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Connecticut Yankee in New York (Mark Twain Mystery) Hardcover – December 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Heck takes a colorful city (New Orleans) and a colorful character (Mark Twain), adds a murder, a duel, some voodoo and period detail and conjures up an entertaining sequel to his debut, Death on the Mississippi. As told by Wentworth Cabot, Twain's secretary and the Connecticut Yankee of the title who plays Watson to Twain's Holmes, this second Twain adventure finds the irascible writer in New Orleans on a lecture tour that's an attempt to recover financial health. Author George Washington Cable, one of several historical characters making an appearance, enlists Twain's detective skills to prove innocent a black cook imprisoned for the fatal poisoning of his employer. To Twain, this task means proving someone else guilty, since there is a large presumption of guilt operating against the cook, Leonard Galloway. The dead man's wealthy friends and relatives comprise a likely list of suspects. With the aid of Cabot and Cable, jazz trumpet legend Buddy Bolden (before he won fame) and the voodoo woman, Eulalie Echo, Twain puzzles out the solution. But not before giving the reader an enjoyable tour of 1890s New Orleans restaurants, bars, Jackson Square and Garden District homes, along with a look at the infamous Parish Prison. Twain can take a bow for his performance here, with readers assured that Heck will give him a chance for an encore.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Samuel L. Clemens and his secretary, Wentworth Cabot, travel to New Orleans as part of a lecture tour. In the French Quarter, they meet another writer, George Washington Cable, who becomes incensed when a black man of his acquaintance, who also happens to be an excellent cook, is accused of poisoning his wealthy employer. Clemens recently solved a crime aboard the steamboat that brought them downriver (Death on the Mississippi) but is reluctant to investigate another. However, after the Clemens-Cabot team visits Leonard Galloway (the accused) at the old Parish Prison, the two come away convinced of his innocence and determinedly pursue the case. Mark Twain's powerful reputation opens doors and garners assistance from a police detective, an influential voodoo woman, a notorious saloon owner, a criminal court judge, and the deceased man's butler. One word of caution: try not to start this novel on an empty stomach. It will have you craving gumbo, finely seasoned pompano, and pecan pie as this Crescent City mystery simmers. Jennifer Henderson

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Product Details

  • Series: Mark Twain Mystery
  • Hardcover: 311 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1st edition (December 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042515470X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425154700
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,470,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Heck is the author of the "Mark Twain Mysteries," six novels featuring the famous author as a detective, set in the 1890s. He is also co-author (with the late Robert Asprin) of four books in the "Phule's Company" series of comic military SF novels..

Before setting out as a novelist, Peter worked as an editor at Ace Books and has freelanced for Baen and Del Rey, editing Spider Robinson, Robert Sawyer and Harry Turtledove (among others). Before that, he created the SF newsletter Xignals and its mystery equivalent Crime Times for the Waldenbooks chain. He is also a long-time reviewer for Asimov's Science Fiction.

Peter is currently a reporter and photographer at the Kent County News in Chestertown, Maryland, where he grew up. His beats include local government and the arts. He also plays lead guitar in a local band, Col. Leonard's Irregulars, and is a founding member of the Chestertown chess club.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mr. Heck has a very good grip on the world of Mark Twain and New Orleans in this book. His discriptions of the wonderful foods on this City made me hungry the entire book. Mr. Heck weaves a very good mystery. He also understands the culture of the time and explains it very well. The author captures Mark Twain's humor in his characters, many times I laughed out loud. Mr. Heck's books are worth the read.
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By A Customer on February 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
"A Connecticut Yankee in Criminal Court", as probably everyone knows by now, is the sophomore effort by writer Peter Heck. It follows his earlier successful Mark Twain mystery "Death on the Mississippi". This book showed a lot of promise from page one, with the introduction of George Washington Cable as a featured character. Heck did not spend a lot of time explaining who Cable was, a decision which pleased me. I knew immediately that Heck had done some homework on New Orleans history and I sat back, eagerly anticipating an interesting and sly mystery full of bold, well-written characters and inside jokes on New Orleans historical figures. What I got was something less than that. The story, a vague and meandering tail involving the poisoning death of a prominent white Orleanian and the black cook falsely accused of his murder, was indeed an entertaining one, but offered nothing new to the now-bursting ranks of the New Orleans mystery subgenre. Writers plotting mysteries set in the Crescent City now offer us one of three choices; murder against a Mardi Gras backdrop, old family intrigue or corrupt politicians. Sometimes, if they are especially clever, they will mix and match these story elements, but for the most part, they are simply not that clever. For me, the mysteries that work best are the ones that use New Orleans as a setting, but accept the fact that Orleanians have to make groceries, pick up the laundry, clean out their rain gutters and fight traffic like the rest of us. Some writers present a New Orleans whose residents do nothing but fling beads from Mardi Gras floats, run for office and go to fais do dos with their old Cajun families who have so many secrets they are fairly flowing from the closets. But I digress.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
A fun little mystery, this novel is narrated by Mark Twain's secretary, Wentworth. While in New Orleans, Twain & Wentworth end up being asked to help solve a mystery, which is basically the meat of the book. The ending felt a tad rushed; the final "aha!" moment seemed to come out of nowhere to me, but all in all, this was an amusing mystery, and the use of Mark Twain as protagonist was rather clever.
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By jdp on March 10, 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Interesting premise but plodding pace made me give up and flip to the end.
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