The Resurrection of Mary Mabel McTavish

Written by Allan Stratton
Review by Susan McDuffie

In Depression-era London, Ontario, a suicidal 17-year-old Mary Mabel McTavish receives an angelic visitation from her deceased mother that will change her life forever. Mary Mabel’s failed suicide attempt and subsequent resurrection of an electrocuted child, the unfortunate Timmy Beeford, set into motion a long chain of events – something like a Rube Goldberg cartoon, with a picaresque cast of characters pushing the levers.

The newly notorious Mary Mabel is taken under the wing of Floyd Cruickshank and Brother Percy, a pair of failed evangelists, whose tent, the scene of an earlier murder-suicide, is adorned with frequently repainted blood, gore and actual bullet holes. From this auspicious beginning the reader travels at a wickedly fast pace from the Bentwhistle Academy for Young Ladies, via backwoods Ontario, Radio City Music Hall and Bolshevik-haunted Mexico, to the Hearst Castle in California, making numerous other stops in between. Characters making an appearance include J. Edgar Hoover, Jack Warner, and William Randolph Hearst himself. Mary Mabel’s knight in slightly tarnished armor, journalist K. O. Doyle, is vividly portrayed, as are Mary Mabel herself and even the most minor characters in this very entertaining read.

This book romps through the Great Depression with the speed of a runaway freight train, and I could not put it down. Allan Stratton has won numerous awards, including the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor. After reading this book, it is easy to see why. Highly recommended – grab a copy, hold on tight, and enjoy the ride!