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The Devil's Making: A Mystery by Sean…
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The Devil's Making: A Mystery

by Sean Haldane

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weird but not wonderful. Story set in British Columbia, indians, settlers, mysticism and violence. reviewed for booklist. ( )
  jenzbaker | Oct 25, 2015 |
I knew I’d be writing a review by the middle of THE DEVIL’S MAKING by Sean Haldane because it’s a fascinating story. Sadly the moment passed when I could write knowledgeably about the story, but I’m unwilling to let it go. Everyone should read this book!

THE DEVIL’S MAKING won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel (2014).

The book opens in 1868 when Chad Hobbs travels from Britain to the tiny outpost of Victoria, capital of British Columbia. The trip takes four months because they must travel around Tierra del Fuego, the southern tip of South America. This is but one of the many “oddities” of life in the late 19th century and it doesn’t take long for the reader to feel like they belong to those rough and muddy times.

Chad becomes a policeman who must solve the murder of a local man. Naturally the townsfolk are quick to blame a native Indian and incarcerate him, but Chad is unwilling to accept such a “desirable” outcome without more facts.

One of the story’s joys is Chad’s philosophical understanding of what he discovers and what this means about life. Although I’ve never been much interested in history, I found this book delightful. ( )
  TdeV | Sep 7, 2015 |
The Devil's Making: A Victorian Detective Mystery, by Sean Haldane, tells the story of Chad Hobbes, in 1869 a recent graduate from Oxford with a law degree but not yet with the training necessary to become a barrister; he takes a ship to Victoria, a new town in Canada's British Columbia, where he finds work as a policeman. When a rather shady but professional American, an "alienist" or psychologist, is foully murdered, it takes the town no time at all to pin the crime on the chieftain of a visiting trading group of First Nations people, but Hobbes thinks something doesn't quite add up and as he investigates, he begins to learn just how many people had very good reasons to want to kill the man. He must work quickly, however, for the circumstantial evidence will surely get the Native hanged within a few weeks, guilty or not.... I don't know much about Victoria, B.C. (aside from having visited once and currently thinking about moving there), but I'm assuming the landscape, buildings and blend of English and American settlers, as depicted in this book, are historically accurate; the novel gives one a very strong sense of the place, which is important in a book like this. The plot is fairly straightforward, and the interactions between the various individuals and ethnic groups are appropriately complex and well-drawn. I very much enjoyed this novel, and look forward to going back to Victoria next winter to see if any of the streets or buildings depicted here still exist! Recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Aug 26, 2014 |
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"Victoria, 1869. The ramshackle capital of British Columbia, the last colony in North America, where a few thousand settlers aspire to the values of the Victorian age while coexisting beside the native Indians that vastly outnumber them. That peace is challenged when a mutilated body is discovered: Dr. McCrory, an American alienist whose methods include phrenology, Mesmerism, and sexual-mystical magnetation. Chad Hobbes, recently arrived from England, is the policeman who must solve the crime"--… (more)

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