full Text of "Tom Sawyer, Detective online at Mark Twain Classics
- Tom Sawyer, Detective, online at Ye Olde Library
- Tom Sawyer, Detective at the Internet Movie Database
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