On April 26th, 1988, a man was shot and killed in a remote cabin in rural Ontario.
Four witnesses were questioned by the police. Each one told a different story. Worse, they continued to change their stories, repeatedly contradicting not only each other, but also themselves. Ultimately, a woman named Mae McEachern was charged with murder. But what really happened that night?
Author Brian Barrie acted as Mae’s defense lawyer at her murder trial. In this scintillating true crime novel, Barrie uses the trial transcripts, newspaper articles, and his own memories to piece together the story of who the victim was, who the witnesses were, and how the murder came to pass. He goes on to detail the gripping courtroom drama of the murder trial, where Mae’s innocence was judged by a jury of her peers.
Grappling with themes of mental illness, domestic violence, misogyny, and disability, this astonishing exposé from Delve Books casts a light on how the Canadian justice system can further victimize those who are already vulnerable, while also laying bare the simple kindness and love that can exist between people, even in the harshest of circumstances.
About the authors
Brian Barrie graduated from the Royal Military College in 1969 and, while serving in Gagetown, obtained a master’s degree in English from the University of New Brunswick, specializing in Canadian literature. He went on to pursue a law degree at Queen’s University, graduating in 1976.
With the unfailing support of his wife, he established a trial practice in Owen Sound, Ontario, where for forty years he was privileged to be accepted into a world of wonder and crisis, where strangers entrusted him with their causes, their fights for freedom, and their financial survival. He also served two terms on the board of directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.
But even while practising law, Brian Barrie could not quell his passion for writing. He published four books for children or youth between 2007 and 2019, which have been cherished by local Owen Sound readers. He currently lives on Lake Huron, his horizon encircled by fishing islands until backlit by the Red Bay sunsets — a gathering place for a vibrant family life. Four Bullets, Four Witnesses, Four Liars is his first adult novel.
“Four Bullets, Four Witnesses, Four Liars is a compelling memoir of an unusual and perplexing murder trial in which the author, a skilled and experienced trial lawyer, acted as defence counsel.
Culled from ‘the garden of human experience’ and rich in insight into the frailties of the justice system, the memoir illustrates the myriad challenges facing advocates charged with defending clients caught in the crosshairs of the justice system. This memoir will speak to anyone who cares deeply about justice.”
Justice James Clarke (Retired)
“After a distinguished career as an outstanding criminal defence counsel, Brian Barrie has written this riveting memoir chronicling one of his first murder cases. It reads like a skillfully crafted whodunnit. Yet, it’s all true. He takes us through the chaotic lives of a cadre of misfits, until one of them is brutally murdered. The trial is a battle royal between a truculent Crown Attorney and Barrie. He quotes liberally from the actual trial transcripts to build suspense to a dramatic but satisfying conclusion. So many twists and turns. You won’t be able to put it down.”
Justice Terry O’Connor (Retired)
“Mr. Barrie has followed his distinguished legal career with a terrific first novel. The tale is given a significant boost by the fact that it is told by one who has ‘seen that and done that.’”
— Justice Cas Herold (Retired)