Wow! Barbara, that's a great review! I can't thank you enough. Writing this was a labor of love...even though everyone had to endure the many months of delay, both in having it accepted by a publisher and finally seeing it in final form. If you don't mind, I'll forward the review to Lonnie Whitaker, the editor, so he can read it and show it to Lou Turner at High Hill Press. I don't know if either of them are members of the MT Forum All the best, Tim Champlin ----- Original Message ----- From: "Barbara Schmidt" <[log in to unmask]> To: <[log in to unmask]> Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2016 8:27 AM Subject: BOOK REVIEW: _Mark Twain Speaking from the Grave_, Tim Champlin > BOOK REVIEW > > _Mark Twain Speaking from the Grave: The Search for His Hidden > Recordings_. > By Tim Champlin. Pp. 278. High Hill Press, 2016. Softcover. $16.95. > > > Many books reviewed on the Mark Twain Forum are available at discounted > prices from the Twain Web Bookstore. Purchases from this site generate > commissions that benefit the Mark Twain Project. Please visit < > http://www.twainweb.net> > > > Reviewed for the Mark Twain Forum by: > Barbara Schmidt > > > Copyright (c) 2016 Mark Twain Forum. This review may not be published or > redistributed in any medium without permission. > > > Tim Champlin, the author of more than 38 western adventure novels, > dedicates this "what if" story to well-known Mark Twain scholars Kevin Mac > Donnell, Kent Rasmussen, and Patrick Ober--who, he hints, share some of > the > blame for it. Champlin has incorporated Mark Twain or his characters in > several previous novels, including _Fire Bell in the Night_ (2004) and > _Tom > Sawyer and the Ghosts of Summer_ (2010). Still more Mark Twain spinoffs > lie > in Champlin's future, including a story about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in > which a twenty-first century boy travels back to their time that will come > out next year. > > > Champlin's latest published adventure story tackles one of the Holy Grails > of Mark Twain scholarship, the lost Edison cylinders containing recordings > of Mark Twain's voice. In Champlin's tale, these cylinders contain much > more than just the recordings of Mark Twain dictating his works. They also > contain clues to solving both a decades-old murder and a paternity > mystery. > > > The novel opens in the year 1961 at a small college in Hannibal, Missouri, > where a forty-six-year-old adjunct English teacher, John Milton Morrison, > is lecturing on Mark Twain when a chance meeting changes his life. A > former > civil servant and somewhat of an academic misfit, he drives a beloved 1937 > Packard with a Corvette engine and is having trouble making ends meet. He > has been working on his doctorate but has struggled to come up with a > dissertation topic. After his lecture, he meets middle-aged Frank > Ashcroft, > the (fictional) son of Mark Twain's secretary Isabel Lyon and business > manager Ralph Ashcroft. The younger Ashcroft convinces Morrison that Mark > Twain's lost voice recordings exist and might be found. Ashcroft's primary > interest in them is that they may contain evidence that Mark Twain was his > natural father, but Morrison sees them as a possible answer to both his > dissertation-topic problem and his financial woes. Together, the two men > begin a fantastic quest that moves through the archives of the Mark Twain > Papers at Berkeley, to the household landfill near the site of Mark > Twain's > last home in Redding, Connecticut. Morrison and Ashcroft follow a trail of > cryptic clues that take their search to a time capsule in a Hannibal jail > cornerstone, the internal workings of the last remaining Paige typesetter, > and Hannibal's famous limestone cave. Along the way they deal with coded > puzzles, high-speed chases, and gunfights suitable to every fast-moving > adventure tale. > > > Chock full of Twain trivia, Champlin's novel should entertain casual > readers and Mark Twain buffs alike. It also contains entertaining zingers, > such as: "Bad bosses are everywhere--nowhere worse than in higher > education." Not surprisingly, perhaps, a corrupt college president, > Jordan > Forrest Beckley, whose father had been an adversary of Mark Twain, is a > dark force in this tale. Much of the fun in the novel derives from the > bravado with which its protagonists pursue their unlikely quest. That > bravado is perhaps best summed up by this comment from Morrison: "We've > come this far ... I'm not about to let a little thing like total ignorance > baffle me now." > > > To reveal the final outcome of the quest for the lost recordings would > fall > into the realm of "spoiling" the story. However, if you are a collector of > Twain fiction or a Tim Champlin fan, then this is one to read and add to > your bookshelf.