Ambrose Small was born in 1863 in Bradford, Ontario. He worked his way up in the entertainment business and became a tycoon in the Ontario theatre scene. On Dec. 2, 1919, after he has sold all of his theatres at the price of 1.7 millions dollars, he disappeared with a cheque of one million as part of the payment. The disappearance was unusual because there was no signs of kidnapping and no notes of ransom. Small disappeared just like a puff of air.
            Before his disappearance, Small married Theresa Kormann in 1902. After their marriage, Small was seeing other women, and among them, an opera singer Clara Smith. After his disappearance Clara has put up a 50,000 dollar reward for a lead to Small.
           In In the Skin of a Lion, the main character, Patrick Lewis, became a searcher of the missing millionaire. As he was searching for Small, he met his mistress, Clara, and fell in love with her. After Clara took off to join Small in his hiding, Patrick wrote unsent letters to her.

Dear Clara
            All these strange half-lit lives. Rosedale like an aquarium at night. Underwater tress. You in a long black dress walking without shoes in Ambrose's long garden while his wife slept upstairs. Howling up to disturb her night. The soft rich.
            Ambrose had class because he had you. That's what they all knew - those half-formed people who were born with money and who did nothing except keep it like a thermometer up their ass. The mean rich. The soft rich. I know why you went with Ambrose. He was the harbour rat. An immigrant rat. He had to win or he lost everything. The others just had to get their oldest son into Upper Canada College. Crop rotation. The only one who could slide over the wall, skip along the broken glass, was Small. But I don't want Small, I want you... (In the Skin of a Lion. p. 84)
11/27/2010 05:04:33 am

I think I've mentioned I grew up in Toronto .... Crop Rotation, I love it.


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