One of the very interesting aspects of researching the murder of Dr Cunningham and Nan has been the part played by what might be called “meaningful coincidence”. For example, it was through coincidence that we were led to former neighbours of Dr MacLauchlan.
To wit: after having learned that Dr MacLauchlan had been married three times and that his second wife’s maiden name had been Hambly, we further discovered, first through the archives of Variety magazine (the Bible of American show businesses), that she had been a stage actress in Calgary in the early 1920s.
Trying to find out more about her and the venues where she had performed, I discovered that one showplace had been The Grand, a fine Calgary theatre built by Senator James Lougheed in 1912. The definitive work on The Grand had been written by Professor Don Smith, now retired from the University of Calgary’s History Department. (Don is the author of several books on Canada’s First Nations, including one on noted Native imitator Grey Owl.)
In search of more information on Evelyn Hambly, we struck up an email correspondence with Don Smith. The story does not end there. A few weeks into our correspondence, Rod’s email in-box was graced by the subject line “STOP THE PRESSES!” The body of Don’s mail went on to tell us, in rather excited terms, that his good friend, retired lawyer Jack Pecover, had been a next door neighbour of “Doc and Evelyn” in the late 1940s! Contact with Jack quickly ensued and from it we were able to get much information on the everyday lives of Robert Henry MacLauchlan and Evelyn Hambly, his “toast of the Calgary stage” wife.