Scottish ‘nightingale’ still haunts Vancouver

By Janet Nicol

An unsolved crime haunts the prestigious Shaughnessy neighbourhood in Vancouver’s west side. Was there a cover-up? Pay-offs? So many unanswered questions linger today. I re-visit the Janet Smith case, a story exposing the many social divides in early Vancouver, in the cover story of the winter 2010 issue of BC History (43.4). Link is –

Click to access 43.3cover.pdf

Also visit Eve Lazarus’ blog ( for my brief commentary about writing this story. A freelance writer, Lazarus is author of “At Home with History: The Secrets of Greater Vancouver’s Heritage Houses.”

Ten books on Vancouver have been chosen for re-publication in celebration of the city’s 125th birthday. Included is Ed Starkins’ definitive account of this true crime, “Who
Killed Janet Smith?” For more information about the legacy book project visit


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