Transcript: Charlotte Gray: A Millionaire's Murder Mystery | Dec 02, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and spotted brown tie.

A caption on screen reads "A millionaire's murder mystery. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says SIR HARRY OAKES STRUCK
OUT LOOKING FOR GOLD ALL OVER
THE WORLD UNTIL HE STRUCK IT
RICH IN THE KIRKLAND LAKE AREA
OF NORTHERN ONTARIO.
A MILLIONAIRE BY THE ROARING
1920s, HE LIVED A LAVISH LIFE
UNTIL HIS SHOCKING MURDER IN THE
CARIBBEAN.
IT TURNED INTO A REAL UNSOLVED
WHODUNIT, THAT'S REMAINED IN THE
PUBLIC'S MIND EVER SINCE.
HISTORIAN CHARLOTTE GRAY'S NEW
BOOK FOLLOWS THE TRAIL.
IT'S CALLED: "MURDERED MIDAS: A
MILLIONAIRE, HIS GOLD MINE, AND
A STRANGE DEATH ON AN ISLAND
PARADISE."
AND CHARLOTTE GRAY JOINS US
NOW FOR MORE.

Charlotte is in her sixties, with short, graying blond hair and bangs She's wearing a hot pink and black sweater.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover is black, with the title in gold yellow and a picture of a great mansion.

Steve continues SO GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK IN THAT CHAIR.

Charlotte says IT'S GREAT
TO BE HERE, STEVE.

Steve says I CONFESS OFF THE
TOP.
I'M PROBABLY ONE OF THE FEW
PEOPLE IN ONTARIO WHO HAVEN'T
HEARD OF THIS GUY.
START OUT THERE.
WHO IS HARRY OAKES?

A blurry black and white picture shows the portrait of a middle-aged, clean-shaven man with curly dark hair.

The caption changes to "Charlotte Gray. Author, 'Murdered Midas.'"
Then, it changes again to "Crime of the century."

Charlotte says HE GREW UP IN MAINE AND WAS
OBSESSED WITH FINDING GOLD.
HE WAS NOT A GOOD STUDENT IN
SCHOOL.
HE WAS SOMEBODY WHO DIDN'T QUITE
KNOW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO FOR A
PERIOD.
HE STUDIED MEDICINE AT ONE
STAGE.
HE HEARD ABOUT THE GOLD RUSH IN
THE YUKON.
SO IN 1897, HE WENT TO THE
YUKON.
TOO LATE FOR THE KLONDIKE.
HE SPENT THE NEXT 15 YEARS
SCRAMBLING HIS WAY AROUND THE
WORLD, CHASING GOLD IN ALL THE
DIFFERENT GOLD RUSHES IN
AUSTRALIA, IN SOUTH AFRICA, AND
THEN HE FINALLY GETS TO NORTHERN
ONTARIO, BECAUSE HE HEARS
THERE'S BEEN A MINERAL RUSH UP
THERE, AND HE ALMOST SORT OF BY
CHANCE HE HEARS THIS NEWS, BUT
HE ALSO HEARS THAT THERE'S AN
AREA AROUND KIRKLAND LAKE WHERE
THERE ARE SOME CLAIMS THAT HAVE
ALREADY BEEN MADE THAT ARE
EXPIRING AND THAT HE HAS A
CHANCE TO GO FOR IT.
AND HE'S ENOUGH OF A GEOLOGIST
TO KNOW THAT THE ROCK THERE
REALLY HAS POTENTIAL, THAT IT'S
CARRYING GOLD.
AND HE STAKES THE CLAIM...
CLAIMS ON A NIGHT WHERE IT'S -5
2 degrees IN JANUARY...
AND HE'S RIGHT.
THERE'S GOLD IN THEM THAR ROCKS.

Steve says I LEARNED FROM YOUR
BOOK THAT OTHER BOOKS HAVE BEEN
WRITTEN ABOUT THIS GUY, MOVIES
HAVE BEEN MADE ABOUT THIS GUY.
WHAT YOU MADE TO THINK THERE WAS
SOMETHING MORE TO TELL ABOUT
THIS GUY THAT HADN'T ALREADY
BEEN TOLD?

The caption changes to "Charlotte Gray, @CharlotteJGray."

