The Devil's Right Hand: The Tragic Story of the Colt Family Curse

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Overview


From the best-selling true crime writer, author of The Devil’s Rooming House, and star of the new Investigation Discovery television series Dark Minds comes the horrific legacy of death and destruction in the gun-making Colt family during the nineteenth century, a legacy largely remembered for a lurid murder case that inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Oblong Box”—but one that encompassed so much more.

M. William Phelps reveals an unfathomable pattern surrounding ...

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Overview


From the best-selling true crime writer, author of The Devil’s Rooming House, and star of the new Investigation Discovery television series Dark Minds comes the horrific legacy of death and destruction in the gun-making Colt family during the nineteenth century, a legacy largely remembered for a lurid murder case that inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Oblong Box”—but one that encompassed so much more.

M. William Phelps reveals an unfathomable pattern surrounding repeating-arms inventor Samuel Colt—from the death of all the Colt children, including Sam’s sea captain son’s mysterious demise aboard his yacht, to the eccentric and pious life of Sam Colt’s widow. But the tip of this iceberg was the 1841–42 murder case of John C. Colt, one of New York City’s most sensational scandals. Printer Samuel Adams went to collect a debt from bookkeeper and author John Colt and was never seen alive again. His mangled corpse was found in a crate addressed to New Orleans aboard a ship in New York harbor. Shocking revelations followed: Did John shoot Adams with one of his brother’s Colt firearms before hacking him up and packing him in the crate? Did John marry the pregnant Caroline Henshaw in prison on the day of his execution to protect the reputation of his brother, the woman’s true lover and father of her child? Did Sam Colt invent the revolving pistol, or steal the idea?

Part historical true-crime, part family biography and cultural history, The Devil’s Right Hand is a stirring narrative about a terribly cursed American dynasty.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for M. William Phelps

“Phelps is the best in the business! A historical crime master.”

New York Times bestselling author Gregg Olsen

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762788460
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 591,371
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

M. William Phelps is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Nathan Hale: The Life and Death of America's First Spy, the nationally bestselling author of more than twenty other nonfiction books, and star of the Investigation Discovery series, “Dark Minds.” Winner of the 2008 New England Book Festival Award for I’ll Be Watching You, Phelps—in addition to writing his popular contemporary true-crime books—has written for the Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, New London Day, and consulted on the first season of the Showtime series “Dexter.” He is also the author of The Devil’s Rooming House, Jane Doe No More, and Murder, New England (all from Lyons Press). He lives in a small Connecticut farming community.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Vanishing Act x

Part I

Chapter 1 Clashing Foils 3

Chapter 2 Black Hats & Ink 9

Chapter 3 Maiden Voyage 16

Chapter 4 Family Ties 24

Chapter 5 Mankiller 32

Chapter 6 A Deathlike Hue 41

Chapter 7 A Greenish Cast 49

Chapter 8 The Devil 6c the Gun Maker 56

Part II

Chapter 9 The Sacrificial Lamb 65

Chapter 10 Confessions of the Way Life Used to Be 70

Chapter 11 Forgive Me, I Am Dying Now 76

Chapter 12 A Silent Space of Time 88

Chapter 13 Blood in the Gutter 95

Chapter 14 Blood Brothers 103

Chapter 15 Catch-penny Abuse 111

Chapter 16 Prison House 121

Chapter 17 Theater of Murder 130

Chapter 18 A Brothers Sins 139

Chapter 19 Born for Blood 150

Chapter 20 A Bloodthirsty Heart 161

Chapter 21 "Deth Hath No Terrors" 173

Part III

Chapter 22 Engine of Destruction 185

Chapter 23 Blood on His Hands 192

Chapter 24 A Dreadful Cup of Vengeance 198

Chapter 25 Moving On 203

Chapter 26 The Tail of a Lion 211

Chapter 27 Saved by the Indians 220

Chapter 28 House of Hope 229

Chapter 29 Fortune Smiles 236

Chapter 30 Life Springs and Death Blows 243

Chapter 31 His Father's Son 254

Chapter 32 A Final Blow 259

Epilogue 263

Acknowledgments 268

Appendixes 270

Endnotes 278

Selected Bibliography 303

Index 308

About the Author 316

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