The Lynching of Peter Wheeler tells the story of the brutal murder of Annie Kempton, which took place in the winter of 1896 in Bear River, NS. It didn’t take long for the community, the press and a Halifax detective to point their collective fingers at Peter Wheeler, a neighbour and African-born man. Wheeler was convicted and hanged—unjustly.
With 20 years of practice as a forensic scientist, Debra Komar applies her professional skills to the task at hand. Namely, “Is it possible to recognize a wrongful conviction buried deep in our nation’s past and, in so doing, identify how and why the mistake occurred?”
This non-fiction narrative reads like a well crafted thriller, and is full of insightful discoveries. Komar’s style is engaging and laced with wit. In the course of presenting mounds of fascinating details, the author also provides readers with a new set of lenses to view wrongful convictions.
The Lynching of Peter Wheeler
by Debra Komar
$19.95, paperback, 352 pp.
Goose Lane Editions, March 2014