Charlotte says WHAT MESMERIZED PEOPLE WAS
THAT HE WAS BURDENED IN THE
BAHAMAS AND THE MURDER HAS NEVER
BEEN SOLVED.
GRADUALLY OVER THE YEARS TWO
THINGS EMERGED ABOUT THE STORY
OF HARRY OAKES.
THE FIRST WAS THE BRUTAL MURDER
HAS NEVER BEEN SOLVED.
AND THE SECOND WAS THAT HE WAS A
REALLY NASTY PIECE OF WORK, AND
AS HIS FIRST BIOGRAPHER WROTE,
HE DESERVED TO DIE.
I CAME AT IT FROM A DIFFERENT
POINT OF VIEW.
I WANTED TO KNOW HOW DID HE GET
TO BE THE RICHEST MAN IN THE
BRITISH EMPIRE AND WHY HAS HE
LEFT SUCH A NEGATIVE IMAGE?
AND I WAS PARTICULARLY
INTERESTED BECAUSE, AS YOU KNOW,
I'M ACTUALLY SORT OF BY NATURE A
HISTORIAN, AND I'M ALWAYS
LOOKING FOR INCIDENTS OR PEOPLE
WHO CAN TAKE ME AND TAKE READERS
INTO PART OF CANADIAN HISTORY.
AND I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT
MINING IN CANADA, AND HARRY'S
CAREER ALLOWED ME TO EXPLORE THE
ONTARIO GOLD RUSH.
I HAD ALREADY EXPLORED THE YUKON
GOLD RUSH, WHICH OF COURSE
EVERYBODY KNOWS ABOUT BECAUSE
JACK LONDON AND ROBERT SERVICE
AND WE PAIR BURTON.
THAT'S THE ONE WE HAVE
ROMANTICIZED.
THE ONTARIO GOLD RUSH OF THE
EARLY 20TH CENTURY WAS BETWEEN
10 AND 20 TIMES LARGER THAN THE
YUKON GOLD RUSH IN THE AMOUNT OF
GOLD PRODUCED.

Steve says YOU SLIPPED
SOMETHING INTO THAT.
YOU SAID HE WAS THE RICHEST MAN
IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
NOT JUST THE RICHEST MAN IN
CANADA, IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
AT THE HEIGHT, WHAT WAS HE
WORTH?

Charlotte says HE WAS WORTH BACK THEN AT
LEAST 200 MILLION, WHICH WAS
HUGELY MORE THAN THAT BY TODAY'S
STANDARD.

Steve says A MULTIBILLIONAIRE.

Charlotte says MULTI, MULTI BILLIONAIRE.
WAS HE REALLY THE RICHEST MAN IN
THE BRITISH EMPIRE AS THE
NEWSPAPERS LIKED TO TAG HIM?
I DON'T KNOW.
THERE WAS CERTAINLY SOME PRETTY
RICH PEOPLE IN BRITAIN AT THIS
STAGE.
THAT WAS HOW HE WAS ALWAYS
DESCRIBED.
AND THAT TAG FOLLOWED HIM
THROUGH LIFE.

Steve says HOW DID THE GOLD
RUSH IN THIS PROVINCE COME TO BE
ANYWAY?

The caption changes to "Ontario: His to discover."

A black and white picture shows a railroad by a small town in forested hills. A caption reads "Lucky Cross Camps and T and N O Ry. Swastika, Cnt."

Charlotte says RAILROADS.
BECAUSE THERE WAS... THE ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT BUILT A RAILROAD
NORTH THAT... THE NORTHERN
RAILROAD HEADING NORTH TOWARDS
JAMES BAY.
AS THOSE ENGINEERS PLOTTED THE
COURSE AND IT WAS IN FACT
DESIGNED TO TAKE SETTLERS UP
INTO WHAT WE CALL NORTHERN
ONTARIO, WHAT THEY CALLED NEW
ONTARIO, BECAUSE "NORTHERN."
SOUNDED TOO COLD.
THEY KEPT UNCOVERING ROCKS THAT
OBVIOUSLY HAD VALUABLE MINERALS
IN THEM, AND THE FIRST GREAT
STRIKE WAS SILVER AND COBALT,
AND THEN AS THEY WENT NORTH,
THEY FOUND MORE AND MORE
DIFFERENT MINERALS, PARTICULARLY
GOLD.

Steve says HARRY WAS A BIT OF A
BUST, THOUGH, BEFORE HE
ENCOUNTERED NORTHERN ONTARIO.
TELL US ABOUT THAT.

A grainy black and white picture shows a small town with dirt roads.

Charlotte says BEFORE THAT, AS I SAID, HE
TRIED TO FIND GOLD ALL OVER THE
WORLD.
ALTHOUGH HE CAME FROM A SORT OF
MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY IN MAINE, HE
DIDN'T HAVE A LOT OF MONEY
BEHIND HIM.
AND BY THE TIME HE GOT TO
KIRKLAND LAKE, IN FACT, YOU
KNOW, PEOPLE REMEMBERED HIM AS
SORT OF... HE ONLY HAD SORT OF
ONE PAIR OF PANTS WHICH WERE
SORT OF TORN EVERYWHERE AND ONE
PAIR OF MUDDY OLD BOOTS.
HE WAS PRETTY BROKE.
BUT NOTHING WOULD... NOTHING
WOULD DEFLECT HIM FROM THIS GOAL
OF FINDING GOLD.
AND HE WAS LIKE MANY SORT OF
SINGLE-MINDED VISIONARIES.
HE WAS A GUY WHO REALLY DIDN'T
CARE WHAT HE LOOKED LIKE.
HE DIDN'T CARE WHAT PEOPLE
THOUGHT OF HIM.
HE WASN'T THE NICEST PERSON TO
SPEND TIME WITH, BUT HE WAS...
OH, MY GOD, HE WAS
SINGLE-MINDED.

Steve says LOOK AT THIS PICTURE
HERE.
WHERE IS HE IN THAT SHOT?

In a black and white picture almost two dozen people stand outside a log cabin. A handwritten note at the bottom of the picture reads "Lake shore."

