During a controversial speaking engagement at the prestigious Empire Club, someone shoots at American humorist Mark Twain. Murdoch suspects the club members, who resent Twain's anti-imperialist views. Brackenreid, a candidate for club membership, feels pressured to send Twain back to America.
The Brackenreids are entertaining the possibility of joining the prestigious Empire Club by attending a speaker event with their prospective membership sponsor. The event's mystery speaker is revealed to be the celebrated American humorist and world traveler Mark Twain, who has been outspoken about his anti-imperialist views. His presence at the podium ignites a clamor, followed by a gunshot and chaos. Fortunately, no one is hurt, only shaken by what appears to be an assassination attempt on the most famous American of the turn-of-the-20th century.
Immediately, Murdoch and the Constabulary begin their investigation and protection of Mark Twain who is puzzled as to who would want to kill him. Murdoch tells him, "Two main motives for murder, Mr. Twain: love and money."
Twain confides in Murdoch and Dr. Ogden about his money troubles and how he is trying to make up for his misdeeds to his ailing wife, Olivia. Being nearly bankrupt, the speaking circuit was his only source of income and now the Empire Club will not have him back. Touched by his story, Dr. Ogden proposes she hire him to give a series of talks at the Dominion Women's Enfranchisement Association, to Murdoch's immediate objection.
Both Murdoch and Inspector are less than pleased about the new speaking engagement, but for different reasons: Brackenreid's wishes to get Twain out of town so he can remain in good standing with the Empire Club and give Margaret the bit of high society she wants in her life, while Murdoch doesn’t want to give the unknown assailant another opportunity and certainly not to have Julia standing next to the intended target.
Just as the event was about to get underway, the Empire Club members block people from entering the hall. However, they are dispersed by Brackenreid, who was influenced by Twain into thinking for himself. This result on his sponsorship being revoked.
As the crowd grows, Twain brushes off Julia's misgivings and they proceed. Mark Twain begins to tell the story of how he had believed, even written, that women had no place in the vote until he met his wife. The audience is appreciative, except for one. Another gunshot is fired and this time there is a murder and now a crime scene–Twain's assistant, Benson, is dead.
Finding a sniper's position on the second level, Brackenreid remarks that Twain is lucky to survive three attempts on his life. However, Murdoch suspects that Twain wasn't the real target, but it was Bensen. He and the Inspector question Twain back at the station house about Bensen, who was previously a bartender at the Empire Club. Twain says that the only thing that Bensen ever said about the Empire Club was that his time there was short-lived.
Murdoch and Brackenreid send Higgins to infiltrate the club and find any information on Bensen. Higgins, hoping to impress a girl who keeps turning him away, if he could bring his love interest, but Brackenreid angrily reminds him it's a men only club. However, Crabtree, feeling undervalued since being reinstated and demoted, gets ahead him and poses as a bartender and finds interesting information on Bensen.
Brackenreid questions Clarence Eldrich, his former sponsor, about Bensen. He suspects that Clarence knew about Twain's reputation, so as to purposely cause a stir. Clarence assumes he's being interrogated as payback for revoking his sponsorship, to which he defends he has no choice, but Brackenreid doesn't care about that. He notes that Clarence had boasted about being an expert rifleman at long range and guesses that he found out the hard way that firing a pistol at long range is a different story. He then changes the subject to Clarence's wife, Clarissa, who is thirty years his junior. In fact, Crabtree's investigation has revealing that she was sleeping with Bensen. He guesses that Clarence was able to handle it when it was a secret, but when the rest of the club found out, he became a laughingstock. Clarence's resistance breaks down and admits that he told Clarissa to stop seeing Bensen. Brackenreid finishes that Clarissa refused, so he decided to kill Bensen instead, inviting Twain as a diversion.
- Margaret Brackenreid is determined to have her husband Thomas join the Empire Club.
- Thomas becomes an enemy of the Empire Club.
