Where There Is Evil

I wanted to drop a book recommendation: Sandra Brown’s memoir Where There Is Evil. Sandra’s dad, Alexander Gartshore, is the prime suspect in the notorious 1957 disappearance of Moira Anderson. It’s one of the most notorious child disappearances in Scottish history.

Sandra is the one who turned him in after he made suspicious comments about Moira’s disappearance to her in 1992. She was already somewhat aware by then what sort of man her father was, and when she investigated his background she learned he molested numerous young girls, including all her girl cousins. She already knew he molested her friends when she was little, because he wasn’t very discreet about it and would do it right in front of her. She was too young to know what she was looking at, at the time.

Mind you, Sandra shouldn’t have had to turn in her dad. The police should have been onto him from the start. Alex Gartshore was, at the time of eleven-year-old Moira’s disappearance, out on bond awaiting trial for the rape of his children’s thirteen-year-old babysitter. Furthermore, Alex was a bus driver on the job on the night Moira disappeared, and Moira was last seen (as far as anyone knows) at a bus stop.

The fact that the police did not investigate him, didn’t so much as interview him one time, is suggestive of either corruption, or incompetence so extreme it might as well be corruption. The only thing Sandra can think of is that her dad belonged to a certain social club whose local membership was 90% cops, and so they covered for him.

Others covered for him as well. Sandra found out, post 1992, that her grandfather had suspected his son in Moira’s case and gone so far as to search various places associated with Alexander, ripping up floorboards even, trying to find Moira’s body. But he never went to the police with his suspicions. Or if he did, they were not noted down in the file due to the previously mentioned corruption/incompetence.

And when Sandra told her family she thought Alex had killed Moira Anderson and she was going to police, many of them were not exactly thrilled about it and some of them got extremely angry at her. Not because they thought Alex was innocent really — they all knew what sort of man he was, like I said he wasn’t discreet — but because of being embarrassed and not wanting the public to connect Alex with them. It was a small town, you see, and Alex and his relatives were the only people in it with his highly distinct surname.

The book is about Sandra’s childhood with such a father, then the 1992 revelation and search for answers and justice. It is well worth a read.

Moira Anderson article

I found this good article about Moira Anderson, an eleven-year-old girl who’s been missing from Scotland for over half a century now.

There are some cases, like Moira’s, which I would like to be able to profile on Charley if I could. Genette Tate is another. I actually read one of the two books her father wrote about her disappearance, which is available in only two libraries in the US. (The second book isn’t available at any library in the US.) It was written in 1979 and I reflected on how much thinking seems to have changed between now and then. A person quoted in the book said he looked at Genette’s missing child poster photo and thought no one could have kidnapped her for sex because she was so obviously a child, but then he found out it was an old picture (at age 10) and Genette (who was 13 when kidnapped) was actually considerably more developed than the photo showed, and he changed his mind. Apparently it never crossed the man’s mind that someone would want to have sex with a child. 😦

But if I listed those cases, I would have to do the same for them all, and I have a hard enough time keeping track of American cases.