Charlotte says HE IS ON THE FAR LEFT...

Steve says FAR LEFT.

Charlotte says SITTING ON THE...

Steve says OH, YES.

Charlotte says SITTING ON THE...

Steve says ON THE RAILING THERE.

A close-up shows Harry sitting on the railing of the cabin porch.

Charlotte says ON THE RAILING THERE.
THAT'S HIS WORK FORCE, WHEN IN
FACT HE'S FINALLY FOUND GOLD AND
GOT ENOUGH MONEY TO BUILD ALL
THE EQUIPMENT HE NEEDS, AND
THAT'S HIS... THAT WAS HIS WORK
PARTY.

Steve says IT'S CALLED THE
LAKESHORE SITE; RIGHT?

Charlotte says THE LAKESHORE MINE.
AND IT WAS A GUSHER, A GUSHER OF
A GOLD MINE.
HE WAS PRODUCING THE HIGHEST
GRADE GOLD AVAILABLE IN THAT AREA.

A blurry black and white picture shows a large gabled three-storey building. Then another picture shows two men standing inside a mine.

Steve says AND CLEARLY HE
HELPED TO OPEN UP NORTHERN
ONTARIO TO ALL KINDS OF, YOU
KNOW, JOBS AND PROSPERITY AND
RICHES AND SO ON.
WHERE DOES HE BELONG ON THE SORT
OF PANTHEON OF PEOPLE WHO OPENED
UP THE NORTH?

Charlotte says WHAT SET HARRY OAKES APART,
USUALLY WHAT HAPPENED, A
PROSPECTOR WOULD GO TO A
GOLDFIELD, THEY WOULD STAKE
THEIR CLAIM, THEY WOULD SAY ON
MY CLAIM IT'S WORTH A LOT OF
MONEY BECAUSE I KNOW THERE'S
GOLD THERE, AND THEN THEY WOULD
SELL TO THE PEOPLE WHO COULD
ACTUALLY AFFORD TO DEVELOP IT.
BECAUSE PROSPECTORS ARE PRETTY
WELL ALWAYS BROKE.
HARRY WAS DETERMINED TO DEVELOP
HIS OWN MINE, KEEP OWNERSHIP OF
HIS OWN MINE.
HE'S PRACTICALLY THE ONLY GUY
I'VE EVER COME ACROSS WHO
MANAGED THAT.
AND I WAS LOOKING FOR
EQUIVALENTS.
THERE WEREN'T MANY.
THERE WERE LOTS OF OTHER GOLD
MINES UP THERE BUT THEY WEREN'T
DEVELOPED BY THE PEOPLE WHO HAD
FOUND THEM.
HARRY'S MINE WAS ONE OF THE
RICHEST.
HE KEPT OWNERSHIP OF IT.
AND BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE HIM,
HIS LEADERSHIP, HIS EXAMPLE,
OTHERS FLOCKED TO NORTH AND
CONTINUED SEARCHING FOR GOLD.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says HERE IS HOW YOU
CHRONICLE IN THE BOOK THE NATURE
OF HIS WEALTH.
SHELDON, THE GRAPHIC, PLEASE.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Money, money, money." The quote reads "According to one reliable estimate, between 1924 and 1932 Oakes's mining stock earned for him about 10.7 million dollars, or around 25000 dollars a week. And since Canadians were permitted a 50 percent depletion allowance on all gold stock earnings, even the tax bite on Oakes's millions was blunted. During these years, Oakes paid personal taxes on only 5.3 million dollars of his earnings. In 1993, the shares earned another 3 million dollars, and he paid just over 1 million dollars in taxes. Harry Oakes's capital kept accumulating, despite his increasingly expensive travel and tastes, his property acquisitions, and his scattered philanthropy in Kirkland Lake and Niagara Falls."
Quoted from Charlotte Gray, "Murdered Midas." 2019.

Steve says FOLKS, THIS IS
ALMOST 100 YEARS AGO, REMEMBER.

Steve says OKAY.
NOW THAT HE'S CLEARLY WORTH A
LOT OF MONEY, HOW DOES HE SPEND IT?

The caption changes to "Easy Street."

Charlotte says THIS WAS HARRY'S PROBLEM.
HE HAD BEEN SO SINGLE MINDED
ABOUT FINDING GOLD, HE HADN'T AT
THAT STAGE DEVELOPED ANY
EXPENSIVE TASTES.
WHAT HE HAD WAS A DISTRUST OF
THE STOCK MARKET, OF FINANCIERS,
OF PEOPLE HE HAD TALKED TO FOR
CAPITAL, THEY DIDN'T TRUST HIM.
HE WASN'T HAPPY TO PUT HIS MONEY
IN THE STOCK MARKET AND LET IT
GROW.
NOW THAT HE FOUND GOLD, HE
DIDN'T HAVE ANY MORE INTEREST IN
MINING.
HE WAS ACCUMULATING THIS MONEY.
HE MOVED TO NIAGARA FALLS.
HE WENT WITH HIS WIFE, THEY HAD
FIVE CHILDREN.
HE BOUGHT AN AIRPLANE AT ONE
POINT AND REALIZED HE DIDN'T
LIKE FLYING.
BUT THE MONEY WAS ACCUMULATING
AND HE WAS NOT REALLY ENJOYING
HIMSELF.
HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH
HIS TIME.
HE DEVELOPED A TASTE FOR POLO,
WHICH I FOUND BIZARRE.
ANYWAY, HE HAD A STRING OF POLO
PONIES IN ENGLAND WHERE HE ALSO
ACQUIRED PROPERTY.
AND WHAT REALLY BUGGED HIM WAS
THAT TAX BITE.
IT'S FUNNY HOW RICH PEOPLE HATE
PAYING TAXES.

