Devil's Right Hand

The Tragic Story Of The Colt Family Curse

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By M. William Phelps
Price: $24.95 Pub Date: 12/06/2011 Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780762763795 Imprint: Lyons Press Trim: Pages: 336

From the best-selling true crime writer, author of The Devil’s Rooming House, and star of the new Investigation Discovery television series Dark Minds comes the horrific legacy of death and destruction in the gun-making Colt family during the nineteenth century, a legacy largely remembered for a lurid murder case that inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Oblong Box”—but one that encompassed so much more.

M. William Phelps reveals an unfathomable pattern surrounding repeating-arms inventor Samuel Colt—from the death of all the Colt children, including Sam’s sea captain son’s mysterious demise aboard his yacht, to the eccentric and pious life of Sam Colt’s widow. But the tip of this iceberg was the 1841–42 murder case of John C. Colt, one of New York City’s most sensational scandals. Printer Samuel Adams went to collect a debt from bookkeeper and author John Colt and was never seen alive again. His mangled corpse was found in a crate addressed to New Orleans aboard a ship in New York harbor. Shocking revelations followed: Did John shoot Adams with one of his brother’s Colt firearms before hacking him up and packing him in the crate? Did John marry the pregnant Caroline Henshaw in prison on the day of his execution to protect the reputation of his brother, the woman’s true lover and father of her child? Did Sam Colt invent the revolving pistol, or steal the idea?

Part historical true-crime, part family biography and cultural history, The Devil’s Right Hand is a stirring narrative about a terribly cursed American dynasty.

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M. William Phelps