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Red Tuque Books Inc.  9780991907304
Title: The Devil's Making
Sub-Title: A Victorian Detective Mystery
Author: Sean Haldane
ISBN: 9780991907304
Publication Date: 2013
Publisher: Stone Flower Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Size: 5.5 x 8
Price: 21.95

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The Devil's Making, a novel set in 19th century Victoria, was awarded the Crime Writers of Canada 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel.
Victoria, 1869. The ramshackle capital of British Columbia, the last colony in North America. Vastly outnumbered by native 'Indians', a few thousand British, American, European, and Chinese settlers aspire to the values of the Victorian age.

In the forest a mutilated body is discovered: Dr McCrory, an American 'alienist' whose methods include phrenology, Mesmerism, and sexual-mystical 'magnetation'.

Chad Hobbes, arrived from England, is the policeman who must solve the crime. Could the murderer be a Tsimshian medicine man, Wiladzap, who is immediately arrested? But everyone who has known McCrory - respectable or not - has something to hide.

This is a detective mystery and more. Victoria's inhabitants find themselves in a Garden of Eden but have to face the savagery which they readily see in the 'Indians' but also exists in themselves. Darwin wrote that the difference between the savage and the civilised person is 'the difference between a wild and a tame animal.' Is this true? Chad faces the question not only in the new territory in which he finds himself, but in himself - and in those he comes to love.

The cover image is Mourning Mask by Sandy Johnson, by permission of Justart, Port Hardy, British Columbia.

Review - When The Devil's Making by Sean Haldane was nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel earlier this year, I knew nothing about the book, which was published in the spring of 2013. After Haldane's novel took the prize, I hunted down a copy and, much to my surprise and delight, found it an absolutely worthy winner. ...Haldane makes the reader feel as if they've has been dropped into the daily lives of those living in 1869-era Victoria, and refuses to shy away from the truth in favor of a more politically correct approach to historical fiction. - Sarah Weinman, National Post.

Review #2 - This is a brilliant novel that is firmly rooted in an historical Canadian setting. It is an ingenious and page-turning mystery, very satisfying on the genre level, but it goes way beyond ordinary genre novels. It deals with the primitive in a very sophisticated way and casts light on an important time in both Canadian and British history - the great 'Darwin year' of 1869. The fact that the novel has a very central theme of sexuality and sexual practice shouldn't hold it back either!

The way Haldane handles the racial issues that occurred in that "frontier" society is exemplary. He knows all about the native tribes, never caricatures them, and never sentimentalizes them. He also deals with the American, Jewish, Italian, Chinese and other components of the Victoria of that era, with rare tact and insight. - Tom Henighan, poet, writer, critic, and academic .