A black and white picture shows an English countryside mansion surrounded by gardens covered in snow.

Steve says HE'S ONLY PAYING TAX
AT 33 percent RATE THERE ON THAT
EARNINGS.
OKAY.
HOW ABOUT THIS.
YOU SAY HE WAS MARRIED AND HAD
FIVE KIDS.
WAS HE HAPPY?

Charlotte says HE LIVED FOR 10 YEARS IN
NIAGARA FALLS, AND I THINK
ACTUALLY THAT WAS PERHAPS THE
HAPPIEST PERIOD OF HIS LIFE.
HE REMEMBERED WITH GREAT
FONDNESS, BECAUSE HE WAS
GENEROUS TO THE COMMUNITY.
WHEN YOU GO TO NIAGARA FALLS,
YOU CAN SEE OAKES THEATRE NEAR
THE FALLS.
HE ENDOWED SPORTS GROUNDS,
SPORTS TROPHIES.
HE PROVIDED WORK DURING THE
EARLY YEARS IN THE DEPRESSION
THERE.
AND THE PHOTOS OF HIM THERE
STOMPING AROUND STILL IN HIS
PROSPECTOR'S OUTFIT, THAT WAS
HIS FAVOURITE COSTUME, BUT STILL
SORT OF FEELING, YOU KNOW, THAT
HE WAS... HE WAS A BIG MAN ON
CAMPUS.
INTERESTINGLY, HE NEVER LIVED IN
TORONTO.
HE REALLY DIDN'T LIKE TORONTO
BECAUSE HE DIDN'T LIKE THE BAY
STREET GUYS.

Steve says HE CAME NOT TO LIKE
CANADA.
HE THOUGHT THE TAX BITE WAS TOO
BIG, HE LEFT.
WHERE DID HE GO?

In a blurry black and white picture, the balding Harry smiles as he holds a cigarette in his right hand.

Charlotte says HE WENT FIRST TO FLORIDA AND
THEN MET A GUY CALLED HARRY
CHRISTIE WHO WAS AN ESTATE AGENT
FROM THE BAHAMAS, PARTICULARLY
THE ISLAND OF NEW PROVIDENCE
WHERE NASSAU, THE CAPITAL IS.
HE PERSUADED HARRY IT WAS THE
PLACE TO GO, THE BAHAMAS,
BECAUSE IT WAS A TAX HAVEN.
THAT WAS MUSIC TO HIS EARS.
HE COULDN'T WAIT TO GO THERE.
HE WENT THERE.
IN A FEW YEARS HE OWNED
ONE-THIRD OF THE ISLAND OF NEW
PROVIDENCE.
HE DISCOVERED SOMETHING THERE HE
LOVED TO DO WHICH WAS BUYING
HEAVY EQUIPMENT AND TEARING UP
THE LANDSCAPE.
HE STARTED REMODELING THE
LANDSCAPE.
HE GOT INTO VARIOUS REAL ESTATE
VENTURES WITH HAROLD CHRISTIE,
AND IT WAS REALLY A FORM OF
MINING, WHICH IS ALSO TEARING UP
THE LANDSCAPE.
BUT THE PRODUCT IN FACT IS REAL
ESTATE TO SELL TO RICH AMERICANS
RATHER THAN GOLD.

Steve says WELL, HERE'S HOW YOU
DESCRIBE THE PLACE WHERE HARRY
ULTIMATELY SETTLED...

Another quote from Charlotte's book appears on screen, under the title "An island divided." The quote reads "The Bahamas themselves were, in microcosm, similar to too many British colonies: a society in which an impoverished Black majority was ruled by a small, arrogant, and reactionary white elite. The governor of the Bahamas, appointed by London, was no more than a figurehead. For more than two hundred years, the islands had been run by a handful of merchant families. Their offices and stores lined Bay Street, Nassau's main thoroughfare, and they dominated the House of Assembly and its inner circle, the executive council. The 'Bay Street Boys,' as they were known, were indifferent to the conditions in which black Bahamians lived. In 1934, almost nine-tenths of the islands' 60000 residents were black, but only a handful of them attended secondary school and almost none met the property qualification to vote in the elections for the House of Assembly."

Steve says DID ANY OF THIS
DISTURB HIM AT ALL?

