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True Crime General

Who Killed Janet Smith?

by (author) Edward Starkins

introduction by Daniel Francis

Anvil Press Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 15
  • Grade: 10


'Who Killed Janet 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 out of print for over a decade, this tale of intrigue, racism, privilege, and corruption in high places as a true-crime recreation that reads like a complex thriller.

We are pleased to be reissuing this title as part of the City of Vancouver's Legacy Book Project.

"... drug traffic, Roaring Twenties hedonism, official corruption, cutthroat competition among newspapers, a public taste for occultism, etc.- and entrust the whole works to a good storyteller, and you have one terrific political history of Vancouver." - Geist Magazine

"Starkins cuts away at the layers with the delicacy of a neurosurgeon. What he uncovers almost defies belief." - Quill & Quire

About the authors

Edward Starkins is a graduate of San Diego State University with degrees in English literature and psychology. His long-time interest in British Columbia history includes contributions to Raincoast Chronicles, The Greater Vancouver Book, Vancouver Magazine, the Vancouver Sun, and West Side Week as well as numerous projects undertaken for the National Film Board of Canada, CBC Radio, and British Columbia History Films. A former editor of the Vancouver Review, Starkins is the author of several radio and film scripts.

Edward Starkins' profile page

Daniel Francis is an historian and the author/editor of more than twenty books, including five for Arsenal Pulp Press: The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture , National Dreams: Myth, Memory and Canadian History, LD: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver (winner of the City of Vancouver Book Award), Seeing Reds: The Red Scare of 1918-1919, Canada's First War on Terror and Imagining Ourselves: Classics of Canadian Non-Fiction. His other books include A Road for Canada, Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver's Sex Trade, Copying People: Photographing British Columbia First Nations 1860-1940, The Great Chase: A History of World Whaling, New Beginnings: A Social History of Canada, and the popular Encyclopedia of British Columbia. He is also a regular columnist in Geist magazine, and was shortlisted for Canada's History Pierre Berton Award in 2010. Daniel lives in North Vancouver, BC.

Daniel Francis' profile page

Librarian Reviews

Who Killed Janet Smith?

Originally published in 1984, this title has been reissued with an updated Afterword as part of the City of Vancouver’s 125 Legacy Books Project. Starkins documents his investigation of the infamous case surrounding the unsolved murder of a young Scottish nursemaid that took place in 1924 in the wealthy neighbourhood of Shaughnessy Heights. This non-fiction book reads like a complex and thrilling mystery novel. The author’s thorough and insightful investigation of this crime reveals a successful high-level cover-up by police, politicians, elite families and the courts, with the criminal never having been identified. This fascinating resource tells a great deal about life in Canada in the 1920s. It focuses on the social history of high-society life in Vancouver illustrating the racism, prejudices and corruption that prevailed during this period. Includes Chapter Notes.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.

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