First Canadian edition, 2013
THE DEVIL’S MAKING – A Victorian Detective Mystery
Stone Flower Press (Canada)


Guernica Editions (Canada and USA)

Gazelle Book Services
Guernica Editions (Canada and USA)

A US & world-wide edition, 2015
was published by Macmillan,
New York (Minotaur Books)

See a Q&A with the author here.

The Devil’s Making

Winner of the Crime Writers of Canada 2014 Arthur Ellis award for Best Crime Novel

This is a detective mystery and more. Victoria’s inhabitants find themselves in a Garden of Eden but have to face the savagery which they readily see in the ‘Indians’ but also exists in themselves. Darwin wrote that the difference between the savage and the civilised person is ‘the difference between a wild and a tame animal’. Is this true? Chad Hobbes, just arrived from England and working for the police faces this question not only in the new territory in which he finds himself in 1869, but in himself – and in those he comes to love.


An absolutely worthy winner. … Haldane makes the reader feel as if they’ve been dropped into the daily lives of those living in 1869-era Victoria, and refuses to shy away from the truth in favor of a more politically correct approach to historical fiction.

[Sean Haldane] is a major talent. ‘The Devil’s Making’ combines Canadian history, solid crime plotting and a real sense of native-Canadian social history into a stunning tale of greed, deceit and murder. … Beautifully plotted and written, this is a terrific debut that promises greater works to come.

Truly an extraordinary narrative of nineteenth-century detective work … Haldane’s ability to bring to life nineteenth-century British Columbia and portray with such fine precision the attitudes, prejudices, and beliefs of the period is a remarkable achievement. ‘The Devil’s Making’ is a page-turner written in exceptional prose with elaborate and exciting descriptions of the inhabitants and locales of pre-confederation Vancouver Island.

A powerful, enthralling mystery … The combination of that mystery and Haldane’s significant control over the historical elements of the novel make ‘The Devil’s Making’ an immersive, propulsive reading experience.

A novel that succeeds on multiple levels… Earthy and erudite, an admirable blend of history and mystery, it examines issues the human race continues to confront while simultaneously spinning an absorbing story.

Haldane’s first mystery, evocative and elegantly written, is a deeply philosophical look at a relatively unknown historical period.

Poet, publisher, and psychologist Haldane (‘Emotional First Aid’) makes his fiction debut with an exceptional historical set on Vancouver Island, with this winner of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for best novel… A host of intriguing characters combine with Haldane’s firm grasp of the period to make this an enthralling read.

Haldane never shies away from period-specific language and attitudes, which make readers feel as though they are walking the dirty streets of Victoria by his side. Historical whodunit fans will relish this exciting trip to 19th-century frontier Canada.

Haldane’s debut historical mystery transports readers to nineteenth century Vancouver Island, mounding period detail atop the smells and sounds of Victoria, B.C. – a booming town with a diverse population. A muddle of Native American tribes, fortune hunters, snake-oil salesmen, prostitutes, jailbirds, and drunks mixes with the nouveau riche and our narrator, antihero Chad Hobbes, in this atmospheric murder puzzle. … Evocative of the Native American-British relationships in Eliot Pattison’s Bone Rattler mysteries and Alex Grecian’s dark, melancholy Walter Day series.

This singular story offers a lively, up-close look at Victorian manners and views of that time, set in the context of cold-blooded murder. … Haldane gets under the skin of his characters, stripping away the civilized veneer to reveal the inner thoughts and desires of each individual, often at great odds with their public facades.

A strong crime fiction debut with an interesting multicultural element.