Charlotte says I DON'T THINK IT DISTURBED
HIM.
HE WASN'T A REFLECTIVE GUY OR A
GUY WITH SORT OF POLITICAL
SENSITIVITIES.
BUT HE CERTAINLY WASN'T GOING TO
PAY ATTENTION TO ANY OF THAT
SORT OF SECOND-RATE BRITISH
SNOBBERY THAT PERMEATED THE
WHITE ELITE.
AND IN FACT THEY WERE
EXASPERATED BY HIM BECAUSE HE,
FIRST OF ALL, HAD NO... NO
TOLERANCE FOR ANTI-SEMITISM OR
THE ANTIBLACK SENTIMENTS THAT
THE WHITE ELITE HARBOURED, AND
HE HAD VERY LITTLE TIME FOR THE
BRITISH CLASS SYSTEM.
AND HE ACTUALLY PREFERRED TO
JUST KEEP STOMPING AROUND IN
THOSE MUDDY BOOTS RATHER THAN
PUTTING ON GORGEOUS WHITE LINEN
SUITS AND DRINKING COCKTAILS.
THERE'S A WONDERFUL STORY WHICH
MAY OR MAY NOT BE APOCRYPHAL
THAT HE WENT INTO THE COLONIAL
HOTEL THERE WEARING HIS
PROSPECTOR'S OUTFIT AND THE
MAITRE D' VERY SNOBBISHLY SAID
TO HIM, I'M AFRAID YOU CAN'T
COME IN HERE DRESSED LIKE THAT.
HE WAS SO FURIOUS, HE LEFT
BOUGHT THE HOTEL, WENT BACK IN
THE NEXT DAY AND SACKED THE
MAITRE D'.
HE WAS THE RICHEST MAN
AND HE WAS GOING TO
GET HIS WAY.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says IT'S A GREAT STORY.
YOU SAY HE WASN'T NUTS ABOUT THE
BRITISH CLASS SYSTEM.
HE WAS SIR HARRY OAKES.
SO AT SOME POINT HE GOT
KNIGHTED.
WHAT'S THE STORY THERE?

Charlotte says HE SPENT TIME IN LONDON,
ENGLAND, WHERE HE WAS TAKEN UP
BY OBVIOUSLY A RATHER SEEDY
NETWORK OF RIGHT-WING
SYMPATHIZERS AND ARISTOCRATS WHO
REALLY LIKED HIS MONEY.
LONDON SOCIETY ALWAYS HAD AN
AMBIVALENT ATTITUDE TO
COLONIAL NEWCOMERS,
SOMETIMES THEY'RE ACCEPTED LIKE
LORD BEAVERBROOK AND OTHER TIMES
LIKE RUPERT MURDOCH THEY'RE
TREATED AS SORT OF ARRIVISTES
BUT HARRY WAS RICH ENOUGH
HE MANAGED TO BREAK THROUGH
THAT CORDON SANITAIRE AND
BECAUSE OF HIS MONEY.
I THINK HE WAS FINANCING VARIOUS
PRO NAZI MOVEMENTS IN MAGAZINES
WHILE HE WAS THERE AND THANKS
TO THAT HE WAS GIVEN A
BARONCY IN THE 1939 ROYAL
HONOURS SO
HE BECAME SIR HARRY OAKES.
THERE'S A LOVELY PHOTO OF HIM
LOOKING SORT OF HAPPY.
LADY OAKES LOOKING SPLENDID.
SHE ENJOYED THE TITLE.

A picture shows Harry and his wife in formal attire, smiling as they walk in a garden.

Steve says THERE ARE THE NAMES
OF A COUPLE OF PEOPLE THAT WE
WOULD NOT NECESSARILY EXPECT TO
BE CONNECTED TO THIS STORY, BUT
I BET PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER THE
NAMES OF THESE TWO.
THE NEW GOVERNOR OF THE BAHAMAS
IN 1940 WAS NONE OTHER THAN THE
DUKE OF WINDSOR AND HIS
SHOCKINGLY DIVORCED AMERICAN
WIFE WALLACE SIMPSON.
HOW DO THEY FIGURE INTO THIS
TALE?

In a black and white picture an older Harry sits next to a young man on a bench.

Charlotte says FIRST OF ALL, THEY WERE NOT
HAPPY TO FIND THEMSELVES IN THE
BAHAMAS, ALTHOUGH THEY PLAYED
THEIR ROLE ACTUALLY QUITE
GRACIOUSLY, THE DUCHESS OF
WINDSOR DESCRIBED THE BAHAMAS
HAS A GHASTLY LITTLE BACKWATER,
AND THEY WERE THERE BECAUSE THE
BRITISH GOVERNMENT HAD TO GET
THEM OUT OF EUROPE BECAUSE IT
WAS WELL-KNOWN THAT THE DUKE OF
WINDSOR WAS A NAZI SYMPATHIZER.
NOW HE'S REMEMBERED IN THIS SORT
OF DISNEYFIED WAY AS THE MAN WHO
GAVE UP THE THRONE FOR THE WOMAN
HE LOVED.
BUT THERE WERE ACTUALLY OTHER
FORCES AT WORK THAT MADE HIM
COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE TO BE
THE MONARCH.
SO HE ENDS UP IN THE BAHAMAS,
DOESN'T REALLY LIKE ANY OF THE
PEOPLE HE MEETS THERE.
HE PARTICULARLY... THE DUCHESS
PARTICULARLY FINDS THE OAKES
CRASS COLONIALS, BUT THE DUKE
LOVES PLAYING GOLF AND WHO OWNS
THE GOLF COURSE?
HARRY OAKES.
SO THEY GOT TO KNOW THE OAKES
QUITE WELL.
IT WAS SUCH A SMALL SOCIETY.
THEY COULDN'T FAIL TO.

