Who Killed Janet Smith?

By Ed Starkins,

Book cover of Who Killed Janet Smith?

Book description

Literary Nonfiction. New Edition as part City of Vancouver's Legacy Book Project, with foreword by historian Daniel Francis. WHO KILLED JANEY SMITH? examines one of the most infamous and still unsolved murder cases in Canadian history: the 1924 murder of twenty-two-year-old Scottish nursemaid Janet Smith. Originally published in 1984, and…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Who Killed Janet Smith? as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Janet Smith was a young Scottish housemaid who was murdered in the home of her well-to-do employer in 1924. Never solved, the murder is one of the most celebrated crimes in Vancouver history, featuring political corruption, racial animosity, sex, drugs, and jazz. The book is a wonderful evocation of life in the city in the 1920s when it was emerging from world war and recession and finding its feet as a cosmopolitan community with pretensions to economic leadership. This is one of the first books I ever read about Vancouver history and it remains a favourite.

From Daniel's list on Vancouver history.

On July 26, 1924, Janet Smith, 22 was found shot in the head by a .45 calibre automatic revolver in the basement of a Shaughnessy house. The bizarre murder of the Scottish nanny rocked Vancouver, the city where I live. Smith was employed by one of Vancouver’s prominent families and Starkins lays out the incompetent and corrupt police investigation that followed. Janet Smith’s murder is one of Canada’s oldest cold cases and Starkins tells a story that’s both gripping and full of tension. Entitled rich people, high society orgies, poor people, a fall guy, kidnapping, rampant racism, drugs—it’s covered in…

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