The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade, first published in New York on April Fool's Day 1857, is the ninth book and final novel by American writer Herman Melville. The book was published on the exact day of the novel's setting.
Though centered around the title character, The Confidence-Man portrays a group of steamboat passengers whose interlocking stories are told as they travel down the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. The narrative structure is reminiscent of the late 1300s Canterbury Tales. Scholar Robert Milder notes: "Long mistaken for a flawed novel, the book is now admired as a masterpiece of irony and control, though it continues to resist interpretive consensus." After the novel's publication, Melville turned from professional writing and became a professional lecturer, mainly addressing his worldwide travels, and later for nineteen years a federal government employee.