Grief cannot abide a mystery. No one understands that better than the Clarey family of Halifax.
In 1937, the Clareys are a close and loving family until their lives are transformed the night Edie, their wilful daughter and sister, vanishes, leaving no trace, no clue, as to what happened to her.
The lingering questions of her disappearance will ricochet through succeeding generations of Clareys.
As decades pass and lives unfold, the memories of Edie's brothers and her parents, are haunted by the spectre of the missing girl. The misery of their grief is entangled with the only comfort they can find: a belief that one day the mystery of Edie’s disappearance will be solved.
Drawn into Edie’s young life, and into her story, are two young men who work at her father's business: the bookkeeper Raymond Gillis and a stranger named Micah Gessen. The three form a triangle of jealousy and obsession. One of them knows what happened to the Clarey girl.
Just as Edie’s vanishing is a moment of transformation for the Clarey family, so are the times they live in. The story of The Spanish Boy is told against the backdrop of some of the momentous events of the twentieth and earliest part of the twenty-first centuries.
C.S. Reardon is a multiple award-winning television producer at CBC in Toronto. During three decades with CBC, Reardon worked in senior journalistic positions on programs including The Journal, Canada: A People’s History and the fifth estate. During her time as Senior Producer and Executive Producer of the CBC’s flagship investigative program the fifth estate, the show won countless national and international awards, where she worked with some of the best writers and journalists in the country. Although she has lived out of province throughout most of her professional life, her family roots are deeply embedded in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 2010, she returned to live in Halifax to begin her writing career.
In the days after she’d gone, a woman knocked at their door. She was respectable looking, didn’t smell of alcohol, and spoke in a quiet, articulate way.
"Your daughter has spoken to me," she said and smiled.
Charles grabbed her arm and pulled her inside the house. He didn’t want any of the newspaper people hanging around outside to hear this.
"What’d she say? Where is she?" Charles wished Gus was home. He’d gone to the pharmacy to get something for Mary to help her sleep.
"She said she’s happy and that she wants you to be happy. She’s where she wants to be."
"I don’t understand. Where is she? Take me to her."
"Well, you see, I don’t know where she is precisely. Her voice came to me…"
Charles didn’t slam the door behind the woman. He didn’t want to risk alerting Mary or Theresa. Let her tell her story to the press outside. Let them deal with her. He had offered a substantial reward of $2000, money he didn’t have, for anyone with information that led them to Edie. That produced a long line of desperate and the needy, all saying they wanted to help when what they really wanted was the money. That woman, though, was the only one who said she’d heard Edie’s voice, assuring them that she was all right. It was a perverse disappointment for Charles when the woman didn’t return after that day.