Off the Shelf
True Crime Stories from a Canadian Columnist
October 6, 2023 By Julie Craddock
By Stephen G. Metelsky
Many of the stories in Stephen Metelsky’s True Crime Stories from a Canadian Columnist brought me back to my time as a police officer with the Halton Regional Police Service. Writing of investigations that I had been aware of but not personally involved in, Metelsky is to be commended for his ability to humanize the impacts of these true crime stories. Impacts that go beyond the victims and their families, but also the harm they have on the wellbeing of communities and of police investigators.
I have always believed that there is power in storytelling. It can be healing for both the person who shares and the person who listens. Revisiting cases, some of which gripped the entire country, Metelsky shares the stories of those who no longer have a voice. This book is a fascinating mix of mob hits, unsolved missing person files and police interactions that ended in lethal use of force encounters. These are stories that linger with the reader, long after the last page is turned.
One story of particular interest to me was “From Scotland to Sarnia: The Unsolved Murder of Morag Davies.” As the new Deputy Chief of the Sarnia Police Service, I was briefed on this case upon my arrival. Speaking of this violent crime, the niece of the victim told Metelsky, “A violent crime like this changes the way you view the world.” This statement is profound, in part because of its simplicity. This unsolved homicide remains deeply rooted in the very fabric of this community, and within the Sarnia Police Service. It is a reminder that as a society we always want to make sense of the unthinkable.
For fans of the true crime genre, this collection of stories from across the country provide a fascinating read. Some of the stories end with convictions for some of Canada’s most violent criminals; they provide a sense of relief and closure.
Others remain unsolved cases, waiting for justice to be served. In writing these stories, Metelsky has reminded us that is our moral obligation to continue to seek out the truth.
As a police leader, these stories will stay with me and will guide my own discussions when delivering policing services to my community.
As a final note, the enclosed comments are mine alone and do not necessarily represent those of my current employer.
– Deputy Chief Julie Craddock, Sarnia Police Service
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