The Facts Concerning The Recent Carnival Of Crime In Connecticut by Mark Twain, 1876
The magic trick:
Making the reader wait a really long time for the title’s payoff
Far be it from me to criticize Mark Twain but…. Let’s be honest. This story is pretty dumb. I do like the absurdity of the plot’s imbalance. It opens as a family story, honoring the narrator’s aunt; shifts abruptly into a surrealist comedy pitting the narrator against his own conscience (in the form of a dwarf); and ends with an insane, figurative drop of the cliff. The carnival of crime, alluded to in the title, is never even mentioned until the very end of the story. It’s a very silly way to construct a story, which, I suppose is probably part of the joke. And that’s quite a trick on Twain’s part.
With an exultant shout I sprang past my aunt, and in an instant I had my life-long foe by the throat. After so many years of waiting and longing, he was mine at last.