A new novel by a former University of Lethbridge professor uses the city as one of its primary settings.
William Baker's "The Father Quest" takes a fictional look at a mysterious part of the life of Richard Burton Deane, a senior member of the Mounted Police who was the commanding officer here from 1888 to 1902.
It's a subject Baker is factually connected with as well, as he has spent more than three decades conducting significant research on Deane's life.
He presented some of those findings at the Lethbridge Public Library recently during the 22nd annual lecture honouring the life and career of Dr. Alex Johnston.
Baker's topic was called "From Fact to Fiction: 31 Years on the Trail of Captain Deane of the Mounties."
"Something I could never figure out on a factual basis when I was doing that research was why is his name Richard Burton Deane? Because there are no Burtons in the Deane family tree. It just doesn't exist," said Burke, who taught history at the U of L from 1970 to 1999.
"I wanted to do an actual biography, but there were gaps in the information. So I kind of had to make a choice."
"The Father Quest" fictionally investigates the mystery of Deane's biological father.
Baker factually found a man named Richard Burton who may have been in the same area of India around the same time Deane was conceived, thus casting some doubt to whether his reputed father was Reverend Henry Deane or not.
Burton later became famous as a 19th century explorer, writer and translator of several books, including the Kama Sutra, into English.
During his time in Lethbridge, Deane became instrumental in establishing criminal justice, social order and cultural institutions in the late 1800s.
"He's a really interesting character," Baker said.
"Not only because he was so heavily involved, as any of the Mounted Police were, in the development of the Prairie west, but also because of the record left both in his unpublished materials and in his published materials."
The inclusion of Lethbridge as one of the locations was also instrumental to the fictional tale, Baker says, as it does still contain a lot of facts.
"There's an awful lot of stuff, both past and present, about Lethbridge," he said.
"As far as I know there's not an awful lot of literature where Lethbridge is one of the main settings for a novel. So I think people may find it kind of interesting."