Mr. Mark Twain created a lot of ground-breaking stories and novels, but he had a difficult time with The Mysterious Stranger. The thing is - he never really finished it, even though he made several versions of it. The legendary American writer worked on it for 9 years, from 1897 all the way up to 1908. The one thing that all the various editions/versions have is the supernatural "Number 44" character.
Overall, there are 3 different stories, three different texts, all big enough to be published and sold separately. Over the last 100 years, there have been numerous film, theatrical, and even opera adaptations, and to this day, this masterpiece remains Twain's most talked about and controversial book. By the way, Mr. Albert Paine, the man who had exclusive rights to all of the writer's work after he passed away, kept them hidden at all times.
And, he claimed that during an extensive search through the writer's various texts, essays, stories and manuscripts, he found the real ending that Twain wanted to put in the final edition of the story that he never really had to time to finish. Now, Twain's papers became available to the general public only after Paine's death back in '37. And, during the 60's, the scholars studied the original copies of this three-part novel and came to the conclusion that Paine chose the wrong ending for the story, as it was intended for a different story.
Furthermore, in a couple of years later, John S. Tuckey and his team of researchers found even more evidence that Paine, the original owner of the exclusive rights, However, despite the fact that there's a lot of controversy surrounding the final edition that's available on the bookshelves right now, The Mysterious Stranger is, without a doubt, one of the most influential and distinctive books in American literature.