Sam Quixote's Reviews > Lovers' Lane: the Hall-Mills Mystery

Lovers' Lane by Rick Geary
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Feb 15, 13

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

On the night of September 14, 1922, Reverend Edward Hall and Mrs Eleanor Mills were walking in a part of New Brunswick town park nicknamed “Lovers’ Lane” for its popularity as a discreet spot. 4 gunshots were heard and a few days later their dead bodies were found lying side by side, lovers’ letters from between the two scattered at their feet. Hall and Mills were having an affair and as Rick Geary exhumes this long-forgotten case from the past, he deftly describes the complex circumstances surrounding the double murder and the possible suspects in this unsolved crime.

It seems that one of the jilted parties – either Reverend Hall’s wife and her brothers or Mrs Mills’ husband – were the murderers. Mrs Mills was a soprano in the choir of Reverend Hall’s church and the pages of her favourite hymn were torn from every book in the church. Further, her body was mutilated with her tongue, larynx and wind pipes removed – all the organs needed to sing. The love letters written by the two also indicate the murderer knew about their affair.

But as Geary describes the case, there’s little evidence to convict the likely Reverend’s wife and her mentally challenged brother of the murders as the crime scene was ransacked by tourists looking for souvenirs of the murders. There were also a string of unreliable witnesses as primary sources for the prosecution.

Despite this not being as famous a case of 20th century murder that Geary could’ve picked, he takes this old cold case and rejuvenates it with a lively re-telling which combines erudite research and an eye for a good story, drawn in Geary’s signature black and white style (Geary’s drawing of a bloody-minded madman is particularly haunting). It’s both a fascinating and a terrifying case of injustice and the dark side of human emotion, an illustration of the path jealousy and thwarted love can lead to. This is the hellish side to small town life and “Lovers’ Lane” is a superb read from a master comics artist.
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