As you may have known, the Provincial Fair occurred just last week. The alumni students were responsible for creating an activity one night, and they decided on a murder mystery. For this, we researched an actual murder that took place in Canada. However, there was no known guilty party, so we had to alter the mystery to make a conclusion.

In this blog post, you will find out all the known information of this murder mystery.

Julia - photo1
Amy Redpath and Ada Redpath, image courtesy of Musee McCord Museum

Ada Redpath married John James Redpath in 1867, and the couple had five children; Amy, Peter, John Reginald, Harold, and Jocelyn Clifford. As she aged older, she became ill and depended a lot on Amy and Jocelyn Clifford – “Cliff”.

Julia - photo 2
Cliff Redpath, image courtesy of the Redpath Sugar Museum


Cliff Redpath went into the Arts program at McGill University and then later entered the Law program. He was very close to his sister, Amy, and spent a great deal of time with her. Later in Ada’s life, Cliff was the only son that remained at home, so he was responsible for managing the family fortune. He helped his mother as much as possible and in any way he could.

Julia photo 3
Redpath Family Mansion, image courtesy of the Redpath Sugar Museum


The Redpath family was very wealthy; they owned a sugar refinery. On June 13, 1901 Cliff and Ada Redpath were found dead in Ada’s room.

Peter Redpath rushed to the room after he heard the gunshots, and found his mother and brother dead. The servants also rushed to help.

It was clear that the two had been shot. Ada Redpath died on the spot, but Cliff was apparently rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital. However, there are no records of him being admitted or treated on.

It was decided that Cliff had had an epileptic seizure and then killed his mother and himself. Now, with our current knowledge of epilepsy, we know that is impossible for Cliff to have shot anyone during a seizure.

Furthermore, the case was very quick. The police weren’t involved; it was only two days after the murder that the case was deemed closed and the Redpaths were buried. No one bothered to look for proof as to why the Redpaths really died.

The coroner’s report was made by one Dr Roddick; who was desperately in love with Amy Redpath. For being one of the best physicians in Canada, the coroner’s report was terrible. It made little sense and was but half a page, which makes some people wonder: was Dr Roddick covering for himself, or perhaps his beloved?

As of today, we know the four suspects; Amy, Rose Shallow; the head maid, Peter, and Dr Roddick.

Amy Redpath Roddick was the only daughter in the Redpath family, as well as the eldest child. She never seemed interested in getting married, but married Dr Thomas Roddick in 1906, at the age of 38. She kept a diary and seemed to be incredibly devoted to her mother and brothers. Because Ada was so ill, Amy became the head of the house; she paid the bills, hired staff, did the family shopping, and more. Amy loved languages, literature, and theatre, and even wrote plays of her own. She donated a lot of money to McGill University; the Roddick Gates in honour of her husband, as well as some to the Redpath Library in honour of Cliff and Peter. When she died, she gave more money to McGill University, and the rest was split up between her nieces and nephews, as she did not have children of her own. Though she did love her mother very much, Amy also wanted to travel; this being a possible reason for her to kill her mother and brother.

Mary Rose Shallow was a maid for Ada when the murder occurred. After Ada’s death, she went on to live with Amy. Amy had left a monthly sum of money for Rose in her will, but Amy ended up outliving Rose, who died in 1943. Ada Redpath left a monthly sum for Mary Rose in her will, and as she was poor, this could be a reason as to why the maid might have killed Mrs Redpath.

Peter Redpath was the eldest son, and at 15 years of age, he became the head of the house when his father passed away. He briefly studied Sciences at McGill, but was too ill to stay long. Though he was offered a job at the family’s sugar refinery, he declined it, choosing instead to travel to various places to be cured from diseases that he had. After the death of his mother and brother, Peter’s health declined, and Amy went with him to California. He died in 1902 from tuberculosis. Because he had no children, all of his money went to his surviving siblings. It was said that Cliff was the favourite child, and Peter wished to inherit more of the family business and fortune.

Julia - photo 4
Dr. Thomas George Roddick, image courtesy of the McGill University Archives


Not much information is given on Thomas Roddick. We know that he is the man that wrote the coroner’s report after Cliff and Ada’s death, and he later married Amy Redpath. He was the family physician, and supposedly examined the bodies, but it is said that he was not actually in Montreal at that time. Maybe he wished for Amy to be free so he could marry her?

It is still unknown who was really the murderer, so this story remains a mystery. Who do you think did the crime?

Sources: To write this blog post, I used what I learned about the Redpaths at Provincial Heritage Fair as well as Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History.


Author: Julia