Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Devil's Making

The Devil's Making

A Mystery

Sean Haldane

Minotaur Books



Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel

In the ramshackle capital of one of the last colonies in North America, a few thousand settlers aspire to the values of the Victorian age while coexisting beside a population of native Indians that vastly outnumbers them. Their cautious peace is challenged when a body is discovered: Dr. McCrory, an American alienist whose methods included phrenology, Mesmerism, and sexual-mystical magnetation.

Chad Hobbes, recently arrived from England, is the policeman who must solve the crime. At first it seems the murderer was an Indian medicine man who has already been arrested. It would be easy for Hobbes to let him swing for the murder, but his own interest in an Indian woman from the same tribe causes him to look at the case in more detail. And once he does, he discovers that everyone who knew McCrory seems to have something to hide.

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel, Sean Haldane's The Devil's Making portrays a frontier where cultures clashed on the eve of a new country's birth.


Praise for The Devil's Making

“An absolutely worthy winner. … Haldane makes the reader feel as if they've 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 (Canada)

“Truly an extraordinary narrative of nineteenth-century detective work . . . Haldane's ability to bring to life nineteenth-century British Columbia and portray with such fine precision the attitudes, prejudices, and beliefs of the period is a remarkable achievement. The Devil's Making is a page-turner written in exceptional prose with elaborate and exciting descriptions of the inhabitants and locales of pre-confederation Vancouver Island.” —Ottawa Review of Books

“Haldane's first mystery, evocative and elegantly written, is a deeply philosophical look at a relatively unknown historical period.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Poet, publisher, and psychologist Haldane (Emotional First Aid) makes his fiction debut with an exceptional historical set on Vancouver Island, with this winner of Canada's Arthur Ellis Award for best novel... A host of intriguing characters combine with Haldane's firm grasp of the period to make this an enthralling read.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Haldane never shies away from period-specific language and attitudes, which make readers feel as though they are walking the dirty streets of Victoria by his side. Historical whodunit fans will relish this exciting trip to 19th-century frontier Canada.” —Library Journal (starred)

“Haldane's debut historical mystery transports readers to nineteenth-century Vancouver Island, mounding period detail atop the smells and sounds of Victoria, B.C.-a booming town with a diverse population. A muddle of Native American tribes, fortune hunters, snake-oil salesmen, prostitutes, jailbirds, and drunks mixes with the nouveau riche and our narrator, antihero Chad Hobbes, in this atmospheric murder puzzle. ... Evocative of the Native American-British relationships in Eliot Pattison's Bone Rattler mysteries and Alex Grecian's dark, melancholy Walter Day series.” —Booklist

“A strong crime fiction debut with an interesting multicultural element.” —Historical Novel Society

“This singular story offers a lively, up-close look at Victorian manners and views of that time, set in the context of cold-blooded murder. ... Haldane gets under the skin of his characters, stripping away the civilized veneer to reveal the inner thoughts and desires of each individual, often at great odds with their public facades.” —Bookpage

“A powerful, enthralling mystery. ... The combination of that mystery and Haldane's significant control over the historical elements of the novel make The Devil's Making an immersive, propulsive reading experience.” —Vancouver Sun

“A novel that succeeds on multiple levels...Earthy and erudite, an admirable blend of history and mystery, it examines issues the human race continues to confront while simultaneously spinning an absorbing story.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“[Sean Haldane] is a major talent.The Devil's Making combines Canadian history, solid crime plotting and a real sense of native-Canadian social history into a stunning tale of greed, deceit and murder. ... Beautifully plotted and written, this is a terrific debut that promises greater works to come.” —The Globe & Mail

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Sean Haldane

Seán Haldane was born in England, grew up in Northern Ireland, and moved to Canada where he lived until 1994. He now lives in London, England. He has worked in Canada as a psychologist and neuropsychologist, mainly in memory clinics, and in the UK, most recently as head of neuropsychology in the NHS in East London. He is author of psychology books, literary studies, and poetry.

Seán Haldane



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