Pinkerton’s and the Hunt for Simon Gunanoot

Double Murder, Secret Agents and an Elusive Outlaw

Reviewed by Julia Richards

Posted January 21, 2022

Geoff Mynett’s Pinkerton’s and the Hunt for Simon Gunanoot tells the story of an accused double murderer who evaded capture for thirteen years in northern British Columbia in the early 1900s.

Mynett’s background as a lawyer is evident in the way he conveys detailed research in an interesting and engaging manner. Much of the case against Simon Gunanoot was based on hearsay evidence gathered by investigators who interviewed locals, and their accounts were subject to drunken retellings, racial prejudices, and simply false memories. Thus, the veracity of the stories that led to the accusations against Gunanoot, a Gitxsan merchant, is often questionable.

Mynett pieces together the clues to create a cohesive narrative that explores the varieties of claimed truths. A highlight of his book is the never-beforepublished first-hand accounts of the two Pinkerton’s agents from Seattle who were tasked with finding Gunanoot on the B.C. frontier.

This book is an important historical work, as it explores the infamous tale of Simon Gunanoot with new sources while opening the door for deeper analysis into Indigenous history in northern British Columbia at the turn of the previous century.

Buy this book at Chapters-Indigo

This article originally appeared in the February-March 2022 issue of Canada’s History.

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