Book Review #3: The Massey Murder

The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master, and the Trial That Shocked a Country
By Charlotte Gray
HarperCollins, 2013: Toronto


On February 8, 1915, Charles “Bert” Massey was shot outside his home on Walmer Road. This murder and subsequent trial of his servant, Carrie Davies, form the backdrop of Charlotte Gray’s book, The Massey Murder, which explores several interconnected aspects of Toronto life in the 1910s.

To be clear, this is not a whodunnit. Carrie Davies was seen to shoot Massey in front of witnesses, and never denied doing so. If there is indeed a mystery in this book, it is why Davies shot Massey, and what fate the legal system will have for her. In The Massey Murder, though, the trial of Carrie Davies serves as a means of exploring several aspects of Toronto (and indeed Canadian) history, demonstrating how the various institutions of the time, both official and unofficial, could interrelate.

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