This Mark Twain mystery features Tom Blankenship, the son of the town drunk in Hannibal, Missouri,who'd been the model for Huck Finn, after he is grown up and had become a justice of the peace in Montana. I once knew a real justice of the peace, Thurston Miller, in Washington, D.C., but he was not a real judge per se.
In Blankenship's jurisdiction, there had been a 'self-defense murder' by Zachary and C.D. who were sprung from the jail by their Helena lawyer, Leon Dirksen's plea to the townfolk that these two boys were really just good but had got in with bad company. In a letter to Twain, Tom wrote that this highfaluting lawyer was just trying to gain fame so he could run for Governor, and that Judge Joe McCoy wasn't pleased with the result of his inciting the townsfolk to let them out without a trial. Tom had been charged with the crime and had no alibi.
In 1895, Mark Twain was in Missoula, Montana, and encountered Theodore Roosevelt, a Harvard man living out west for awhile before returning to New York to get involved in politics. He'd told them that "a vigorous life's the only kind worth living. Chasing down malefactors at home and abroad...that's a bully occupation for a rascal like you." Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show traveled the country and the world with Annie Oakley and Frank Butler and a plethora of freaks.
Peter Heck is writing a series of Mark Twain mysteries from a different perspective. Some are THE PRINCE AND THE PROSECUTOR, A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN CRIMINAL COURT, and DEATH ON THE MISSISSIPPI. He seems to be having fun doing these little paperbacks on a historical figure who was bigger-than-life.