Death in the Age of Steam

by Mel Bradshaw

Winner of the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year (Mystery) 2005

Shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel

"[an] exceptionally good first novel..meandering story of love and death...Bradshaw keeps the reader firmly on the pavement with sights, sounds, smells and vivid descriptions of Victorian Canadian life...banker Isaac Harris is only one of several beautifully crafted characters." - The Globe and Mail

"...engrossing...Mel Bradshaw has created a novel that is very hard to put down." - The Edmonton Journal

"Bradshaw has achieved a particular kind of literary feat... This is not merely a detective story in period dress, but a carefully constructed and exquisitely sketched novel of manners... It is a rich holiday treat which gives and insight into a city that often forgets it has a past: a visit to a lost world." - Graham Fraser, The Toronto Star

"Author Mel Bradshaw is adept at sweeping aside the present and conjuring up this long-ago world, with meadows and horse tracks existing where subway lines run today." - The Calgary Herald

Toronto in 1856 is industrializing with little time for scruple or sentiment. When Reform politician William Sheridan dies suddenly and his daughter Theresa vanishes, only one man persists in asking questions. A former suitor of Theresa's, bank cashier Isaac Harris has never managed to forget her, despite her marriage to another man. Thrust into the role of amateur detective, he must now struggle with the demands of his job and the shortcomings of the fledgling city police. He also faces the hostility of Theresa's powerful husband, a steamboat and railway magnate. Harris's search takes a grisly turn when, in a valley outside of town, he finds human remains decked in traces of Theresa's finery. If she is dead, who is responsible? And who cares to find out, apart from the man who wooed her too timidly and now would do anything to make up for it?

Death in the Age of Steam whirls the reader through a richly realized Victorian landscape, from Niagara Falls to Montreal and north as far as the shores of Lake Superior. It's a world at once near and exotic, a world of noise and smoke and churning pistons, but a world still very familiar to denizens of the 21st century.

ISBN 978-1894917-00-1 / 456 pages / 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" /$22.95 CDN, $18.95 U.S.