Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murders
by Eve Lazarus
Arsenal Pulp Press
184 pages, $21.95
In Cold Case Vancouver, Eve Lazarus examines eighteen of the city’s unsolved murders. She begins in 1944 and continues through to 1996.
If not for a fortuitous twist of fate, the first chapter might not have been written. A few days after sending her manuscript to the publisher, Lazarus was contacted by a reference historian who had recently acquired a family photo album. The author discovered that the album’s former owner, Jennie Conroy, was twenty-four years old in 1944 when she was murdered; her case was never solved, but her story now forms part of this collection.
As an avid crime and mystery reader, I was surprised by the melancholy that I felt growing with each chapter. Lazarus outlines the publicly known facts of the cases with investigative diligence and a flair for storytelling. However, this isn’t fiction — these are the stories of real people, mostly young women and children, whose lives met with a brutal end.
For Cold Case Vancouver, Lazarus combed archives, newspapers, and obituaries as well as the memories of families, victims’ friends, and retired police detectives. The only thing the book lacks is commentary from police officers who may be handling the cases today — regardless of how old an unsolved murder is, it is still considered active, and for that reason detectives often won’t comment.
As Lazarus notes, “unsolved murders, by their nature, don’t have an ending,” so she concludes with a resolved once-cold case. Her book is an excellent read for history and mystery buffs alike.