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Professional hangman

June 24th, 2022

Julie Burtinshaw, author of six young adult novels, has written her first creative non-fiction title, Hangman: The true story of Canada’s first official executioner (Tidewater $22.95). John Robert Radclive (also known as Ratcliffe) immigrated to Canada in 1890 and became the country’s first professional hangman in 1892. He proved to be a reluctant hangman and initially did the job to ensure that death came quickly to convicts sentenced to hang. In Burtinshaw’s story, Radclive comes to question the Canadian justice system and his role within it. From publicity: “Based on extensive historical research and contemporaneous newspaper accounts, Hangman recaps the history of capital punishment in Canada and the ambivalence of public attitudes toward it through a highly personal lens.” Radclive is said to have died of alcohol-related illness in 1911 at the age of 55. 978-1990160-14-1

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