Steve says OKAY.
THAT'S THE FOUNDATION.
NOW WE'RE GOING TO GET TO THE
NITTY-GRITTY.
THIS GUY SUFFERS A GRUESOME
MURDER.
TAKE US THROUGH IT.
WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM?

The caption changes to "A strange death."

Charlotte says ON THE NIGHT OF JULY 7TH,
1943, HE HAS DINNER WITH A BUNCH
OF FRIENDS, INCLUDING HAROLD
CHRISTIE.
AND HE GOES TO BED.
HAROLD CHRISTIE IS ACTUALLY
STAYING THE NIGHT TWO DOORS
DOWN.
THERE'S A HORRENDOUS TROPICAL
STORM, LIKE NONE OTHER... YOU
DON'T SEE THEM ANYWHERE ELSE
OTHER THAN IN THE CARIBBEAN.
AND THE FOLLOWING MORNING, HE IS
DISCOVERED.
IT'S AN AWFUL MURDER SCENE.
HIS BEDROOM IS SPLATTERED WITH
BLOOD.
HE HAS FOUR PUNCTURE MARKS
BEHIND HIS LEFT EAR THAT HAVE
SHATTERED HIS SKULL.
IT LOOKS LIKE THERE'S PROBABLY
BEEN SOME KIND OF FIGHT.
AND THEN IN FACT THERE WAS AN
ATTEMPT TO SET THE BED, THE
ROOM, THE HOUSE PRESUMABLY, ON
FIRE WITH KEROSENE, BUT THE FIRE
FIZZLED OUT FOR WHATEVER REASON,
PROBABLY BECAUSE OF THE STORM
AND THE WIND, WHICH IN SOME WAY
PUT IT OUT.
AND HE IS DISCOVERED IN FACT BY
HAROLD CHRISTIE WHO PADS ALONG
THE OUTSIDE BALCONY FROM ONE
BEDROOM SOME WAYS AWAY TO OAKES'
BEDROOM AND SEES HIS BUSINESS
PARTNER LYING THERE AND LATER
Charlotte says HE THOUGHT HE MUST STILL BE
ALIVE AND TRIED TO RESUSCITATE
HIM BUT IN FACT HARRY OAKES IS
VERY DEAD.

Steve says AND ONE OF THE
IMMEDIATE SUSPECTS IS HIS
SON-IN-LAW.
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

Charlotte says HAROLD OAKES' ELDEST DAUGHTER
THE BELOVED NANCY.
THREE DAYS AFTER HER
18TH BIRTHDAY
HAD ELOPED WITH A MAURITIAN
PLAYBOY WHO IS AN
IRRESISTIBLE CHARACTER, HE
LOOKS LIKE A 1940s FILM STAR.
WITH GREASED BACK BLACK HAIR.
COUNT FREDDY de MARIGNY.
WHO'S BEEN ALREADY DIVORCED
TWICE.

A black and white picture shows a young, curly-haired woman who stands next to a young man with dark hair and a big smile.

Charlotte continues HE ELOPES WITH THIS YOUNG
HEIRESS
THE OAKES PARENTS ARE FURIOUS.
THERE'S BAD BLOOD BETWEEN
NANCY'S PARENTS AND HER HUSBAND,
WHOM SHE ADORES.
WITHIN HOURS OF THE MURDER BEING
DISCOVERED, de MARIGNY
IS ARRESTED AS A SUSPECT.
AS YET THERE IS NO MURDER WEAPON
DISCOVERED.
de MARIGNY HAS AN ALIBI.
THERE ARE NO WITNESSES.
THERE'S NOTHING TO ACTUALLY PIN
HIM TO THE CRIME.
BUT HE'S ARRESTED.

Steve says AND GOES ON TRIAL
AND IS ULTIMATELY ACQUITTED...

Charlotte says HE GOES ON TRIAL.

Steve says ACQUITTED.
NOT ONLY THAT BUT SOME OF THE
PEOPLE IN THE TOWN CARRY HIM
AWAY ON THEIR SHOULDERS AND SAY
"FOR HE'S A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW."
WHAT KIND OF REACTION IS THAT?

