2017 Arthur Ellis Award, Best Novel — Shortlisted
Saddlebag preacher Thaddeus Lewis uncovers murder and conspiracy in Northumberland County.
A body is discovered on an isolated island in Rice Lake. Saddlebag preacher Thaddeus Lewis is sent on a desperate hunt for the truth when a woman for whom he feels a guilty attraction stands accused of the murder. Meanwhile, railway mania grips the county: everyone expects to get rich off the Cobourg–Peterborough rail line — some at the expense of others.
Aided by his fifteen-year-old granddaughter and a charming but inexperienced lawyer, Thaddeus defends the woman while privately questioning his motives for doing so. With little hard evidence to go on, the courtroom battle to prove the woman’s innocence seems doomed — until a startling discovery gives the case a fighting chance. But the trio’s digging uncovers a conspiracy that could threaten the future of the entire district. With the fortunes of the county, and his own future, on the line, Thaddeus struggles against shady characters and his own conscience to solve the crime.
Janet Kellough is a professional storyteller who has written and appeared in numerous stage productions featuring a fusion of spoken word and music. Her previous books in the Thaddeus Lewis series are On the Head of a Pin, Sowing Poison, 47 Sorrows, and The Burying Ground. Janet lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
Kellough smartly brings all her trails of intrigue and misunderstanding to a fine finish, so that an effort that on its face has the hallmarks of the worthy but tedious winds up being suspenseful, complex, satisfying — and entertainingly instructive, as well.
An appealing look at life in mid-1800s Canada, full of historical detail, engaging characters, and a murder investigation that takes many surprising twists and turns before it can be solved.
The stories themselves would be entirely at home in contemporary-set mystery novels, which makes the series perfect for readers of historical mysteries and for those who are simply looking for a good yarn, regardless of when it’s set.
Great evocation of the era, excellent historical research and Thaddeus and Martha are two to watch.
A strong, page-turning partnership between history and mystery … Wishful Seeing is storytelling set apart from the usual mystery.
So this is your beach read. Take it to the shore, to the mountains, to the river, or even your own backyard, but don’t cheat yourself by passing it by.