Unlucky to the End : The Story of Janise Marie Gamble.


272 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 978-0-7735-3300-4
DDC 364.3092




Julie Rekai Rickerd is a Toronto broadcaster and public relations


It is remarkable how this book’s author ever found the time to write it. Richard W. Pound, a senior partner at the prestigious law firm of Stikeman Elliott in Montreal, is also Dick Pound, a former Olympic swimmer, Canadian Olympic Committee member, COC president, chancellor of McGill University, on Time magazine’s list of 100 people who shape our lives, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, etc.


Surprisingly, this work is not his first but it is certainly one of his best. It tells the tragic tale of Janise Marie Gamble from Ontario, who got mixed up with and married an unstable and dangerous former criminal, John Gamble, and moved with him to British Columbia.


Gamble continued his criminal activities in the West and mercilessly abused his adoring wife. Tragedy struck when Gamble, Janise, Gamble’s prison friend Bill Nichols and his girlfriend, Tracie Perry, became embroiled in a crime spree in Calgary. As far as the women knew, they were on their way to Toronto to start a new life.


The first section of the book outlines in great detail the backgrounds of the main characters and their eventual unravelling, which culminated in the fatal shooting of a Calgary police officer and a two-day hostage taking. Pound’s use of authentic recordings of the negotiations among the police, the captors, the media, and the hostages creates a narrative as gripping as that of an exciting mystery; a real page-turner.


The second half of the book deals with a meticulous recounting of the first-degree murder charges laid against Janise Gamble and Bill Nichols in a Calgary court, their trial, convictions, sentences of life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 25 years, and the innumerable appeals launched to overturn Janise Gamble’s unjustifiable sentence. This section is as riveting as the first. Pound makes this part of the book, which deals with the attempts of a number of lawyers to correct an obvious miscarriage of justice, exciting to laypeople and professional attorneys alike. It is an astute and detailed study of how prosecutors, judges, government lawyers, and ministers can be misled when dealing with alleged killers in general and killers of a policeman in particular. It also describes the relentless efforts by a pair of lawyers to appeal this injustice to the Supreme Court of Canada, basing their appeal on the Canadian Charter of Rights. It is a stimulating and extremely well written expose of how easily justice can be denied and how complicated and frustrating it can be to rectify the dire consequences.


Pound, Richard W., “Unlucky to the End : The Story of Janise Marie Gamble.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 25, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28611.