Tuesday, 17 September 2019

True crime books from every Canadian province and territory

I checked out this story: 50 States of True Crime – Every state has an infamous crime — and a book about it (Thanks, Kottke.org) and wondered if there was an equivalent list of true crime books for Canadian provinces and territories. I couldn’t find one, so here it is.

What I discovered is that BC, Ontario, and Quebec have a wide selection of horrible crimes to choose from, going back literally centuries. The northern territories have very little murder literature, and more than one murderer (and his unfair acquittal) has something to do with the quest to assert sovereignty by court house.

NUNAVUT

Thou Shalt Do No Murder: Inuit, Injustice, and the Canadian Arctic
By Kenn Harper
Nunavut Arctic College

In 1923, fur trader Robert Janes was tried for the murder of Inuit leader Nuqallaq on Baffin Island. Could it be that the Canadian Government, in an attempt to demonstrate its sovereignty over the Arctic, was assured of a guilty verdict? Perish the thought.

YUKON

Mad Trapper of Rat River: A True Story of Canada’s Biggest Manhunt
By Dick North
Lyons Press

A gripping manhunt through the wilderness, after Albert Johnson – nobody knows if that is his real name, nobody even heard him speak – shot a Mountie who had travelled 100 km through the woods to serve a search warrant. Poorly filmed as the Charles Bronson vehicle, Death Hunt.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Dying for Gold: The True Story of the Giant Mine Murders
By Lee Sellick and Francis Thompson
Harper Collins

Nine miners were killed underground in the maze of the Giant Mine, with Roger Warren, a longtime mine worker left to take the fall and convicted of second degree murder. The authors discover the real story.

BC

On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver’s Missing Women
By Stevie Cameron
Vintage Canada

Stevie Cameron is the rare writer who can turn this lurid tale of botched investigations of North America’s most prolific serial killer into a compelling tale. Cameron brings out much of what the contemporaneous media missed.

ALBERTA

Runaway Devil: How Forbidden Love Drove a 12-Year-Old to Murder Her Family
by Robert Remington and Sherri Zickefoose
McClelland & Stewart

A twelve-year-old goth girl is manipulated by her 10 years older boyfriend into killing her parents and brother in Medicine Hat.

SASKATCHEWAN

A Canadian tragedy: JoAnn and Colin Thatcher : a story of love and hate
By Maggie Siggins
Macmillan

Colin Thatcher, millionaire rancher and son of a Saskatchewan premier, spent the time after divorcing his wife JoAnn by harassing her and (probably) hiring an assassin, while he runs and wins a seat in the legislature and a position of Minister of Energy. Then he killed her.

MANITOBA

Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story
by David Alexander Robertson and illustrated by Scott B. Henderson
Highwater Press

In this graphic novel, Betty Osborne has left home to attend residential school and high school in a bid to become a teacher. Her murder by four men was met with indifference by law enforcement and prosecutors.

ONTARIO

Deadly Innocence: The True Story of Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka, and the Schoolgirl Murders
By Scott Burnside and Alan Cairns
Grand Central

The perfect couple lure three teen age girls, including Holmolka’s sister, to their deaths. Then the prosecutors really botch up the trial.

QUEBEC

Marc Lepine: The Montreal Massacre
By RJ Parker

Misogynist shooter invades Montreal university and murders 14 female engineering students. It takes decades for the country to process where hatred lay.

NOVA SCOTIA

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
By Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James
Scribner

Bill James, of baseball stats fame (He was featured in Moneyball) thinks he has solved the mystery of families bludgeoned to death between 1898 and 1912 by using stats and train tables.

NEWFOUNDLAND

Mr. Big
By Colleen Lewis and Jennifer Hicks
Flanker Press

Two young girls drown at the local lake and the Mounties think their father did it. In an attempt to get a confession, they let him rise the ranks of the fake criminal syndicate they have created.

NEW BRUNSWICK

Shadow of Doubt
By Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon
Goose Lane Editions

Two and a half years after Richard Oland, a member of the Moosehead Brewing family, is murdered in his office, the police finger his son.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

The Betrayer
By Michael Hennessey
Acorn Press

Two PEI men were hanged for the murder of a shopkeeper, yet they claimed that the crime was done by a third man. Who was he?

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