The heavens opened. Traffic slowed to a crawl. (I know. Two clichés in two sentences...) Nevertheless, people from all walks of my life turned up on Thursday evening, August 17 at Ben McNally Books in downtown Toronto to celebrate the launch of Drop Dead: A Horrible History of Hanging in Canada.

So many individuals were caught up in the criminal justice system between Confederation in 1867 and the abolition of capital punishment in 1976; I could only include a fraction of their stories in Drop Dead. So while the gathering at the launch sipped their drinks and nibbled on nibblies, I shared with them the story of a case that didn’t make it into the book: a murder trial after the circus came to Picton, Ontario, in 1903, which had a happier outcome than most.

And at the end of the evening, lucky, lucky Vanessa Judelman walked away with the draw prize: a gift package of books, notepads, and a bottle of The Hanging Man wine, with a length of rope thrown in to boot!