"Nicholas Peddle will die on August 21, 1927." These words sent shivers down the spine of retired sergeant Frank Fallon on the hottest day of July 1977. The eighty—six—year&mdash
"Nicholas Peddle will die on August 21, 1927." These words sent shivers down the spine of retired sergeant Frank Fallon on the hottest day of July 1977. The eighty—six—year—old former Newfoundland Constabulary sergeant received a courtesy phone call from the local RCMP detachment in Harbour Grace informing him a metal detector had discovered a lead egg roll?shaped capsule that contained a handwritten letter pertinent to a crime he investigated back in 1927. The murder of Nicholas Peddle some fifty years ago was the only cold case in this policeman's long career. Archivists at The Rooms museum offer a glimmer of hope that a laboratory process might recover the signature and remaining text of the badly deteriorated note.
The phone call causes Fallon to relive four days in August 1927, when his estranged partner, investigative journalist Christine Sullivan, joined him yet again to find the elusive killer as they looked in every nook and cranny of 1927 Harbour Grace. The town, on the cusp of hosting The Pride of Detroit as its crew used the newly constructed Harbour Grace Airport to begin their flight around the world, was bubbling with excitement.
A schoolteacher, Nicholas Peddle, from Bristol's Hope, Newfoundland, was found dead at the foot of Lover's Leap, Harbour Grace, with a superficial stab wound to his neck. Just metres away from Peddle, another body, likely an assailant, was also discovered. The only discernible identifying feature on the much younger man was an improvised tattoo of a broken heart with the word "Mom" and the initials SH inscribed just above it.
Clearly both men had fallen to their deaths as a result of a struggle. The clues at the scene were sparse. When discovered, the forty—year—old Nicholas Peddle still gripped a knitted shawl. A war veteran's knuckle knife was found near the body of the younger stranger. Fallon, who found himself at a loss to break the case, was forced to seek the help of a recently estranged partner, an investigative reporter with the Harbour Grace Standard, Christine Sullivan.
The reader will follow Frank Fallon and Christine Sullivan as they desperately try to answer puzzling questions surrounding both mysterious deaths. Who was the alleged younger assailant? Why had he tried to kill an introverted bachelor who preferred to have few connections in this small community? What were two men doing on such a treacherous ledge on a rainy night? Such a location was frequented only by young, foolhardy lovers, where they avowed their love for one another before taking each other's hand in matrimony.
Will the archivists at The Rooms offer a resolution to the only unsolved crime Frank Fallon had ever encountered? At the age of eighty—six, with life itself fading away, this may be Sergeant Frank Fallon's last chance to find out who killed Nicholas Peddle.
View Biographical note
Patrick Collins is a writer and retired educator who has taught in various communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. He finished his career in education as a curriculum program specialist, working in several school districts on the Avalon Peninsula and in Western Labrador. Patrick also worked as a sales and marketing representative with Lifetouch Canada until June 2011. He recently retired as a sessional instructor at the Canadian Training Institute in Bay Roberts.
Pat's eleventh and most recent work, The Body on the Beach, is a novel inspired by the true events surrounding a woman, Alice Williams, who died under mysterious and suspicious circumstances. The cause of her death has never been revealed.
His literary works published since 2010 are as follows: a biography of Dr. Charles Cron, A Doctor for All Time: A Man Who Cured Our Hearts; The Harbour Grace Affray; The Spirit of the SS Kyle; Murder at Mosquito Cove; Belonging; Forsaken Children; Gibbet Hill; What Lies Below; The Fairy Ring; and Tales Through Time.
Born and raised in Riverhead, Harbour Grace, Patrick J. Collins continues to enjoy researching and writing in his retirement.