Monday, March 29, 2021

History of murder

Mark Reynolds draws our attention to the Canadian murder story in a book by American writer Bill James, best known as the baseball statistician and inventor of "sabermetrics." James speculates that among the possible victims of the early 20th century serial killer who is the subject of his book was a family of four killed in February 1906 in the coal-mining community of Old Bridgeport, Cape Breton Island.

 James notes lots of gory similarities, but is not entirely convinced of the identification, since his killer, Paul Mueller, did not like cold weather (!) and because Nova Scotia was a long way away (Very American ideas about Canada, no?) The case was never solved, but the victims were bludgeoned with an axe while sleeping and then had their home burned down around them -- which was pretty much the standard Mueller method.

The CBC story on the unsolved murder also points out that the Nova Scotian detective and future Halifax police chief who unsuccessfully investigated the case has his own biography. but not an admiring one. Nova Scotia writer Bob Gordon makes the case that Nic Power would charge anyone with anything so long as it got good press coverage. His book, with the telling title The Bad Detective: The True Story of a Victorian Sleuth, will be available in May.  

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