When psychic Julie Seer moves to Vancouver, her dreams are filled with visions of women being murdered. She doesn’t know who is being killed, or why, until the day Julie goes to a press conference held by the Vancouver Police Station: a press conference to announce the formation of a special task force that will investigate the case of the prostitutes who have gone missing from Vancouver’s East Side.
Detective Constable Santoro Ricci, an officer with the Vancouver Police Department, wants on the special task force. When he happens upon Julie at the press conference, Ricci finds himself unofficially investigating the case. Julie also finds herself having visions where she is transported back in time into the body of a Chinese prostitute in the late 1800s. Through these visions, and stories told to her by long time residents of the city, Julie learns more of the history of Vancouver.
With the help of Francine, an east side prostitute, Julie and Santoro work together to solve the mystery of the missing women. When Francine and Julie are taken by the killer, Santoro must find the missing answers fast.
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In honour of this release - my first with a traditional publisher - I am going to write on certain events in the book. Today it will be the history of prostitution in Vancouver.
Back in 1906, the police chief - C.A. Chisholm - reported that there were 41 brothels in operation and 153 prostitutes working on the street in what is now Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. This led to a vice crackdown which closed all the bordellos and left about 64 prostitutes on the streets.
According to an article I read in an older edition of The Georgia Straight, in 2006 there were about 2,000 sex-trade workers that worked out of various enterprises in the city and around 150 that worked the dangerous are of the Downtown Eastside.
During the first half of the 1900s, there were attempts to clear city of these 'women of ill repute'. There were intense,sweeps where those connected with prostitution were arrested followed by periods where the so-called good folk would turn a blind eye to the activity around them.
There was a long gap between crackdowns during the 1950s and 1960s, which ended in 1975 with a raid on the Penthouse Nightclub.
Suddenly, instead of so many prostitutes conducting their business behind closed doors, the ladies of the evening were once again pushed out onto the streets.
Missing Flowers is fiction. I do not have any stories that I have been told and are relating nor am I trying to make a statement here. Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver's Sex Trade is a nonfiction book that educates and informs. My work entertains.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Vancouver, Georgia Straight, history, prostitution, British Columbia