Books·Canadian

The Massey Murder

Charlotte Gray's book is about the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey.

Charlotte Gray

In February 1915, a member of one of Canada's wealthiest families was shot and killed on the front porch of his home in Toronto as he was returning from work. Carrie Davies, an 18-year-old domestic servant, quickly confessed. But who was the victim here? Charles "Bert" Massey, a scion of a famous family, or the frightened, perhaps mentally unstable Carrie, a penniless British immigrant? When the brilliant lawyer Hartley Dewart, QC, took on her case, his grudge against the powerful Masseys would fuel a dramatic trial that pitted the old order against the new, wealth and privilege against virtue and honest hard work. Set against a backdrop of the Great War in Europe and the changing faceof a nation, this sensational crime is brought to vivid life for the first time. (From HarperCollins Canada)

In addition to her acclaimed career as a writer and historian, Gray was also a panellist on Canada Reads in 2013, defending Away by Jane Urquhart.

Read an excerptAuthor interviews | More about this book

From the book

Charles Albert Massey sauntered away from the new Dupont streetcar station, heading west into the chilly dusk. Most of a recent snowfall had been shovelled off the sidewalk by Toronto's Public Works department, which meant that heaped banks of dirty snow protected pedestrians from cars, horse-drawn carriages, and delivery trucks. Dupont was a teeming downtown thoroughfare, lined with grocery stores and bakeries. Massey, a slender man of medium height, carefully picked his way around dog excrement and slushy puddles, thankful that, despite a hangover, he had remembered to pull galoshes over his leather shoes that morning.


From The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray ©2013. Published by HarperCollins Canada.

Author interviews

Charlotte Gray on her biography of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill

23 years ago
Duration 15:24
Biographer Charlotte Gray discusses her new book on 19th-century immigrant sisters Moodie and Traill. Aired on CBC's Hot Type on Feb. 18, 2000.

More about this book

Charlotte Gray's 'The Massey Murder' has been chosen as the region's One Book, One Community initiative, aimed at building community through reading.

now