The Spanish Boy

The Spanish Boy



About the book

  • 2017 Manitoba Book Awards Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher—Winner

Grief cannot abide a mystery. No one understands that better than the Clarey family of Halifax.

In 1937, the Clareys are a close and loving family until their lives are transformed the night Edie, their wilful daughter and sister, vanishes, leaving no trace, no clue, as to what happened to her.

The lingering questions of her disappearance will ricochet through the succeeding generations of Clareys.

As decades pass and lives unfold, the memories of Edie's brothers and her parents, are haunted by the spectre of the missing girl. The misery of their grief is entangled with the only comfort they can find: a belief that one day the mystery of Edie's disappearance will be solved.

Drawn into Edie's young life, and into her story, are two young men who work at her father's business: the bookkeeper Raymond Gillis and a stranger named Micah Gessen. The three form a triangle of jealousy and obsession. One of them knows what happened to the Clarey girl.

Just as Edie's vanishing is a moment of transformation for the Clarey family, so are the times they live in. The story of The Spanish Boy is told against the backdrop of some of the momentous events of the twentieth and earliest part of the twenty-first centuries.

About the author

Reardon, C.S.

C.S. Reardon is a multiple award-winning television producer at CBC in Toronto.  During three decades with CBC, Reardon worked in senior journalistic positions on programs including The Journal, Canada:  A People’s History and the fifth estate.  During her time as Senior Producer and Executive Producer of the CBC’s flagship investigative program the fifth estate, the show won countless national and international awards, and worked with some of the best writers and journalists in the country. She currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia.



In the days after she'd gone, a woman knocked at their door. She was respectable looking, didn't smell of alcohol, and spoke in a quiet, articulate way.

"Your daughter has spoken to me," she said and smiled.

Charles grabbed her arm and pulled her inside the house. He didn't want any of the newspaper people hanging around outside to hear this.

"What'd she say? Where is she?" Charles wished Gus was home. He'd gone to the drugstore to get something for Mary.

She said she's happy and that she wants you to be happy. She's where she wants to be.

"I don't understand. Where is she? Take me to her."

"Well, you see, I don't know where she is precisely. Her voice came to me..."

Charles didn't slam the door behind the woman. He didn't want to risk alerting Mary or Theresa. Let her tell her story to the press boys outside. Let them deal with her. He had offered a substantial reward of $2000, money he didn't have, for anyone with information that led them to Edie. That produced a long line of the desperate and the needy saying they all wanted to help when what they really wanted was the money. That woman, though, was the only one who said she'd heard Edie's voice, assuring them that she was all right. It was a perverse disappointment for Charles when the woman didn't return after that day.


The year is 1936 and the Clarey family of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is by all accounts, a typical family. The father, Charles is the latest owner of the Clarey Paint and Glass, a business started by his grandfather. Charles and… >>

— James Fisher Miramichi Reader

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