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Barbara Amiel and George Jonas.

Toronto, Macmillan, c1977, 1983.
349pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-7715-9759-2.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Jean Keenan.

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.

By Persons Unknown concerns the murder of Christine Demeter, the beautiful wife of a wealthy Toronto contractor on July 18, 1973. One month later, the police arrested her husband on charges of conspiracy to have her murdered. His trial was the longest murder trial in Canadian history and raised some important questions about our legal system, and about our values and prejudices. As the trial progressed, through the maze of conflicting accounts, the possibility emerged that both husband and wife had been plotting one another's death.

Peter Demeter had insured his wife's life for a million dollars; he had a glamorous Austrian mistress who was anxious to marry him, and he had often discussed ways of getting rid of his wife. He was convicted of arranging her murder and is in the medium-security prison at Mill-haven. He is now allowed week-end passes to see his daughter.

When the book was first published, it was an instant best-seller. The authors took great pains to record in detail the investigation of the very complex case and the role of fate and coincidence. But they close the story in the middle of Peter Demeter's appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. It is doubtful after ten years that this edition will have the appeal for the public that the original had.

By Persons Unknown was written in 1977, by two well-known writers, George Jonas, who has written and directed many programs for CBC radio and television, and Barbara Amiel, a journalist who has worked for CBC, Macleans magazine and who is now editor of the Toronto Sun. The original edition was the winner of the Edgar Allan Poe award from the International Congress of Crime Writers.

Jean Keenan, Leaside H. S., Toronto, ON.
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