Books·Canadian

Murder by Milkshake

In this true crime deep dive, Eve Lazarus investigates one of Vancouver's most high-profile murder cases that unfolded in the 1960s.

Eve Lazarus

When 40-year-old Esther Castellani died a slow and agonizing death in Vancouver in 1965, the official cause was at first undetermined. The day after Esther's funeral, her husband, Rene, packed up his girlfriend, Lolly; his daughter, Jeannine; and Lolly's son, Don, in the company car and took off for Disneyland. If not for the doggedness of the doctor who treated Esther, Rene, then a charismatic and handsome CKNW radio personality, would have been free to marry Lolly, who was the station's pretty twentysomething receptionist. Instead, Rene was charged with capital murder for poisoning his wife with arsenic-laced milkshakes in one of British Columbia's most sensational criminal cases of the century.

Murder by Milkshake is the compelling story of the Castellanis, and of their daughter, Jeannine, who was 11 at the time of her mother's murder and who clung to her father's innocence, even committing perjury during his trial. Rigorously researched, and based on dozens of interviews with family, friends and co-workers, Murder by Milkshake documents the sensational case that kept Vancouver spellbound, while providing a snapshot of the city's Mad Men-esque social and political realities in the 1960s. (From Arsenal Pulp Press)

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