Original title: La Pathologiste
With remarkable narrative talent, best-selling author Elisabeth Tremblay plunges us into the intrigues of the Canadian West during the time of prohibition and conscription. Based on the true story of Frances Gertrude McGill, called the Sherlock Holmes of Saskatchewan.
In Saskatchewan, 1917, Samuel, the old Larson’s apprentice, is found beaten to death in a forge in Regina. That same day, in July, human bones are discovered in a field on the outskirts of the city. Straightaway, they are assumed to belong to Lionel Sanschagrin, a mixed-race man who had disappeared a year earlier while returning from Alberta by train.
The two victims and their secrets are assigned to a new provincial pathologist, Lesley Richardson, who will leave no stone unturned. Why didn’t Samuel, known for his penchant for fighting, defend himself against his attacker? Why does Lesley doubt about the body’s identity? Are the two cases related? Along with Morley Vines, an investigator from the newly formed Saskatchewan Police Department, Lesley will search for answers. Will she regret finding them?
The story is inspired by Frances Gertrude McGill, the “Sherlock Holmes of Saskatchewan”, a remarkable but little-known Canadian character. An oustanding woman who made her mark in a man’s world at the beginning of the last century. As a pathologist and bacteriologist, she became director of the Saskatchewan laboratory in 1922, and worked closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on investigations of suspicious deaths. She was known for her thoroughness and courtroom testimony.