The story of one of the vilest murders in Canadian history.
One glorious autumn day in 1894, a drifter attacked thirteen-year-old Jessie Keith so violently that people thought Jack the Ripper must be loose in rural Ontario. To solve the crime, the government called in Detective John Wilson Murray, the true-life model for Detective William Murdoch of the popular TV series Murdoch Mysteries. His prime clue was a black valise.
The Man with the Black Valise traces the killer’s trajectory through three counties, a route that today connects travellers to poignant reminders of nineteenth-century life. Chief among them stands the statue of the Roman Goddess of Flora, gesturing as though to cast roses onto Jessie’s grave.
John Goddard is an author, magazine writer, and former Toronto Star reporter. His books include Inside the Museums: Toronto’s Heritage Sites and Their Most Prized Objects and Rock and Roll Toronto, with pop critic Richard Crouse. John lives in Toronto.
A tragic and dark story both fascinating and enlightening. Highly recommended.