On a warm August evening in 1905, a 12-year old boy is shot in the back and killed near the Orford Mountain Railway construction site in rural Quebec. The crime is all the more shocking for being the second such murder on a railway in three days. A 14-year old had been killed in nearby Farnham very near an existing rail line.
Like the murder in Farnham, the Orford Mountain Railway murder leaves the nearby communities in a state of shock and terror. The killing is puzzling in the extreme and while the police investigation eventually leads to an arrest, it soon becomes clear that the two suspects, while possibly guilty of other crimes, are definitely not the murderers.
Fast forward a century to the moment the archivist of a local historical society comes across an unusual document. It is the diary of a teenage girl chronicling the few weeks she spent with detested relatives near Melbourne Township in August 1905. More by accident than design, she provides clues that help the narrator - and the reader - investigate and solve the century-old case of the murder on the Orford Mountain Railway.
Nick Fonda is a teacher, journalist, and writer. He has contributed to various newspapers and reviews, including the Montreal Gazette, the Montreal Star, and the Sherbrooke Record, and is the author of Principals and Other Schoolyard Bullies and Roads to Richmond: Portraits of Quebec’s Eastern Townships. He lives in Richmond, Quebec.
&ldquo (Fonda's) poet's ear brings a delicate lightness to his work that contrasts wonderfully with the dark subject matter. ..&rdquo Forward Reviews' review of Fonda's Principals and other Schoolyard Bullies.
& ldquo Fonda's characters are well-drawn, coming to life on the page with intelligence and imagination. &rdquo - Zoe Whittall
&ldquo Nick Fonda has a great sense of compassion. (. ..) These stories are memorable for what they say and for what they suggest. We are made better, as individuals, for listening to Nick Fonda's voices. &rdquo Alistair MacLeod, winner of the 1999 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
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