Monday, October 31, 2011
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Nonfiction: Nova Scotia, History, Crime, Ships
6" x 9" paperback
Order this book from: Nimbus Publishing (or 1-800-Nimbus9)
or Chapters or Pottersfield Press mail order.
Madness arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, silent and wet, at the bottom of a ship's dory, in the rough folds of a thick, grey canvas—a shapeless, nameless dream, radiating shadows and darkness.
Investigating murder is grim business. This is particularly true if the murder happened more than a hundred years ago in the cramped cabin of an old schooner later torpedoed and sunk. Think about it. Everybody involved in the case is dead. And the important clues to the mystery are buried somewhere beneath ocean sand.
Still, on a cold afternoon in late February, I found myself standing at the edge of an old Halifax wharf investigating another cold-case murder mystery. The case was just too damned good.
In the summer of 1896, an old schooner sailed from Boston to Argentina with twelve people on board. A few days into the journey, the captain, his wife, and the second mate were all murdered—with an axe. And no one on board saw it happen.
The surviving crew members were a rogues' gallery of gruff, seafaring brutes, each offering the weary, cold-case investigator multiple names, wild accusations, and fast-changing testimony. Also on board was a passenger, a young student from Harvard University. Perfect.
Like I said, I had to take the case. It was just too damned good.
And so begins another cold-case murder investigation by writer Steven Laffoley, as he travels the tough streets of Halifax to the courtrooms of Boston in search of a killer. Along the way, he explores the world of 1896 and discovers that nothing in this case is what it first seems. In turns fascinating, frightening, and funny, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is an intriguing true tale of murder, mystery, and madness.
Steven Laffoley has been a writer, teacher, and dues-paying member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He is the author of Mr. Bush, Angus and Me, the award-nominated Hunting Halifax, and Death Ship of Halifax Harbour.