SASKATOON — An independent publisher plans to have a book written by convicted ex-wife killer Colin Thatcher on store shelves this fall.
The 440-page, true-crime memoir is titled “Final Appeal: Anatomy of a Frame.”
Jack David, publisher of ECW Press in Toronto, said he was initially skeptical of Thatcher’s continued claim of innocence. Then he read the manuscript.
“If people actually read the book, I think some people will be convinced, like I was, that there’s reasonable doubt there,” David said Wednesday.
“In some ways, it’s a mystery. As various clues come along, it unfolds. We don’t ultimately find out who did it, according to him. We just find out why he didn’t do it.”
In 1984, a jury found Thatcher guilty of first-degree murder. His former wife, JoAnn Wilson, had been bludgeoned and shot to death in the garage of her Regina home a year earlier.
Thatcher, a one-time cabinet minister and son of a former Saskatchewan premier, spent 22 years behind bars. He was granted early parole in 2006.
David said the book contains evidence uncovered by Thatcher’s private investigator that includes telephone and credit-card receipts that put some witness testimony into dispute. The evidence was rejected by an appeal court and was never presented to a jury, said David.
The book also includes a copy of the entire transcript of a police-taped conversation between Thatcher and a man who claimed Thatcher offered him $50,000 to kill Wilson. David said the book allows readers to judge the conversation themselves.
Besides re-addressing the court case, Thatcher describes his difficult experience behind bars.
“This was a guy who was wealthy, a minister of the provincial government who gets put in the slammer,” said David. “That’s not an easy transition.”
Thatcher, now 70, lives on the family ranch near Moose Jaw, Sask.
Wilson’s younger sister, Nancy Geiger, said she’s not surprised the book is coming out because Thatcher has always denied his guilt.
“Whether it gets classified in the fiction aisles or the non-fiction aisles depends on how people choose to place it and what they think of what he says,” Geiger said from her home in Iowa.
She said the people most at risk of being hurt by the book are her parents, and they are now dead.
Geiger believes Thatcher’s big ego and need for publicity is behind the book.
“He’s gone from being a really big person in Canadian politics to someone that is sometimes the punchline.”