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The Devil’s Making
Works of: Fiction
The first of two 19th century detective mysteries set in lands which were to become parts of Canada.
Victoria, 1869. The ramshackle capital of British Columbia, one of the last colonies in North America, where among European, American and Chinese (known as ‘Celestial’) settlers vastly outnumbered by native Indians, a few thousand British try to establish the values, noble and ignoble, of what is beginning to be known as the Victorian age.
The body of a man, horribly mutilated, is discovered in the forest. This was Dr McCrory, an American ‘alienist’ or mad-doctor who was either an innovator in the treatment of mental illness, drawn to practice in the freedom of the colony, or a charlatan whose methods include the most dubious of pseudo-sciences: phrenology, Mesmerism, and sexual-mystical ‘magnetation’.
Chad Hobbes, fresh from England, is the detective who must solve the crime. But this is more than a detective story. According to Charles Darwin, the difference between the savage and the civilised person is ‘the difference between a wild and a tame animal.’ Is this true? Chad faces this question not only in the new territory in which he finds himself, but in himself, and in those he comes to love.
Crime Writers of Canada, 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel.
Other books by Sean Haldane
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