See No Evil: The Strange Case of Christine Lamont and David Spencer


212 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-433-39619-9
DDC 364.1'54'0922





Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University, the
author of

Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable Kingdom, and the
co-author of The Border at Sault Ste. Marie.


Toronto Star reporter Caroline Mallan has joined The Globe and Mail’s
Isabel Vincent in writing a book about Christine Lamont and David
Spencer, the two Canadians imprisoned in Brazil for kidnapping a wealthy
Brazilian executive. They agree on their facts and opinions: the
circumstances of the Canadians’ arrest; the unconditional support
provided by Lamont’s parents; Christine Lamont’s indifferent track
record as a student; the defendants’ travels throughout Latin America
on phony passports; and their successful public relations campaign in
Canada. Both writers agree that Brazilians resent Canadian prejudice
against their judicial system and that Lamont and Spencer are serving
time in relative comfort. Most important, they agree that the two are
guilty as charged and convicted, and that ideology cannot justify a
heinous crime.

Many of the same personalities—from Professor Ronald Newton of Simon
Fraser University to Sгo Paulo’s Cardinal Arns—crop up in both
books. The cover of Wrong Place, Wrong Time? claims that Mallan “was
the only Canadian to examine the complete set of documents revealed in
the Managua explosion [of 1973]”; in fact, Vincent has an extensive
knowledge of their contents. Both writers agree that the evidence
irrefutably links Lamont and Spencer to international terrorists.

There are differences. Whereas Vincent discusses the Brazilian context
in considerable detail, Mallan focuses on events in Canada, including
efforts by people within the United Church of Canada to win the
Canadians’ release, and the role played by prominent Canadian
politicians such as Joe Clark.

It is rare for The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail to agree on
anything; when they do, the consensus has to be taken seriously.


Vincent, Isabel., “See No Evil: The Strange Case of Christine Lamont and David Spencer,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,