Book Talk: In the Dock: Victims of Social Injury by Pierre Marion
Socially enlightening. Page after page of truthful voice. Moving.
— Sophie Worley,The BookWalker
Possibly abducted. The words did not make sense to author Pierre Marion. A couple of days earlier, his mother, Denise, called from Mon Repos, the family country house in Sherbrooke, Quebec, to inquire if Pierre knew where his father was. Apparently, his father, Charles Marion, did not come home overnight. Pierre was concerned but tried to reassure his mother that Charles probably slept off his beer after an improvised party with friends. The author writes about his guilt: “When there is no reason to suspect an unfortunate event, and you are getting anxious while waiting, you first reassure yourself with more or less plausible explanations. Of course, in hindsight, you regret not having been more worried from the start.”
Such were the thoughts of Pierre when he heard about the tragedy that beautiful day in August 1977. Life was never the same again, especially for Charles.
Charles Marion worked as a mortgage manager at the Sherbrooke-East Credit Union. He was a victim of an abduction that happened right at their own property. While showing off his new pond and cabin to a coworker, two men, their head covered with nylon and each holding a handgun, accosted Charles and his friend. Nylon ropes were used to tie their wrists and ankles, and Charles was dragged to his own minivan while the friend was left alone in the cabin.
A visibly shaking, Denise called the authorities after discovering the coworker in the cabin. The Quebec Provincial Police and the Emergency Response Unit arrived at Mon Repos, and for a while, the family thought they were the means to an end, but they were sorely mistaken.
When the abductors demanded a hundred million dollars as ransom, the authorities looked at the family as prime suspects. One million dollars was a tremendous amount of money in 1977. Everyone wondered why a mere mortgage manager was abducted and not a broad member or someone high up in the corporate ladder at Sherbrooke-East Credit Union. The family were questioned and unnecessarily pressured to push them to a corner and confess to a crime they did not commit. What the family thought would be a quick nightmare once Charles returned home, unharmed dragged on and on. They had to bear the constant frustration of not knowing what to do or who to turn to. At best, the authorities were uncommunicative, continually leaving the family in the dark.
Later on, the family realized the authorities called some significant shots that immensely slowed down their ordeal, but the media did not know these. Neither did the people who unfairly judged the family. The family absorbs all the unwanted media speculation, the mounting frustration from missing Charles, and even the curious looks and murmurs of strangers. The authorities stood by, watching.
When Charles finally made it home, he was a changed man. He acquired bipolar tendencies and a grave case of depression that bordered on being suicidal. He was twice the victim—the victim of an abduction and of a social injury.
In the Dock: Victims of Social Injury is an intense and socially enlightening account of real-life horrors that hardly make it to the news at six. It is an excellent reminder that we should cling to our humanity rather than to our speculations. A compelling read of public importance.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" Socially enlightening. Page after page of truthful voice. Moving. "
—Sophie Worley,The BookWalker
Review by Dianne Mueller
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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From the author:
The author, Pierre Marion, has made a career in international development, which has included engagements in the Eastern Caribbean, West Africa, and in Central America, where he remains.
Pierre wanted to record the events and the communications, so he began to record these 35 years ago. As time passed, he felt a need to honor the victims who had to live through an unnecessary, emotionally torturous time period, and this story is the result.
It is late summer in 1977 in the Québec Province of Canada when a credit manager of a notable banking institution in Sherbrooke is kidnapped. In its day, a $1 million ransom was an unheard-of amount of wealth, and the abduction received international coverage. At the same time, a prevalent criminal profiling theory believed families or someone close to the family is nearly always involved in abductions and ransom demands. How did the family walk a tightrope of cooperation with investigators and protect themselves from having misconstrued events and comments become arguments for what might later land them on the bench of the accused? And who was feeding information about the investigation to the media, and why?
This just unleashed waves of public negativity and other unintended consequences. And how could a chance beer at a local pub break the case wide open nearly eleven months after the abduction? Did it end the ordeal, or what then would follow, and for how long? It is with this in mind that Pierre Marion, the hostage's son, had to tell the real story, as best he could. The names of most characters where changed so their identities would be protected.