, like many other Mark Twain books, was read aloud by the author to his wife and daughters, chapter by chapter, as it was being written.
This humorous, dramatic, and sometimes shocking novel, set in the pre-war south, is the tale of Roxy, a beautiful and intelligent slave woman who contrives to save her own light-skinned child from being "sold down the river". She successfully switches her baby with the master's own child, starting a chain of events that lead to surprising and tragic results.
This book is considered by many to be Mark Twain's best book dealing with the cruelty, horror, and inhumanity of slavery in 19th century America. Pudd'nhead, the title character, not only provides humorous aphorisms and wry observations on the little river town, he also proves to be the catalyst that solves the mystery, radically changing the lives of all of those involved.
Interestingly, Mark Twain's use of fingerprints as evidence in a fictional criminal trial predated the official acceptance of such evidence in actual U.S. courts by two years.
This recording is a recreation of Mark Twain's own reading, just as his family might have heard the story for the first time in the family library.
(P)2003 Richard Henzel