54. – 614.) The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder by Roderick Benns – I do not often read books written for ages 11 and up. I was drawn to this book because its subtitle is “An early adventure of John Diefenbaker” and it is a
mystery. The book is the first in a series of historical adventure books featuring Canadian Prime Ministers when they were 12-13 years of age. On Thursday I will put up a post on the concept of the series Leaders & Legacies. I will add a further post on Saturday discussing personal contacts with John Diefenbaker. He has been the only Canadian Prime Minister to come from Saskatchewan . Saskatchewan
The book is set north of the
in 1908 when John was 12 and his younger brother, Elmer, was 10. Their parents and uncle had homesteaded a few years earlier. village of Borden
The book gets off to a rousing start when the boys, returning home in the night after getting some water from a neighbour, are startled by a gunshot. Rushing to the Schneider farm they find that Hans Schneider has been murdered.
Immediate suspicion falls upon River’s Voice, a Cree Indian, from the nearby reserve who has had public confrontations with Schneider over fur pelts that River’s Voice claims were stolen from him by Schneider.
The Diefenbaker family does not believe River’s Voice is the murderer. John and Elmer are determined to prove his innocence. They are aided by Summer Storm, the 11 year old daughter of River’s Voice. They have but a few days to find evidence for River’s Voice is scheduled to be taken to the provincial capital of
to be tried for the murder. Regina
The author is sympathetic to the concerns of the Indian peoples trying to make the adjustment from free ranging hunters to farmers in one generation.
While the young John is trying to focus on the murder there is growing turmoil in the area as a young Metis man, Andre Dumont, is agitating against the Federal Government. Asserting he is a nephew of the great Metis military leader, Gabriel Dumont, he raises the different grievances the Indians, the Metis and the white settlers have with the distant government in
. It is been 23 years since the Riel or Northwest Rebellion and few of the issues that sparked that revolt have been addressed. Ottawa
Life is demanding for the settlers. Only prompt action by the family saves their home from a raging prairie fire.
The mystery is solved with flair. John is a clever boy with a great memory, an ability to assemble arguments and a talent for convincing arguments. The book shows why he became the best known lawyer of his generation.
The descriptions of life on the farm in 1908 are accurate. Everyone had to work hard to develop farms on the good soil of
. My grandfather homesteaded our land in 1907. He came from Saskatchewan with a few cattle and horses and built a farm. South Dakota
It is a fine book. I wish there had been such a fiction adventure when I was growing up on the farm in the 1950’s about 200 km away from Borden. When I was a boy all the books in the library about young people were set far away in
Eastern Canada or the or United States . Had there been an adventure set a short distance away involving England farm kids it would have been wonderful. Saskatchewan
The book is an excellent means of providing significant historical information on the settlement of
within a credible mystery. I expect I will look for more of the historical adventures of young Prime Ministers. (Oct. 4/11) Saskatchewan
The book is my 4th book in the 5th Canadian Book Challenge at the Book Mine Set. I have now reached the
level. Bras d’Or Lake