Right from the start, everyone knows who killed Phillip Boudreau, and everyone in the French Acadian fishing village of Petit de Grat, Nova Scotia knows why — but the judges and the juries never hear or understand the full story.
In this compulsively-readable and surprisingly funny book, up is down and black is white. The perpetrators turn out to be victims as well, and the victim is also a perpetrator.
One of the killers, Dwayne Samson, a fishing-boat captain, presents the court with a petition signed by 700 neighbours urging the judge to free him on bail. His father-in-law, James Landry, who is also charged with the murder, falsifies his own story to attract more blame to himself.
The victim, Phillip Boudreau, whose body is never found, is a Robin Hood figure who steals from the wealthy, gives to the needy, loves dogs, and eludes the police with a mocking laugh. But he also has a 28-page criminal record that includes some serious crimes. Nevertheless, the village church is packed for his funeral.
This tale of a shocking crime leads the reader into a world of mirrors and paradoxes. The story became famous as the “murder for lobster” case — but this is not a story about lobster. Ultimately, Blood in the Water is about the grand themes of power and law, security and self-respect. The book raises profound questions about the limitations of the justice system itself, about the nature of community, and about our own characters and values.
Are you really sure you would not kill — if you were pushed beyond your limits?
“It was easily dismissed as the “murder for lobster” — a senseless brutal act. But to the master storyteller Silver Donald Cameron, who has a deep knowledge of the people and the history of where it happened, it was anything but senseless. It was a crime that over time became, in many minds, inevitable.”
Linden MacIntyre, author of The Wake
“With its elegant prose and a cast of characters fit for any work of fiction, Blood in the Water takes us through one of the most remarkable criminal trials in the history of Nova Scotia. Silver Donald Cameron grapples with the complexities of small-town culture where history, blood, and tradition can override everything, even murder.”
Donna Morrissey, author of The Fortunate Son
“Silver Donald Cameron tells a story of community bonds under strain, and tells it with compassion and nuance. Thanks to his own ties to Cape Breton, Cameron transcends the easy headlines to reveal the grey areas of the case and the humanity of a tragic villain. His compelling account of the desperate response to that villainy, and of an imperfect legal system, deserves a place in criminal law classes, yet feels like a yarn spun by the gifted raconteur next door.“
Jacques Poitras, author of Irving vs Irving
“A helluva tale, full of quirky twists and enchanting details, and told in vintage Silver Donald Cameron style. He piques your curiosity in the first paragraph and delivers a master class in storytelling. Blood in the Water is about a moral dilemma that will linger long after the final page.”
Sally Armstrong, author of Ascent of Women
“Silver Donald Cameron has produced a riveting account of transgression and murder in rural Nova Scotia. Shakespearean in scope, Blood in the Water rises above the true crime genre to offer powerful insights into the complexities, and the dark side, of Maritime society. A cracking good read.”
Michael Harris, author of Party of One
“This is a truly Canadian tale told in truly Canadian voices. Read it!”
Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourn Shreve mystery series.
“An engrossing behind-the-headlines story of a case that stunned Cape Breton…[and] a revealing contemplation of the close ties that can both bind or fetter rural communities, told by a consummate storyteller with a deep connection to that unique place.”
Pauline Dakin, author of the bestseller Run, Hide, Repeat
Silver Donald Cameron was also the Host and Executive Producer of the TheGreenInterview.com, an environmental website devoted to intense, in-depth conversations with the brilliant thinkers and activists who, he believed, are leading the way to a green and sustainable future. His literary work includes plays, films, radio and TV scripts, an extensive body of corporate and governmental writing, hundreds of magazine articles and 20 books, including two novels. He passed away on June 1, 2020, of complications arising from lung cancer.
At the time of his death, Silver Donald Cameron was completing the first year of a three-year appointment as the first Farley Mowat Chair in Environment at Cape Breton University. [Read More]