Charlotte says IT'S ONE OF THE FASCINATING
THINGS, WHEN YOU WRITE ABOUT A
TRIAL... YOU KNOW, TRUE CRIME
NOW AS A GENRE IS VERY, VERY
POPULAR.
AND I THINK SORT OF MOST OF US,
AND CERTAINLY MOST READERS LOVE
IT, BECAUSE THERE'S A NATURAL
DRAMA TO TRUE CRIME WHERE YOU
SORT OF BEGIN THIS PLAY ACT,
THIS DRAMATIC ARC WITH THE CRIME
AND THEN YOU HAVE THE TRIAL.
AND IT'S JUST LIKE THEATRE.
EVERYBODY'S IN FANCY DRESS.
THE JUDGE IS WEARING A GOWN...
GOWNS.
YOU GET THE STORY FROM THE
DEFENCE AND THE PROSECUTION.
YOU GO THROUGH THE TRIAL LOOKING
AT THE WITNESS STATEMENTS AND
THEN YOU HAVE A RESOLUTION AT
THE END.
WHAT WAS SO INTERESTING ABOUT
THIS TRIAL WAS THAT EVERYBODY IS
AGAINST COUNT ALFRED
de MARIGNY.
AS YOU GO THROUGH YOU REALIZE
THE POLICE EVIDENCE IS GETTING
THINNER AND THINNER AND THINNER.
AND THE OPINION SWINGS TOWARDS
COUNT ALFRED de MARIGNY,
OPINION PARTICULARLY WITHIN THE
BLACK COMMUNITY, WHO ACTUALLY
SEE HIM AS OPPRESSED BY THE
SNOBBISH ENGLISH-SPEAKING WHITE
ELITE, AS DEPRESSED AS THEY ARE.
BY THE END, AS YOU SAY, IT IS
WELCOMED, THE VERDICT, THAT HE'S
ACQUITTED.

Steve says HOW IS IT POSSIBLE
THREE-QUARTERS OF A CENTURY
LATER THAT NO ONE APPEARS TO BE
ANY CLOSER TO SOLVING THIS MYSTERY?

Charlotte says IT'S SO FRUSTRATING.
FOR A LONG TIME, PEOPLE IN THE
ISLAND SAID THERE WILL BE DEATH
BED CONFESSIONS, AND APPARENTLY
THERE NEVER HAVE BEEN.
THERE HAVE BEEN MANY, MANY
THEORIES.
AND I TRACE IN THE BOOK THE
DIFFERENT THEORIES THERE HAVE
BEEN AND HOW THEY ACTUALLY MATCH
THE PRIORITIES OF THE TIME.
SOMETIMES IT WAS SEEN AS A BIG
DONE BY THE MAFIA BECAUSE IN THE
1980s, EVERYBODY WANTED A
STORY JUST LIKE THE GODFATHER.
SOMETIMES IT WAS SEEN AS
CURRENCY MANIPULATION.
THERE WAS POSSIBLY SOMETHING
LIKE THAT.
BUT THERE'S NEVER BEEN A REALLY
OBVIOUS... THERE'S NEVER BEEN
ANY EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT ANY OF
THESE THEORIES.
I THINK WHAT HAPPENED HERE WAS
THAT THE BAHAMAS... THE PEOPLE
LIVING IN THE BAHAMAS WERE SO
KEEN... AND I'M HERE OBVIOUSLY
TALKING ABOUT THE BAY STREET
BOYS AND THE WHITE ELITE... THEY
WERE SO KEEN THAT NONE OF THEIR
NUMBER SHOULD BE FINGERED THAT
THEY ALWAYS LOOKED OUTSIDE THE
ISLANDS TO FIND THE VILLAIN.
AND THAT'S OF COURSE WHAT
HAPPENED WITH COUNT ALFRED
de MARIGNY.
HE WAS JUST SUCH A NATURAL
SCAPEGOAT BECAUSE HE DIDN'T
SPEAK ENGLISH PROPERLY.

Steve says OKAY.
WHO DO YOU THINK DID IT?

Charlotte says I NEVER FOUND A SMOKING GUN.
I MAKE IT FAIRLY CLEAR IN THE
BOOK WHO I THINK DID IT...

Steve says YOU DON'T HAVE TO
GIVE THAT UP HERE.

Charlotte says I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE IT UP
HERE.
BUT ALWAYS CONSIDER IN ANY
MURDER WHO WAS THE BIGGEST
BENEFICIARY.

Steve says BONO.
HE HAS PROGENY THAT ARE STILL
AROUND, HEIRS AND SUCCESSORS.
DID YOU INTERVIEW ANY FAMILY
MEMBERS?

The caption changes to "Sir Harry's legacy."

Charlotte says I DIDN'T.
THE FAMILY STORY ISN'T
ALTOGETHER HAPPY.
THE MARRIAGE TO FREDDY DIDN'T
LAST.
AND SHE WENT ON TO A PRETTY
SKETCHY LIFE OF COCKTAIL PARTIES
IN HOLLYWOOD AND AT LEAST ONE
MORE HUSBAND, AND IN THE END, A
PRETTY SEVERE DRINKING HABIT.
OF THE THREE SONS, ONE DIED
PROBABLY OF DRUG ADDICTION
PROBLEMS.
ANOTHER WAS KILLED IN A CAR
ACCIDENT.
THE OTHER DAUGHTER WAS ALSO IN A
CAR ACCIDENT AND SPENT THE LAST
8 YEARS OF HER LIFE IN A COMA.
THE ONLY SORT OF MORE CHEERFUL
STRAND IS THAT THE YOUNGEST SON,
HAROLD... HARRY TOO... WAS 10
WHEN HIS FATHER DIED, AND HE
STILL LIVES IN THE BAHAMAS.
HE'S STILL ALIVE.
HIS SON HARRY LIVES HALF IN THE
BAHAMAS AND HALF HERE IN NIAGARA
FALLS WHERE THE OAKES FAMILY
STILL HAS A LOT OF PROPERTY,
PARTICULARLY THAT WHOLE AREA IN
NIAGARA FALLS WHERE THERE ARE
ALL THE BEST SORT OF TOURIST
ATTRACTIONS.
SO THEY'RE NOT HURTING
FINANCIALLY.

