Canadians are very polite — but they also commit murder. And those who think that mass homicides and wanton killings are recent phenomena in Canada should treat themselves to Fatal Intentions. Using contemporary accounts, Barbara Smith vividly recreates a number of murder cases from 1920s Nova Scotia to 1980s British Columbia.
Some, like the Boyd Gang adventures, are still remembered often inaccurately or romantically; others, like the murder of Flora Gray in Yarmouth, or the murder of twenty-three innocents in Quebec in 1949, can now be recalled by only a few. In some cases, the “truth” may exist only in dusty archives; in others, the truth may have gone to the graves of the victims — or the accused.
Robert Cook’s killing spree — all seven in his family — in Stettler, Alberta, will probably be recounted, locally, for generations. But, did he do it?
Toronto’s Boyd Gang boasted about hot cars and beautiful women — the stuff of folklore. And newspaper writers of that time were only too willing to add to the romantic tales.
The last woman to be hanged in Canada, her disabled brother, and his employer all went to the gallows — two for greed, one for lust.
These and other stories are part of our history — and often part of our folklore. They also can remind us that human nature doesn’t change easily, over decades or distances. Greed, lust, and other deadly sins can lead to fatal intentions, anytime, anywhere.