Disappearances: True Accounts of Canadians Who Have Vanished


204 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-385-17711-9





Reviewed by Alexander Craig

Alexander Craig is a freelance journalist in Lennoxville, Quebec.


Interested in gore and mystery? Canadian gore and mystery? If so, Derrick Murdoch’s book should go some way toward satisfying your grisly appetite. (And, of course, if you’re one of those ethereal beings uninterested in the horrors and terrors of chance and unhappy relationships, you could give it as a present to any of the far too many people you believe follow such matters with rapt attention.)

Every day in Canada an average of more than 240 people, of whom about 170 are young people and children, are reported as missing. Thanks to intensive, laborious (and generally unappreciated) work by police forces, the overall recovery rate is 97.2%. Yet one year after disappearance over 2,500 people (divided almost equally between adults and juveniles) are still unaccounted for.

The author provides a brisk, informative introduction to his topic, and then gives us great detail on 13 mysterious cases. He takes us behind the scenes, into the fascinating police work, regular and undercover. He shows us what goes on in the strange, diseased, peculiar minds of some of the people responsible for some of Canada’s most hideous and macabre crimes.

Mr. Murdoch has been the regular crime literature reviewer for The Globe and Mail since 1964. Most of his cases are set in Ontario if not actually in Toronto, but we know from harrowing daily accounts that of the seven or so people who disappear forever each day in Canada not all of them do so in the country’s largest province. So these fact-not-fiction horror stories of life and death will be of interest to anyone concerned with riddles and mystery. They’re grippingly told. This is an intensely readable book — crime’s like that.


Murdoch, Derrick, “Disappearances: True Accounts of Canadians Who Have Vanished,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/37709.