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Fiction Satire

The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish

by (author) Allan Stratton

Dundurn Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2014
Satire, Historical, Humorous
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2014
    List Price

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Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award 2015 — Nominated

Faith healers, movie moguls, and social-climbing fraudsters collide in Depression-era Los Angeles

It’s the Great Depression and Mary Mabel McTavish is suicidal. A drudge at the Bentwhistle Academy for Young Ladies (aka Wealthy Juvenile Delinquents), she is at London General Hospital when little Timmy Beeford is carried into emergency and pronounced dead. He was electrocuted at an evangelical road show when the metal cross on top of the revival tent was struck by lightning. Believing she’s guided by her late mother, Mary Mabel lays on hands. Timmy promptly returns to life.

William Randolph Hearst gets wind of the story and soon the Miracle Maid is rocketing from the Canadian backwoods to ’30s Hollywood. Jack Warner, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Rockettes round out a cast of Ponzi promoters, Bolshevik hoboes, and double-dealing social climbers in a fast-paced tale that satirizes the religious right, media manipulation, celebrity, and greed.

About the author


Allan Stratton
est l'auteur de renommée internationale du roman Le secret de Chanda, un livre sur la liste d'honneur Michael L.
Printz. Son adaptation cinématographique, Life Above All, a
remporté le prix François Chalais au Festival de Cannes. Son dernier roman
thriller pour jeunes adultes, Les chiens, a gagné le prix Red
Maple de l'Association canadienne des bibliothèques et a été mis en
nomination pour le prix Arthur Ellis et le prix Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz.
Allan habite à Toronto, en Ontario.


Allan Stratton is an acclaimed playwright and author, who began his career acting at the Stratford Festival and regional theaters across Canada. His plays include "Nurse Jane Goes to Hawaii" and "Rexy!," winner of a Chalmers Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award and the Canadian Author's Association Award. Leslie's Journal is Allan's first novel for teens. Allan now lives in Toronto with his partner, a dog, three cats and any number of fish.

Allan Stratton's profile page


  • Short-listed, Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award
  • Commended, Dewey Divas and the Dudes Spring Picks

Editorial Reviews

Stratton's (Chanda's Secrets) comedic examination of celebrity in a bygone era, the novel acknowledges that media frenzies are in no way a uniquely modern phenomenon, nor is the way the people at the center of these frenzies are often helpless to prevent their public images from being molded to suit the great and powerful, the ambitious and the brazen opportunists. As the plot weaves back and forth across Canada and America, celebrities from Hoover to Hearst are skewered, but at no point does the book lose sight of its essential good nature or that of its protagonist.

The book is a frolic, full of mischief and mayhem.

London Free Press

... this is a damn smart book.

…skewers the chicanery and entrenched religious right of the 1930s. Its language is spot on for the times and will produce much laughter.

Resource Links (Pouch Cove, NF)

[Stratton’s] new novel…is a skewering of society, especially its religious structures, official pomposity and hypocrisy, with its emphasis on money and the eternal grasping to get it at any cost. Little escapes Stratton’s machine-gun-peppering approach to the world…

Winnipeg Free Press

Stratton's expertise at black comedy is very much in evidence in this novel. His ability to make extraordinary events seem somehow plausible, combined with his mastery of wit and language, leaves us shaking our heads at one moment, and laughing out loud the next. Like many a modern humorist, Stratton's real talent lies in his honest — and sometimes grisly — depictions of human foibles, coupled with a recognition of how easy it is to slip over to the dark side.

Quill & Quire

Playwright and novelist Allan Stratton obviously had big fun writing this Depression-set story about a charismatic (maybe) healer… Stratton rips into every social institution he can think of. It's all pretty entertaining. And Mary Mabel is a great character.

NOW Magazine

Like some of the great comic novels – Catch 22, for example, or MASH – this one gets its humor from its characters…This is a stylishly written, very funny historical that has some smart things to say about the mass media, about manufactured phenomena, and about religious nogoodniks.


Other titles by Allan Stratton