Who Named the Knife

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Like Ruskin for a new age, Spalding brilliantly interweaves her own life and her subject’s in this story of a sensational murder case.

In 1982, as Linda Spalding was about to leave Hawaii and embark on a new life in Canada, she was called to jury duty, sitting for the trial of a young woman charged with murder. Maryann Acker was Mormon, eighteen years old, and married to a petty crook and hustler who had hauled her into a life that led eventually to murder on a hillside above one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches.

Twenty years later, Spalding stumbles across the journal she kept through the trial, tracks down Maryann, who is still in jail, and begins a journey into memory, into the twists of fate that spin two lives down such different trajectories. The story is Maryann’s but it is also Spalding’s, as subject and writer overlap. Like the work of John Ruskin, Linda Spalding’s writing brilliantly combines autobiography with the examination of an external subject and, in doing so, offers us profound insights into the vagaries of the human heart.


Murder. In such a place.

From above, from the highway, it looks like a planet must have fallen into it, the round bowl edges of this bay are so perfect. Below the surface of the water, amazing fish can be seen living their lives in the coral. This is a place where children play in the waves, where parents sit on the...
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“A sometimes painful and always surprising voyage of personal rediscovery.”
Globe and Mail

“Spalding is a gifted prose stylist.”
Ottawa Citizen

Praise for The Follow:
“Spalding’s writing flows as effortlessly and as languidly as Borneo’s great Kumai River itself, which makes for a beautiful blend of science, travel, and personal essay. More than an important book . . . The Follow is a deeply moving literary experience.”
Globe and Mail

“Her book is a constant pleasure, flawlessly written, anchored in fact, and shot through with mystery.”
Toronto Star