The Connecticut River Valley Murders, Part One

May 20, 2010

Tags: Crime

This is one of New England's biggest unsolved mysteries. Between 1981 and 1986, six young women were murdered in the vicinity of Route 91, the area straddling the Vermont-New Hampshire border. The first victim was Mary Elizabeth Critchley. The second was Bernice Courtemanche. The third was Ellen Fried. The fourth was Eva Morse. The fifth was Lynda Moore. The sixth was Barbara Agnew. A seventh woman, Jane Boroski, survived an attack on her that was said to be similar in method to that suffered by Bernice Courtemanche, Ellen Fried, Eva Morse, Lynda Moore (the sole victim on the Vermont side of the river), and Barbara Agnew. How Mary Elizabeth Critchley met her death is undetermined.

There has always been speculation that these were serial killings, based on the fact that two of the victims were nurses and one a nurse's aide, on the fact that five had been killed in a similar fashion, and on the fact that all of them were young.(Courtemanche, the youngest, was seventeen, and Agnew, the eldest, was thirty-eight.) Additionally, the bodies of four of the victims were found in woodland in the Claremont, New Hampshire region, which is, if you're familiar with that turf, a very small area indeed.

That information is suggestive. But it doesn't, to my mind, prove that all six women, plus the one who survived, were the victims of a serial killer.

Selected Works

“This book is, quite simply, remarkable journalism and remarkable writing.”
--Robert B. Parker
"Taut with suspense...crackles like a bestselling novel." -- Barry Reed, author of The Verdict
"Susan Kelly's maiden mystery is fresh and free-spirited with lively characters, snappy dialogue...and a suspenseful plot." -- Washington Post
“Spinetingling... noteworthy... brings the horror of being a victim into sharp focus.”
--Publishers Weekly
“Thought-provoking... a gritty, bittersweet story with added depth and dimension.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A page-turner with action and suspense." -- SSC Booknews
"A winner for fans of literate, witty mysteries." -- Tony Hillerman
"The Summertime Soldiers has love, sex, and murder and most of all, a heart." -- Boston Herald