Soviet Princeton & Cold Case Vancouver

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Soviet Princeton: Slim Evans and the 1932-33 Miners’ Strike, by
Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat, New Star Books, Vancouver, 2015

Reviewed by Janet Nicol

Authors Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat were inspired to write this local history after discovering an old photograph and two songs about a Princeton-based coal mining strike in 1932-33. The couple, both folk singers and former teachers residing in Princeton, decided to explore further. They realized the depression-era labour dispute still stirred up emotions among town residents with long-time family roots. And so the couple avoided gathering oral histories, confining their research to public documents. “We suspect that there will be memories which will be dislodged when reading this book,” the authors explain in the preface,”and perhaps these memories will not be pleasant ones.”
The trade union strike that divided a town revolves as much around Vancouver-based labour activist Arthur “Slim” Evans as the people of Princeton.

For the full book review, check out BC History magazine, Spring 2016.

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Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s most Baffling Unsolved Murders, Eve Lazarus Arsenal Pulp Press, Vancouver, 2015

Reviewed by Janet Nicol

Eve Lazarus, author of four books on Vancouver and Victoria’s past, was initially interested in the history of homes. Now this North Vancouver freelancer employs her accumulated research skills to examine unsolved murders. The result is her most compelling book to date.

“Cold Case Vancouver” provides 19 true crimes still baffling the police today, beginning with a case in 1944. Her final story, much to the readers’ relief, is a solved crime. Most victims are female and most perpetrators are assumed to be male. Every aspect of the cold cases are chilling, from the details about how the evil deed occurred to the fact the perpetrator got away with murder. Also woven in to the crime descriptions are the reactions of the victim’s family, police, media and members of the public. Cases unfolding over the decades up to the 1990s, give the reader a window into Vancouver residents’ attitudes and lifestyles. The author seamlessly moves from describing the past to providing contemporary perceptions of the crime by including interviews with experts.

For the full review, check out BC History magazine, Spring, 2016.

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