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Murder in the Family

How the Search for My Mother's Killer Led to My Father
Written by: Jeff Blackstock
Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (13 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Diplomat father. Murdered mother. Emotionally neglected children. An apparent cover-up. Family dinners will never be the same.

"I think that my father murdered my mother." 

That terrible belief spurs author Jeff Blackstock to investigate the circumstances of his mother Carol's death when he was a child. Carol Blackstock died at age 24 in 1959 - poisoned by arsenic - but the cause of her death remained shrouded in mystery for decades. Jeff's father George Blackstock was a career diplomat in Canada's foreign service, posted to glamorous Buenos Aires with his wife Carol and their three children. A little more than a year after the family's arrival, the vivacious young mother, now emaciated and in terrible pain, was transferred to Montreal for treatment of a mysterious illness that proved fatal. In the following year, George Blackstock remarried, and a young woman named Ingrid became the feared stepmother to Jeff and his two siblings. 

Carol's parents soon had suspicions about their son-in-law George but were unable to get justice for their daughter. Class privilege - George was the scion of a Toronto establishment family and Carol was from modest beginnings - and an aversion to scandal all figured in an apparent cover-up. But secrets have a way of eventually disrupting all families. A damning autopsy report about arsenic poisoning, found among their grandmother's effects, leads Jeff Blackstock and his sister to horrifying revelations about their father. Eventually, they confront him and accuse him of their mother's murder. But George offers only vague explanations that don't add up. George died a broken man, mostly abandoned by his adult children.

A compelling story of a high-society murder, a heartbreaking tale of emotionally neglected children, and an inquiry into the power and privilege of the Anglo upper classes of the time, Murder in the Family chronicles the shocking legacy of deeply buried secrets and betrayal in one's own family.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Jeff Blackstock (P)2020 Penguin Random House Canada

What the critics say

Murder in the Family hit all the high notes: a dogged investigation, a true murder mystery, and a sense of time and place that only someone who lived it - Jeff Blackstock - could achieve. A page-turner that keeps you guessing to the very end.” (Kevin Donovan, author of The Billionaire Murders)

“This fascinating book provides captivating insight into family dysfunction in the aftermath of a mysterious death, likely a murder. It answers that oft-posed question, ‘What were they thinking?’ with a compelling portrait of family members in denial - until they weren’t.” (Ann Brocklehurst, author of Dark Ambition: The Shocking Crime of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich

"I don’t know which shocked me most in Jeff Blackstock’s account of his mother’s mysterious death: the cold blooded actions of his father, or the deafening silence of the Canadian diplomatic service. He writes in a measured tone without anger or blame, which makes the story all the more chilling.” (Carol Hay, writer/producer Frankie Drake, Murdoch Mysteries)  

What listeners say about Murder in the Family

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Convenient Collusion the tale of a perfect murder.

A families stuggle to expose the murder of their beloved mother. The Father who committed it and the government who helped him get away with it. Tragic and eye opening.

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Very Intriguing Story

I could not stop listening to this book. It was heartbreaking and unbelievable that this murderer was never punished. Also made me feel ashamed of our Canadian Government and RCMP of the time. Loved it.

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A beautifully written crime story.

This very personal tale reminded me of Angela's Ashes where it starts as a young child's perspective of his family life. We experience him and his siblings shaped by a father who is a narcissistic sociopath and murderer of their dear mother. They eventually thrive in adulthood while the father is exiled and pays for his evil. Well done.

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  • Judy
  • 2020-09-25

Painful Story

This is an excellent telling of a very sad story. The plot is laid out in the title of the book so the tension revolves almost entirely around the author's painstaking examination of events surrounding Carol Blackstock's prolonged suffering and ultimate death, George Blackstock's motives in murdering his popular young wife, and in the children's resolution of the sordid mystery many years after her rushed burial. Perhaps the most outrageous aspect of the entire case is the participation of the Canadian diplomatic service in what was almost surely the cover-up of a potentially messy spectacle; that they had help from the attending physicians at the Montreal Neurological Institute, the coroner, the local police service and the RCMP is an unavoidable conclusion. Roger Honeywell's narration is excellent and is perfectly suited to the telling of this nasty tale of betrayal and murder. His Spanish pronunciation is spot on.