Winner of the 1978 Eaton’s British Columbia Book Award
“Ratz”—Francis Mawson Rattenbury—was only 25 years old when he was commissioned to design the new Parliament Buildings for British Columbia, and soon became the most sought after architect in the province. He designed almost every important building of his time in British Columbia, including the Empress Hotel; British Columbia’s Government House; court-houses in Vancouver, Nanaimo and Nelson; and Victoria’s Crystal Gardens.
Rattenbury courted the press his entire career; he thrived on publicity and notoriety, yet in 1930, he left British Columbia and settled into unhappy obscurity in England after a scandalous affair and subsequent marriage to a much younger woman. In 1935, Rattenbury was murdered by his second wife’s lover—the chauffeur.
Released in time to celebrate the centennial of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, this revised edition examines previously unknown details about Rattenbury’s involvement with the Empress Hotel. Terry Reksten also discloses the aftermath of the infamous Rattenbury murder trial, including what happened to the architect’s children and George Stoner, the chauffeur convicted of his murder.
Biography/History, 204 pp, 6 × 9, 40 b/w illustrations
ISBN 1-55039-090-2, paper, $19.95
Terry Reksten is one of those rare historians such as Barbara Tuchman and Cecil Woodham-Smith who can skillfully portray the movers and shakers of history as living, breathing human beings. In my view, this is one of the best biographies ever written and a must-read for all Canadians.
— JIM MUNRO, MUNRO’S BOOKS, VICTORIA