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Red River Girl

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349010991

Price: £20

ON SALE: 7th November 2019

Genre: Biography & True Stories

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Longlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

A gripping account of the unsolved death of an Indigenous teenager, the detective determined to find her killer and a country’s hidden secrets

On 17 August 2014, the body of fifteen-year old Indigenous runaway Tina Fontaine was found weighted down in the Red River in the Canadian city of Winnipeg.

The loss of Tina was a tragedy for her family and for the Indigenous community. But it also exposed a national scandal: Indigenous women are vastly more likely than other Canadians to be assaulted and killed. Over the past few decades, hundreds had been murdered – or simply gone missing. Many of these cases have never been solved.

Tina’s Fontaine’s death caused an outcry across Canada. The police investigation and trial that followed sparked a widespread debate on the treatment of Indigenous women, while the movement protesting those missing and murdered became an international news story.

In an astonishing feat of investigation, award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker Joanna Jolly has reconstructed Tina’s life, from her childhood on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve to her difficult teenage years. Red River Girl is the compelling story of the elaborate police investigation into Fontaine’s death and the detective obsessed with bringing her killer to justice – and an exploration of the dark side of a country known for its tolerance and liberal values. It reveals how Indigenous women, sex workers, community leaders and activists are fighting back to protect themselves and change perceptions. Most importantly, Red River Girl is an unforgettable description of the search for justice.


This is a really important book to read . . . Jolly's skill is to show that this is a deeply embedded problem . . . But she presents all this detailed information in a way to keep you reading, because she is fully aware behind all the problems there are people - people who are important and deserve considerably more. All intelligent adults should read this book to become aware of the depth of the problem and the need to do more. This might be concentrating on Canada, but similar levels of violence and abuse can develop in communities all over the world if regular and respectful communities are allowed to collapse.
Hilary White, NB Magazine
Jolly's gripping, moving and timely book is a true crime classic. In illuminating the story of a single tragic murder, Jolly shines a much needed light on the shocking disappearance and murder of indigenous women across North America. A vital, urgent and humane work.
Melanie McGrath, author of The Long Exile
Joanna Jolly recreates Tina's life and the investigation into her death. It starkly assesses the lack of protection and child services for indigenous children and reveals the sexual exploitation of a community in a country that prides itself on its liberal and supportive values
Francesca Brown, Stylist
Written with the urgency of a thriller, this book uses the tragic death of one girl to expose scandalous levels of violence against Canada's indigenous female population. A shocking story of invisibility, neglect and moral failure on the part of one of the world's most advanced democracies.
Joan Smith, bestselling author of Misogynies
With exacting detail, BBC reporter Joanna Jolly recounts Tina's sometimes tragic life story, her shocking death, the complex police investigation and the detective determined to find her killer. If you were hooked on the Serial podcast, then you need to pre-order this now.
Sarra Manning, Red Magazine