- Promotion over George goes to Higgins' head, taking the credit away from George.
- Julia tells Emily: "Plans are for the old. That's why I've never made any."
- When Mr. Wilson warns him he's made a dangerous enemy, the inspector comments he's made worse, possibly referencing the O'Shea brothers from The Death of Dr. Ogden, On the Waterfront Part 1 and On the Waterfront Part 2.
- Murdoch's journey to the gold rush in Murdoch of the Klondike is referenced.
- Nikola Tesla is referenced by Julia when they are having tea.
- Higgins' disguise as a lawyer, from The Murdoch Sting, makes an appearance again when he is applying for the Empire Club.
- George goes undercover as a barkeep at the club to get information which helps to solve the case.
- Giving The Curse of the Pharaohs a read, Mark Twain tells George "Reality can be beaten with enough imagination", encouraging him to write again.
- Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910) who was an adventurer and wily intellectual. Mark Twain wrote the classic American novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- When tending bar at the Empire Club, George uses the pseudonym "Samuel Langhorne".
- The Empire Club of Canada continues to be recognized as one of Canada's oldest and most important speakers forums. It was established in 1903 as a result of a growing dissent against the British influence on Toronto's political and social landscape, in an attempt to refrain from a hasty, myopic severing of ties with the British Empire. Its podium has hosted countless great leaders of politics, business, social issues and arts & culture. Notable speakers include Winston Churchill, Stephen Leacock, Indira Gandhi, Billy Graham, Ronald Reagan, A.Y. Jackson, The Dalai Lama, Bill Gates, Audrey Hepburn, Mark Carney and nearly every Canadian Prime Minister since Robert Borden.
- The Dominion Women's Enfranchisement Association (DWEA) was an organization founded by Dr. Emily Howard Stowe in 1889 to fight for women's right to vote.
- Paige Compositor was an invention by James W. Paige. It was designed to replace the human typesetter of a printing press with a mechanical arm, but the machine was complex and required continual adjustments with imprecise results. It never turned a profit. Mark Twain invested the bulk of his book profits and a large portion of his wife's inheritance into the failed endeavor along with other inventions.
- Margaret Brackenreid has an ongoing rivalry with her neighbour, Vera Jones. The Brackenreids are quite literally "Keeping up with the Joneses", a phrase whose origins (by one explanation) can be traced back to none other than Mark Twain.
- When Crabtree tricks Higgins into interviewing a suspect 10 miles out of town, Mark Twain witnesses this and comments, "Too bad you don't need a fence painted," referencing Tom Sawyer.
- "Mark twain" means twelve foot of water, safe for sail.
- Filmed at The Hamilton Club
- William Shatner is nominated for the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards' for his role as Mark Twain.
- As of Season 10, Lachlan Murdoch and Kristian Bruun's favorite historical character who have been represented on Murdoch Mysteries is Mark Twain.
William Shatner as Mark Twain
Ian D. Clark as Clarence Eldridge
Lorne Kennedy as Wendell Wilson
Ross Manson as Richard Fanshaw
Brian Hamman as Owens
Matthew Donovan as Branaugh
Kevin McGarry as Benson
Peter Cockett as Randoph Hendrickson
Bree Wastlenko as Clarissa Eldridge
|Murdoch Mysteries Season 9|
|"Nolo Contendere" • "Marked Twain" • "Double Life" • "Barenaked Ladies" • "24 Hours Til Doomsday" • "The Local Option" • "Summer of '75" • "Pipe Dreamzzz" • "Raised On Robbery" • "The Big Chill" • "A Case of The Yips" • "Unlucky In Love" • "Colour Blinded" • "Wild Child" • "House of Industry" • "Bloody Hell" • "From Buffalo With Love" • "Cometh the Archer"|
Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3 • Season 4 • Season 5 • Season 6 • Season 7 • Season 8 • Season 9 • Season 10