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Posted December 9, 2008
In 1997, unable to cope anymore with Lou Gehrig's disease, geologist/historian David Hollis committed suicide. However before he took his life, David left behind another controversy. He claimed that a ship buried in downtown Toronto contained photographs of the city circa 1850s, but he refused to provide the collaborating source, a diary. His assertion turns into a controversy in which most historians assume he made up the so called proof even friends assume the disease caused him to do it. One person believes David¿s story is true. His grieving widow Marianne decides to find the evidence that will return her late spouse¿s reputation. She obtains a hotel room overlooking the locale where a sports stadium is to be constructed that David insisted hides the photos. Her future son-in-law tries to help Marianne and his fiancée through their grief by assisting her though he agrees with the expert opinion that David filed a false declaration. In 1855 English expatriate pharmacist Jem Hallam takes over a pharmaceutical practice in Toronto only to learn that the horrific errors of his predecessor destroyed the business. One of his few customers, ailing Samuel Ennis introduces Jem to photography. The pharmacist turns to the new profession to earn a living as he takes pictures of his adopted city. --- The fascinating story line shows deference to the city then and now as it rotates perspective between the mid nineteenth century and the present. The modern day subplot reads like an amateur sleuth thriller as Marianne desperately needs to prove her late spouse right before she can move past her loss. The 1855 subplot provides a deep historical look at the city through mostly the eyes of the newcomer. Cleverly Michael Redhill merges his duel themes into a cohesive look at relationships especially after one of the people has died. --- Harriet Klausner
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