In the winter of 1896, young Annie Kempton was brutally murdered. Throat slashed, face beaten, she bled to death on the floor of her family home in Bear River, Nova Scotia.
An entire community and a salacious media rose and pointed their finger at one man: Peter Wheeler. According to the newspapers of the day, not only had Peter Wheeler killed Annie Kempton, he had also committed the unforgivable sin of being dark-skinned and foreign-born, a hired hand who had never learned his place. Thanks to a Halifax detective, the self-proclaimed Sherlock Holmes of the Maritimes, Wheeler was strung up in the dead of night.
The case was among the first in Canada to introduce forensic science into a courtroom. In a riveting, fast-paced narrative, Komar re-examines the evidence using modern techniques and reveals how Peter Wheeler was the victim of a state-sanctioned lynching, executed for a crime he did not commit.
The Lynching of Peter Wheeler is Debra Komar’s second book on historic crimes. Her first, The Ballad of Jacob Peck, was met with considerable critical acclaim.
“As the narrative of one man’s misfortune, The Lynching of Peter Wheeler
, is lucid and readable.”– The National Post
“The prose is concise and fast-paced … Komar’s relish at digging for the truth comes through . . . In this gripping story aimed to clear a man’s good name, Komar succeeds in delivering timeless lessons for the reader to ponder.”– Maple Tree Literary Supplement
“A fascinating account of historical racism and injustice in the True North — strong, but NOT so free. Komar writes with great clarity of prose and mind. The Lynching of Peter Wheeler
is an indispensable book for any lover of Canadian true crime or criminal history. Highly recommended!”
“Debra Komar brings a career’s worth of modern-day forensic smarts to her dissection of this more than 100-year-old miscarriage of justice. But she brings something more — and more important: the sure hand of a natural storyteller who can make us see, feel, and understand the injustice of it all.”