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The Massey Murder
Cover of The Massey Murder
The Massey Murder
A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country
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A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year An Amazon Top 100 Book of the Year Shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize Longlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction A scandalous crime, a...
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year An Amazon Top 100 Book of the Year Shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize Longlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction A scandalous crime, a...
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  • A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year

    An Amazon Top 100 Book of the Year

    Shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize

    Longlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

    A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict—the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey

    In February 1915, a member of one of Canada's wealthiest families was shot and killed on the front porch of his home in Toronto as he was returning from work. Carrie Davies, an 18-year-old domestic servant, quickly confessed. But who was the victim here? Charles "Bert" Massey, a scion of a famous family, or the frightened, perhaps mentally unstable Carrie, a penniless British immigrant? When the brilliant lawyer Hartley Dewart, QC, took on her case, his grudge against the powerful Masseys would fuel a dramatic trial that pitted the old order against the new, wealth and privilege against virtue and honest hard work. Set against a backdrop of the Great War in Europe and the changing face of a nation, this sensational crime is brought to vivid life for the first time.

    As in her previous bestselling book, Gold Diggers—which was made into a Discovery Channel miniseries entitled "Klondike"—multi-award-winning historian and biographer Charlotte Gray has created a captivating narrative rich in detail and brimming with larger-than-life personalities, as she shines a light on a central moment in our past.

About the Author-

  • CHARLOTTE GRAY is one of Canada's best-known writers and the author of ten acclaimed books of literary non-fiction. Her most recent bestseller is The Promise of Canada: People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country. Her bestseller The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial That Shocked a Country won the Toronto Book Award, the Heritage Toronto Book Award, the Canadian Authors Association Lela Common Award for Canadian History and the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book. It was shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, the Ottawa Book Award for Non-Fiction and the Evergreen Award, and longlisted for the BC National Book Award for Non-Fiction. An adaptation of her bestseller Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike was broadcast as a television miniseries in 2014 on the US Discovery Channel.

    An adjunct research professor in the department of history at Carleton University, Gray is the recipient of the Pierre Berton Award for distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history. She has chaired the boards of both Canada's National History Society and the Art Canada Institute, and has served on the boards of PEN Canada and the Ottawa International Writers Festival. She has frequently served on Writers' Trust committees and been a juror for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the RBC Taylor Prize, the City of Ottawa Book Prize and the Kobzar Literary Award. Charlotte Gray is a Member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 19, 2013
    Novels about Canadian true crimes by Margaret Atwood (Alias Grace) or Lynn Crosbie (Paul's Case) might capture public attention, but this book by one of Canada's top biographers and historians (Gold Diggers) captivates as an evocative and eye-opening history lesson. Set in the bourgeois world of 1915 Toronto, the expertly-paced procedural follows the fate of an English-born servant, Carrie Davies, whose characteristic "hard, hard life" as one of the city's nearly 12,000 domestics underwent a sudden and radical transformation when she shot Charles Massey, the scion of an influential family, claiming he'd ruined her character. Depicting rapidly changing Canada as a place "riddled with anachronisms and paradoxes" where "seams of hypocrisy and prudery ran deep," the story winds from the Toronto's Women's Court in the heyday of maternal feminism and warring newspapers to a bitter, alcoholic defense attorney, self-important judicial functionaries, courtroom mobs filled with morbid curiosity, and families with unchallenged patrician attitudes. The unfolding drama was a welcome distraction from the "pitiless meat grinder" of war in Europe. While the two-day trial featured competing "gothic horror story" theatrics, the jury of Carrie's 12 social peers eventually obeyed a peculiar logic, reflecting the nation's shifting values. Agent: Hilary McMahon, Westwood Creative Artists.

  • Toronto Star "An engrossing chronicle of Toronto's social life at the beginning of the 20th century."
  • The Globe and Mail "Engaging. . . . Gray's cast involves meticulously researched historical figures, whose behaviour she depicts with psychological insight. Narrated with a great sense of presence, irony, and verve, this book recreates a vanished world of Canadian jurisprudence and politics, invests it with life, and makes it memorable."
  • Maclean’s "Canada's pre-eminent historian. . . . A captivating read, balancing intense research with richly drawn characters and lively storytelling."
  • Quill & Quire "Gripping and insightful . . . . Gray has managed to resurrect a devilishly intriguing character."
  • Winnipeg Free Press In The Massey Murder, Gray shows real kindness and compassion, bringing a sense of humanity to a once-lurid tale from the tabloids."

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    HarperCollins Canada
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A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country
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