by Carolyn Ciccoritti
Crimes against women: manipulation, abuse, murder. Tell Anna She’s Safe, a novel by Brenda Missen, weaves fiction out of true crime.
In 1995, Ottawa journalist Louise Ellis went missing. A friend came upon her abandoned car and began what would be a three month search to find her. All that remained were bones from the body that had been dumped in a field in Wakefield, Quebec. Brett Morgan, the convict with whom she’d fallen in love, was charged with her murder. Ellis had worked to secure Morgan an early release from prison and the two were living together at the time of her disappearance.
Author Missen was the friend who discovered Ellis’s empty vehicle. She deftly recounts the story of the disappearance, discovery, and murder trial through twin narratives: her own and the missing woman’s. (The names of the characters have been changed, but the staggering truth of the story remains.) Through both voices we are able to see beyond what would be deemed a typical good woman conned by bad man headline, and into the personal struggles that can occur in any woman’s mind. The tale is at once personal and frightening; the horror of the actual events sharpened by our proximity to it.
Tell Anna She’s Safe is a gripping tale. Read’s Book Shop in Carleton Place will host a book signing and reading by Ms. Missen on Thursday, July 28th, from 6:30 -8:30.