The author’s beloved Jewish mother is a great storyteller. A favorite tale describes how her grandmother was shot dead while sitting on the family’s Winnipeg porch nursing her baby. An accomplished investigative journalist, author Hoffman assumes it is fiction but decides to investigate. He is astonished to discover that, indeed, his great-grandmother was murdered, although the details deviate slightly from the family tradition. 

Through official records, the Census, and newspaper accounts he pieces together the circumstances of her life and death and the frustrated search for her killer. In the process, he learns a great deal about his ancestors and the world of Jewish immigrants in early twentieth-century Canada. Eager to share his findings, he is confronted by his mother’s decline into dementia and the poignant difficulties of grasping and reshaping memories, both collective and individual. 


A sensitive pathography and a “true-crime” history combined. Historians will relate to the author’s complicated sleuthing in time and space to uncover the past--and the dilemma of assessing conflicting bits of evidence. Special aspects of this book for database users are threads related to the excruciating stages of dementia and its impact on loved ones; the author’s coming out and gay marriage; and the power of stories and story-telling in making and preserving identity.


Heliotrope Books

Place Published

New York



Page Count