Hotel From Hell, The 108 Mile Murders
Local teacher, former coroner, and first time-author, Lisa Pearl Pugh’s new novel promises
to reveal some of the Cariboo’s sordid past!
Hotel From Hell: The 108 Mile Murders is a work of historical fiction that brings to life the well-known Cariboo legend of Gold Rush serial killers, Agnes and Jim McVee. The couple, with the help of their son-in-law, Al Riley, supposedly ran the 108 Mile Hotel for owner William Walker from 1875 to 1885. The McVees abducted girls heading to Barkerville, and then sold them to miners, madams, and gamblers. After the transactions took place, the McVees would shoot the buyers, keep the girls, and dump their victims’ bodies in the small lakes around the hotel. Agnes and Jim stashed their gold in caches around the property
and sold their victims’ horses in the Kamloops area.
Although their story of murder, greed, abductions, and white slavery cannot be fully validated, many facts remain. One of the most compelling facts is that buried gold has been found along the old Cariboo Wagon Road very near the property. In 1924, a local rancher found a cache worth $2,500, one mile from the original roadhouse foundations. Then in the 1960’s, Block Brothers Realty developed the 108 Mile as a residential community, and unearthed $6,000 in nuggets while constructing the 108 Mile airstrip. Estimates have put the McVees’ caches at between $100,000 to $150,000 dollars, equating to millions of dollars today, but only a fraction of this ill-gotten treasure has ever been unearthed.
Image# E-02793 Courtesy of the Royal BC Museum & Archives
Pugh weaves the real-life story of the McVees with her two main fictitious characters, a morally conscious, Victorian-era schoolteacher and a rough and ready Barkerville miner. Each chapter flips back and forth between the two characters to tell the plot from their dual viewpoints. This is a travelling story, and delivers cameos of famous BC historical figures, as well as, tidbits of real BC history. The reader is taken along for the ride with prim schoolmarm, Constance Neat, and her adventurous companion, Liam MacDonald as they try to uncover the whereabouts of their missing siblings who were last seen near the 108 Mile Hotel.