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Murder in Canaryville: The True Story Behind a Cold Case and a Chicago Cover-Up

av Jeff Coen

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2111,074,560 (4.5)Ingen/inga
True Crime. Nonfiction. HTML:

The grandson and great-grandson of Chicago police officers, Chicago Police Detective James Sherlock was CPD through-and-through. His career had seen its share of twists and turns, from his time working undercover to thwart robberies on Chicago's L trains, to his side gig working security at The Jerry Springer Show, to his years as a homicide detective. He thought he had seen it all. But on this day, he was at the records center to see the case file for the murder of John Hughes, who was seventeen years old when he was gunned down in a park on Chicago's Southwest Side on May 15, 1976. The case had haunted many in the department for years and its threads led everywhere: Police corruption. Hints of the influence of the Chicago Outfit. A crooked judge. Even the belief that the cover-up extended to “hizzoner” himselflegendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. Sherlock, expecting to retire within a year, had a dream assignment: working cold cases for the Chicago office of the FBI. And with time for one more big investigation, he had chosen this stubborn case. More than forty years after the Hughes killing, he was hopeful he could finally put the case to rest. Then the records clerk handed Sherlock a thin manila folder. A murder that had roiled the city and had been investigated for years had been reduced to a few reports and photographs. What should have been a massive file with notes and transcripts from dozens of interviews was nowhere to be found. Sherlock could have left the records center without the folder and cruised into retirement, and no one would have noticed. Instead, he tucked the envelope under his arm and carried it outside.

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This book details a Chicago detective's last case in 2018-19--a long cold one from 1976. The murder of John Hughes is a relatively simple case that would have been solved the night it occurred (or within a week) had the CPD not been hampered by the internal rot and corruption of Chicago politics under the Daley regime--or, as the author rather convincingly puts it, just about any other from Daley the father, to the son, to Emanuel, et al. Aside from internal PD rot, corruption at city hall, this tale is also enmeshed in Chicago's notorious mob, The Outfit.

The book has two main issues, one the author's fault, the other not. The first, and not the author's issue, is that there is nothing satisfying about the conclusion of the investigation for the reader, or the detective. The case was simply too well obstructed, too many of the main players are already dead, and the few that are still around are still tight-lipped despite the fact that there seems very little chance of bringing any charges against anyone. So the book ends with the status quo ante.

The second issue is repetitiveness. This book probably could have been an extended pamphlet rather than a book. This is evidenced by a very long chapter that veers far from the Hughes murder and cover-up to detail a host of other tangentially related CPD and Mayor du jour scandals. Perhaps the project should have been several of these stories instead of just one--it is unlikely that the people who obstructed justice so glibly in this story only did it this one time (as a subsidiary, and related, murder story within suggests).

A quick read that should have been even quicker. ( )
  JohnLocke84 | Sep 20, 2023 |
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True Crime. Nonfiction. HTML:

The grandson and great-grandson of Chicago police officers, Chicago Police Detective James Sherlock was CPD through-and-through. His career had seen its share of twists and turns, from his time working undercover to thwart robberies on Chicago's L trains, to his side gig working security at The Jerry Springer Show, to his years as a homicide detective. He thought he had seen it all. But on this day, he was at the records center to see the case file for the murder of John Hughes, who was seventeen years old when he was gunned down in a park on Chicago's Southwest Side on May 15, 1976. The case had haunted many in the department for years and its threads led everywhere: Police corruption. Hints of the influence of the Chicago Outfit. A crooked judge. Even the belief that the cover-up extended to “hizzoner” himselflegendary Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. Sherlock, expecting to retire within a year, had a dream assignment: working cold cases for the Chicago office of the FBI. And with time for one more big investigation, he had chosen this stubborn case. More than forty years after the Hughes killing, he was hopeful he could finally put the case to rest. Then the records clerk handed Sherlock a thin manila folder. A murder that had roiled the city and had been investigated for years had been reduced to a few reports and photographs. What should have been a massive file with notes and transcripts from dozens of interviews was nowhere to be found. Sherlock could have left the records center without the folder and cruised into retirement, and no one would have noticed. Instead, he tucked the envelope under his arm and carried it outside.

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