Devil's Right Hand

The Tragic Story Of The Colt Family Curse


Book Description

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 and the New York Times Bestseller Nathan Hale: The Life and Death of America's First Spy 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.

About Phelps, M. William

In 2012, Investigative Discovery Channel will air M. William Phelps’s television show, tentatively titled “KILLER INSTINCTS with M. William Phelps” for an entire season. M. William Phelps is the author of The Devil’s Rooming House: The True Story of America’s Deadliest Female Serial Killer (Lyons Press), which tells the story of the murderer who inspired the Broadway sensation and classic film "Arsenic and Old Lace." A crime expert, lecturer, and investigative journalist, Phelps has more than 600,000 copies of his books in print since 1999.  His contemporary crime titles include: Perfect Poison, Lethal Guardian, Every Move You Make, Sleep In Heavenly Peace, Murder in the Heartland, Because You Loved MeIf Looks Could KillI’ll Be Watching You, and Death Trap. His works of history include an account of Nathan Hale’s life between 1773 and 1776 set against two major battles of the American Revolution.

   Phelps has appeared on Court TV, The Discovery Channel, Fox News Channel, CN8, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” The Learning Channel, Biography Channel, History Channel, Montel Williams, Geraldo At Large, USA Radio Network, ABC News Radio and Radio America, who calls him “the nation’s leading authority on the mind of the female murderer."

   He’s written for the Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, the New London Day, and published several best-selling history “Shorts” for

   Phelps has also consulted for the Showtime cable television series “Dexter."

   He lives in a small Connecticut farming community with his wife, three children and Labrador. He runs a crime forum at and can also be reached at his author Web site,