A Canadian Tragedy: JoAnn and Colin Thatcher, A Story of Love and Hate
Diane Forrest was a Toronto freelance writer.
As a reporter for the CBC at the Colin Thatcher trial, Maggie Siggins has an encyclopedic knowledge of the ill-fated relationship between Colin Thatcher and the ex-wife he has been convicted of murdering, Regina decorator JoAnn Wilson. Siggins’ book is carefully researched and objective, and this is both its strength and its weakness.
Siggins’ research is thorough; she seems reluctant to leave out any carefully uncovered fact. Once the lead up to the murder begins, that detail gives an air of intense realism to the story. But it slows the pace of the first third of the book. Do we really need to know what gifts Peggy Thatcher, Colin’s mother, received at her bridal shower?
Siggins does the readers the courtesy of letting them make up their own minds about the guilt of Thatcher and the characters of those involved. Still, a little personal opinion would sometimes help. How could the apparently despicable Thatcher persuade so many people to lie for him? The secret of his charm remains a mystery.
Nevertheless, despite the tedium of the opening chapters, on balance A Canadian Tragedy is a precise and fascinating picture of the Thatcher marriage and its tragic aftermath.