31 August 2016

Michael Arntfield: Murder City

Image result for murder cityMeghan and I saw a psychology presentation on this book when we were both still studying at Western and I knew I would want to read it because I love true crime and it's all about my own city London, Ontario. It was a very slow read for me because I quickly learned that I couldn't read it alone, at night, or in my own apartment (fairly difficult when you live on your own with a day job).

Michael Arntfield is the friend of the son of the primary detective on the murder cases throughout the described period of time. The crime spans across the 60's-90's which isn't that long ago, and breaks things down case by case. I really like this type of reading but I could see for many how it could be monotonous.

The first few chapters are fairly boring as Arntfield provides historical and geographical context. He also provides a thorough overview of different types of crimes, killers, terminology, etc. and while this is boring, it is helpful in the sense that he doesn't have to constantly explain himself throughout the rest of the book.

This is definitely not an easy read unless you're a sociopath. One of the murderers' MOs in the book was to stab women in their basement apartments- as a woman in a basement apartment, this was difficult to read and then just go about my day or go to sleep. You will learn some insane statistics about the crime in London, Ontario. For example, London is the serial killer capital of Canada, with the highest amount of serial killers per capita during one time period. Can you BELIEVE that? It's insane. My little, safe Forest City. To put things in perspective, New York City and Los Angeles are known for having high amounts of serial killers, ranging from 8-13 at one time. If you were to balance the populations in London at said time period, our number would have been 80. EIGHTY. A personal problem I have is that when I learn something cool (or that I think is cool) I need to immediately tell everyone I can find. There isn't a single person I know who doesn't already know that serial killer statistic, because I've already told it to them.

This book would be a great read for anyone interested in Canadian history, law enforcement, or criminal law. Not only do you learn about why London's unique geography contributed to the crime rate but you also learn a lot about the evolution of the Canadian police and judicial systems.

As an added bonus, here is a picture of Meg and I with the poster at said psychology conference:
We were immediately interested in the tagline: "London, Ontario was for many years an unrivalled breeding ground of depravity and villainy. The difference being that it's monsters were all too real." All we need is a solid tagline, we're easy like that.

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