Moses, Me and Murder!

Moses, Me & Murder
Ann Walsh

This popular children's novel is based on a real unsolved murder that took place in Barkerville, B.C. during the 1860s Gold Rush. The quick-paced and engrossing story brings to life an exciting era of British Columbia history as its hero, Ted, struggles with his doubts and fears when he tries to solve the mysterious murder of a young man on his way to the gold fields. When the story presents an actual trial conducted by a historical B.C. judge, young Ted must consider the issue of capital punishment.

An appendix of historical notes gives a brief sketch of each real character, including Judge Begbie, who was known as a "hanging judge." Now in its fourth printing, this book is widely used in elementary classrooms.

"A readable and informative novel of the Gold Rush era."-B.C. Library Association Reporter

  • Recommended for Language Arts 6-9 in Saskatchewan
  • Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice"
  • Shortlisted for the Geoffrey Bilson Prize for Canadian Children's Historical Literature
  • B.C. School Library Book Purchase Plan

Fiction for readers aged 7-11
Paper, 128 pp, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2
20 b&w illustrations, appendix
ISBN 0-88865-059-0 $9.95


"Moses..." was my 'left over' book. While researching Your Time, My Time, my first book, I came across the story of Charles Blessing and his oddly shaped gold nugget. Charles disappeared on his way into Barkervillle, in 1867. He came, as did many visitors to British Columbia, to search for gold. Barkerville was the heart of the gold fields, and at the time Charles set out on his journey, it was the largest town in the province. This was too good a story to leave sitting in the history books, so I researched it thoroughly and wrote about it in Moses, Me and Murder!

Charles' friendship with Moses, a barber, and his disappearance on the Cariboo Road are well known stories in Barkerville's history. When I wrote the tale, I added a fictional character, Ted, who helps Moses and the local constabulary, bring Charles' murderer to justice.

I have told the story of Charles, Moses and Ted in many classrooms across BC, and I always enjoy sharing this bit of our history with students. Charles' grave is well marked on the road into Barkerville, and many of the students who visit Barkerville tell me they stop by and pay their respects. As do I.