Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Crossbow - murder weapon of choice in Canada



In Louise Penny's terrific first novel, Still Life, a murder mystery set in the small of Three Pines in Quebec's Eastern Townships, the murder weapon is a crossbow.

I thought of that this week when a man was killed at a branch of the Toronto Public Library with a crossbow (well, with the "bolt" which is apparently what the thing that gets fired from a crossbow is called).

The crossbow seemed oddly at home in a murder mystery, but it seemed weird in a real murder.

And then newspapers in Canada started running stories with headlines like "Crossbow Incidents in Canada," and it turns out it's a fairly long list:

•In July, a Mission, B.C., father was charged with attacking his son who was shot in the forearm with a crossbow.

•In November 2007, a 26-year-old man was charged with murder and attempted murder after his mother was killed and father was injured by a crossbow in St-Cesaire, Que.

•In October 2002, a dairy farmer was shot in the back and injured with a crossbow in St.-Bonaventure.

•In August 1998, a man asleep in his Hamilton home was shot in the head and injured by a man who fired a crossbow.

•In 1998, Edward Stuart Walker shot a pregnant Stephanie Celestine Thomas with a crossbow, then stabbed her 46 times in Central Saanich on Vancouver Island.

•In September 1994, Yvon Gosselin was driven to a gravel pit near Terrace, B.C., where he was killed with two bolts from a crossbow.

•In May 1995, a man armed with a crossbow entered the Winnipeg Convention Centre shortly before then prime minister Jean Chretien arrived to deliver a speech. The suspect was arrested.

•In January 1993, B.C. Institute of Technology student Silvia Leung, 22, bled to death in the campus parking lot in Burnaby after being hit in the shoulder by a crossbow.

•In November 1991, Ottawa lawyer Patricia Allen was killed with a crossbow by her estranged husband Colin McGregor.

So here's my question, does anyone know of any other novels in which a crossbow is used?

8 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

For Your Eyes Only, Ian Fleming
M asks Bond to track down and eliminating the Havelocks’ killers. The assignment takes 007 to Vermont and Canada where he runs into Judy Havelock, who is there with her crossbow to avenge her parents’ death.
So I guess Canada is always the place for crossbows.

seana said...

That is one weird murder. I can't even think of a case in the U.S., though doubtless there have been some.

Canada really is another country, isn't it?

John McFetridge said...

Patti, I'd forgotten all about that and it's one of the few Ian Fleming's I've read (did it start as a short story)?

Yeah, Seana, another country. But I have to think somewhere in northern Michigan Ted Nugent is out there walking around with a crossbow.

seana said...

You're right. Being so near the border, the Canadian influence is probably too much for him to withstand.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Very interesting. I have often thought that killing someone that way(fictionally of course) would be a great way to do it, if you could pull it off and get away with it. Good to see "Let it Ride" is available for nook. Going to download it on mine tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it!

Staxman said...

Some time in the 1990's, IIRC, someone in Miami was shooting at people with a crossbow. I don't remember how it ended, but I think I'd remember if he'd scored any hits before he was taken into custody.

I'd heard the expression "he's shot his bolt," meaning that the person in question had done all he could, said all he had to say, etc. On learning that a bolt is the projectile fired by a crossbow, I assumed that this is what the expression refers to.

Staxman said...

Some time in the 1990's, IIRC, someone in Miami was shooting at people with a crossbow. I don't remember how it ended, but I think I'd remember if he'd scored any hits before he was taken into custody.

I'd heard the expression "he's shot his bolt," meaning that the person in question had done all he could, said all he had to say, etc. On learning that a bolt is the projectile fired by a crossbow, I assumed that this is what the expression refers to.

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