Toronto Gothic

The Canadian writer Margaret Millar was Agatha Christie’s favourite mystery novelist.  For very good reason.  THE IRON GATES (1945) is set in Toronto – the gated park in the book being Toronto’s very own High Park under snow.  The novel falls into the category Urban Ontario Vintage Winter Gothic – a category I might have made up.

You can get plot synopses anywhere, here’s something you won’t. The family lives in a big elegant house overlooking High Park.  The property seemingly continuous with the park, leading one naive and not so privileged character to wonder aloud if the whole park actually belongs to the Morrows.  A very modest detective effort suggests there’s only one place where this is possible. You take some very inconspicuous steps down through trees from busy Bloor Street, on the western side of the park, to narrow Wendigo Way.  Wendigo Way is a lane, not much more than a track, and was probably just that in 1945.  High Park comes right up to the stately old houses that line this lane.  The haunted Mrs. Morrow listens there to the skaters beyond the trees…

Here’s a great blog if you want to know more about Margaret Millar and THE IRON GATES:


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