Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Crimes of passion horrify

  • Print
Crimes of Passion, An Unblinking Look At Murderous Lover, By Howard Engel (Key Porter Books, 239 pages, $33)
Reviewed by Brenlee Carrington

HOWARD Engel's latest book is a compilation of true, torrid tales -- a chilling analysis of international crimes of passion.

In scrutinizing some of history's most lurid murders, the award-winning Toronto mystery writer, best known for his Benny Cooperman series, will simultaneously horrify and intrigue readers.

Famed Canadian criminal defence lawyer Eddie Greenspan writes in the book's foreword: "All persons are potential murderers, needing only circumstances and a sufficiently overwhelming emotion that will triumph over the restraint that education and habit have built up to control the powerful surging instincts and feelings that sometimes overwhelm men and women."

Engel himself writes: "These crimes are direct responses to unbearable betrayal, broken hearts, destroyed characters, ruined lives and injured pride."

It's that very sudden, impulsive, overwhelming lack of control that differentiates a crime of passion from a premeditated killing. Engel observes: "Crimes of passion are offences not normally committed by criminals but by ordinary people, who are criminalized only by these acts. Both sexes and all classes and races commit these crimes."

A former CBC Radio producer, Engel has researched his subject matter thoroughly. The reader learns that "half of the women murdered in Britain are killed by their husbands or lovers." Several Canadian cases are also included.

Engel takes a fresh look at O.J. Simpson's domestic devastation and Lorena Bobbit's maiming of her then husband.

In each tragedy, Engel documents details and lends light to the motives.

Engel is clearly fascinated with the law and makes his case for the abolition, from Canada's Criminal Code, of the legal doctrine of sudden provocation. He feels that sudden provocation should not be regarded by the legal system as a mitigating circumstance because the dead victim cannot dispute the defendant's version of the facts.

Crimes of Passion is more disturbing than any fictional whodunit: the reader's senses are assaulted on page after page with painful and violent reminders of the shattered lives of real people.

Brenlee Carrington is a Winnipeg lawyer and journalist.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 27, 2002 $sourceSection$sourcePage

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets defencemen ready to face adversity

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you watch The Interview?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google