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Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise

por Charlotte Gray

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533485,942 (3.92)23
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year In this "engrossing must-read" by "Canada's most accomplished popular historian" (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine), the glittering life and brutal murder of Sir Harry Oakes is newly investigated. Murdered Midas is "superior true-crime writing" (The Globe and Mail). On an island paradise in 1943, Sir Harry Oakes, gold-mining tycoon, philanthropist and one of the richest men in the British Empire, is murdered. The news of his death surges across the English-speaking world, from London, the Imperial centre, to the remote Canadian mining town of Kirkland Lake in the Northern Ontario bush. The murder becomes celebrated as the crime of the century. The layers of mystery deepen as the involvement of Count Alfred de Marigny, Oakes's son-in-law, comes into question. Also suspicious are the odd machinations of the governor of the Bahamas, the former King Edward VIII. But despite a sensational trial, no murderer is convicted. Rumours about Oakes's missing fortune are unrelenting, and fascination with the story has persisted for decades. Award-winning biographer and popular historian Charlotte Gray explores the life of the man behind the scandal--from his early, hardscrabble days during the massive mineral rush in Northern Ontario, to the fabulous fortune he reaped from his own gold mine, to his grandiose gestures of philanthropy. And Gray brings fresh eyes to the bungled investigation and shocking trial on the remote colonial island, proposing an overlooked suspect in this long cold case. Murdered Midas is the story of the man behind the newspaper headlines, a man both admired and reviled who, despite great wealth and public standing, never experienced justice.  … (mais)
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It was billed as the murder of the century: Harry Oakes, who had earned his vast fortune from the gold mines of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, was killed in his bed one night in 1943. He was living in the Bahamas, mainly to avoid paying income tax, and his abrasive personality meant there was no shortage of enemies. But nobody has been convicted of his murder; the most likely suspect at the time was acquitted, and there has not been enough evidence to try another suspect.

As always with a Charlotte Gray book, this was well put together and told in a straightforward manner. I especially liked how Gray discussed the process of putting the biography together and evaluating the reliability of the available sources. The only thing I really didn’t need was the two crime-scene photos, one of which actually shows his body. A crime-scene diagram like in a classic detective novel might have conveyed some of the discussion surrounding how the body was found and where each piece of evidence was found.

This book made a neat follow-up to Gray’s earlier book Gold Diggers, about the Klondike gold rush, so if you haven’t read either of those books, that would be a useful reading order. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jun 5, 2021 |
I love Charlotte Gray's books, including this one. What a great read! Ms. Gray looks not only at the murder of Canadian millionaire Harry Oakes, but also his life. Among other things, this book shows how stories live on and evolve over time. And, don't let anyone tell you Canadian history is boring. Ms. Gray brings our stories to life. ( )
2 vote LynnB | Jan 5, 2021 |
The murder Midas was Sir Harry Oakes, who was originally from Maine but he traveled the world searching for gold. His big strike came in Kirkland Lake, Ontario eventually making him one of the richest men in the world. After years of prospecting by himself, he was not the most pleasant person to be around. As well, he feared people were always trying to take his money and thus kept his defenses up.

To avoid Canadian income tax, he emigrated to the Bahamas where he spent millions helping others turn the islands into tropical holiday destinations. When he was brutally murdered, his unpopular son-in-law, Count Alfred de Marigny was immediately suspected and charged. The murder investigation was badly mishandled leading to a never ending mystery about who did commit the crime.

Gray has done an amazing amount of research in various countries in which Oakes was active. Two characters who comes out very poorly in this narrative are the Duke of Windsor and his infamous wife, the Duchess. Their muddling probably led to the unsatisfactory conclusion to the whole murder episode.

One very interesting part of the book for me is the first section which describes how mining was developed to be so important to Northern Ontario. Oakes played a very large part in that development with his finding of gold. ( )
1 vote lamour | Feb 13, 2020 |
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A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year In this "engrossing must-read" by "Canada's most accomplished popular historian" (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine), the glittering life and brutal murder of Sir Harry Oakes is newly investigated. Murdered Midas is "superior true-crime writing" (The Globe and Mail). On an island paradise in 1943, Sir Harry Oakes, gold-mining tycoon, philanthropist and one of the richest men in the British Empire, is murdered. The news of his death surges across the English-speaking world, from London, the Imperial centre, to the remote Canadian mining town of Kirkland Lake in the Northern Ontario bush. The murder becomes celebrated as the crime of the century. The layers of mystery deepen as the involvement of Count Alfred de Marigny, Oakes's son-in-law, comes into question. Also suspicious are the odd machinations of the governor of the Bahamas, the former King Edward VIII. But despite a sensational trial, no murderer is convicted. Rumours about Oakes's missing fortune are unrelenting, and fascination with the story has persisted for decades. Award-winning biographer and popular historian Charlotte Gray explores the life of the man behind the scandal--from his early, hardscrabble days during the massive mineral rush in Northern Ontario, to the fabulous fortune he reaped from his own gold mine, to his grandiose gestures of philanthropy. And Gray brings fresh eyes to the bungled investigation and shocking trial on the remote colonial island, proposing an overlooked suspect in this long cold case. Murdered Midas is the story of the man behind the newspaper headlines, a man both admired and reviled who, despite great wealth and public standing, never experienced justice.  

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