Steve says DOES THE FAMILY,
THOUGH, YOU KNOW, I CAN IMAGINE
THEY'RE SICK TO DEATH TALKING
ABOUT THIS...

Charlotte says I EMAILED THE SON IN NIAGARA
FALLS AND SAID WAS THERE ANY
CHANCE THAT EITHER HE OR HIS
FATHER WOULD TALK TO ME BECAUSE
I WAS DOING THIS BOOK.
I HAD THE MOST GRACIOUS EMAIL
BACK FROM HIM THAT I QUOTE IN
THE BOOK, SAYING EXACTLY WHAT
YOU'VE SAID.
YOU KNOW, ENOUGH ALREADY.
WE'VE HAD SO MANY APPALLING
ACCOUNTS.
THEIR VIEW, I THINK QUITE
JUSTIFIABLY, WHY SHOULD WE TRUST
YOU?
I HOPE THEY READ THE BOOK AND
SEE THEY CAN.

Steve says IT'S A FAIR ACCOUNT
GIVEN THE FACT YOU'VE UNEARTHED.
A FEW MORE THINGS AS WE FINISH
UP HERE.
WHERE IS ALL THE MONEY TODAY?

Charlotte says NANCY OAKES WAS ALWAYS
CONVINCED THAT SOME OF HER
FATHER'S FORTUNE HAD BEEN
SIPHONED OFF BY HIS BUSINESS
PARTNERS, WHICH IS QUITE LIKELY,
BECAUSE MANY OF HIS DEALINGS
WERE EITHER CASH-ONLY OR THEY
WERE, FRANKLY, ILLEGAL.
HE WAS PROBABLY EXPORTING MONEY
FROM THE BAHAMAS, DESPITE
WAR-TIME RESTRICTIONS ON BRITISH
COLONIES.
SO I THINK A LOT OF IT DID GO
UNTRACED.
I ALSO THINK THERE WASN'T AS
MUCH MONEY AS PEOPLE LIKE TO
IMAGINE.
YOU KNOW, THERE'S ALWAYS A
TENDENCY TO EXAGGERATE HOW RICH
PEOPLE ARE, AND LAKESHORE WAS
DRYING UP.
THE GOLD SEAMS WERE GETTING
EXHAUSTED.

Steve says HOW IS THE NAME
HARRY OAKES REGARDED IN NORTHERN
ONTARIO TODAY?

Charlotte says MUCH, MUCH MORE RESPECTFULLY
THAN IT'S REGARDED ELSEWHERE.
NOW, WHEN I SAY THAT, I MEAN
AMONG PEOPLE WHO ARE STILL SORT
OF BIG KIRKLAND LAKE BOOSTERS.
ANYONE WHO HAD ACTUALLY BEEN
DOWN THE MINES OR HAD ANYTHING
TO DO WITH MINING UNIONS STILL
SPIT ON THE NAME OF HARRY OAKES
BECAUSE HE... MINING IS... WAS
AND IS AN AWFUL JOB, AND AT THAT
TIME THERE WERE NO HEALTH AND
SAFETY REGULATIONS AND LAKESHORE
WAS NOTORIOUS FOR BEING ONE OF
THE MOST DANGEROUS MINES TO WORK IN.

Steve says FINALLY, DO YOU
REMEMBER WHAT BROUGHT YOU INTO
THIS STUDIO THE LAST TIME YOU
WERE HERE?

Charlotte says UM, PROBABLY THE MASSEY
MURDER.

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas."

Steve says OKAY.
MURDERED MIDAS IS YOUR NEW BOOK.
THE MASSEY MURDER WAS YOUR LAST
BOOK.
I HAVE ONE QUESTION, CHARLOTTE,
TO FINISH THIS OFF WITH, WHICH
IS YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY FASCINATED
BY MURDER.
SHOULD YOUR HUSBAND BE
CONCERNED?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Charlotte laughs and says I THINK HE'D BE
MOST CONCERNED IF I DIDN'T HAVE
A BOOK ON THE GO AND I GAVE MY
FULL ATTENTION TO HIM.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says VERY GOOD.
THAT WAS A TERRIFIC READ, AS
YOUR BOOKS ALWAYS ARE.
"MURDERED MIDAS: A MILLIONAIRE
HIS GOLD MINE, AND A STRANGE
DEATH ON AN ISLAND PARADISE."
CHARLOTTE GRAY, SO GOOD TO SEE
YOU AGAIN.
THANK YOU.

Charlotte says THANK YOU, STEVE.

Watch: Charlotte Gray: A Millionaire's Murder Mystery