On the Head of a Pin by Janet Kellough
The death of a son or daughter is capable of producing emotional devastation from which it is nearly impossible to recover. For Thaddeus Lewis, a preacher who travels throughout Upper Canada in the late 1830s, the loss of his daughter Sarah, “a sweet seventeen year old, with a laughing, teasing manner that made the most somber of people brighten,” is a staggering blow.
The “strange marks on her neck” are a clear sign of strangulation, but a coroner’s inquest blithely declares that Sarah died of natural causes. As Lewis discovers during his travels, spreading his brand of Christian charity to fledgling communities struggling in the wake of the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion, Sarah is only the first of several girls to be murdered, and the task of catching the killer falls to him. It is a job that tests his faith, forces him to admit serious misjudgment of character, and compels him to come to terms with “the badness [that] is always there, in everybody.”
This book was given to me as the winner of the 2011 International Canadian Literature Sweeps, so it was past time to get to the top of Mnt. TBR!