The epic story of a great American dynasty, beset by scandal, tragedy, and a dark curse From the author of The Devil's Rooming House comes the horrific legacy of death and destruction in the gunmaking Colt family during the nineteenth century, a legacy largely remembered for a lurid murder case that inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Oblong Box”—but one that encompassed so much more. .
M. William Phelps reveals an unfathomable pattern surrounding repeating arms inventor Samuel Colt—from the death of all the Colt children, including Sam’s sea captain son’s mysterious demise aboard his yacht, to the eccentric and pious life of Sam Colt’s widow. But the tip of this iceberg was the 1841-42 murder case of John C. Colt, one of New York’s most sensational scandals. Printer Samuel Adams went to collect a debt from bookkeeper and author John Colt and was never seen alive again. Shocking revelations followed: Did John shoot Adams with one of his brother’s Colt firearms before hacking him up and packing him in an oblong box? Did Sam Colt invent the revolving pistol, or steal the idea? Part historical true-crime, part family biography and cultural history, The Devil’s Right Hand is a stirring narrative about a darkly cursed American dynasty.