Reviewing Blaine Pardoe’s Murder in Battle Creek



On a bitterly cold January morning in 1963, in Battle Creek, a woman named Daisy Zick was brutally murdered in her suburban home. 50 years later, the killer has never been found and the mystery remains unsolved. In all likelihood, the killer has passed away; the main suspects in the case certainly have. Yet for the people that lived nearby, those who knew Zick and certainly her family, the murder may as well have happened yesterday.

In his book Murder in Battle Creek: The Mysterious Death of Daisy Zick (The History Press), Blaine Pardoe goes to great lengths to stress that there is still a chance to offer relatives some closure here, that the case doesn’t have to remain unsolved simply because half a century has passed. Rather, he stresses that often, in cases such as this, time has a way of loosening lips. People fear repercussions less when the killer is dead, for example. Murderers sometimes confess on their deathbeds.

Pardoe is startlingly honest in his approach, explaining that Zick was no angel. She had embarked on a number of extramarital affairs and was disliked by a number of wives in the area who considered her a home-wrecker. She had made some enemies, but she certainly didn’t deserve the awful fate that awaited her in ’63.

Pardoe’s book is stark and honest, leaving you felling disjointed but not without hope. When he describes Zick’s now-adult son as, “Still a young boy who wants his mom,” the reader is left furious. You’ll find yourself looking for clues within the prose that others may have missed, and of course there are none. If this case finds closure, it’ll be through an unexpected tip. For now, we can do nothing but honor Zick by getting to know her, allowing her memory to remain, and Pardoe has done a fine job allowing that to happen.

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