Saturday Review [unsigned]
1894: December 29

Mark Twain's last book is a story of mixed babies and the ingenious detection of crime. It is not altogether another Huckleberry Finn. On the other hand, it is a relief to find that it is not another Yankee at King Arthur's Court. Roxy, the slave woman, who changes the babies, is a delightful character, who stirs us with a warm and ready interest. For the rest, there is little that can be said to rouse enthusiasm. Pudd'nhead Wilson himself is a little unreal, too much of the deus ex machina, though there is much that is Twainian in the specimen sayings that illustrate his wisdom. Every chapter is headed with these extracts, and it is clear that Pudd'nhead Wilson is to Mark Twain what Poor Richard was to Franklin. In the means by which Wilson detects the murderer of Judge Driscoll we have an ingenious adaptation of the system of thumb-impressions, originated by Sir W. Herschell in India, as a method of identifying criminals. It is cleverly, if not entirely persuasively, worked out in the story. But the sketch of Roxy, the negress, is by far the finest thing in the book.

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