About Nate Hendley
Nate is a Toronto-based journalist and true-crime author who has written over a dozen non-fiction books about gangsters, wrongful convictions, cons and hoaxes, and illegal drugs, among other topics. His last book, The Boy on the Bicycle: A Forgotten Case of Wrongful Conviction in Toronto, was a finalist in the Arthur Ellis Awards for excellence in crime writing in 2019 and was longlisted for “The Very Best!” Book Awards 2018 by The Miramichi Reader. Nate also hosts a blog, Crime Story, devoted to crime-related topics.
Nate’s latest book, The Beatle Bandit, tells the story of Matthew Kerry Smith who robbed a bank in 1964 wearing a Halloween mask and a Beatle wig. Smith’s murderous heist fuelled a nationwide debate about guns, capital punishment and insanity pleas. It will be released in November 2021 by Dundurn Press.
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From the publisher:
The sensational true story of how a bank robber killed a man in a wild shootout, sparking a national debate around gun control and the death penalty.
On July 24, 1964, twenty-four-year-old Matthew Kerry Smith disguised himself with a mask and a Beatle wig, hoisted a semi-automatic rifle, then held up a bank in North York, Ontario.
The intelligent but troubled son of a businessman and mentally ill mother, Smith was a navy veteran with a young Indigenous wife and a hazy plan for violent revolution.
Outside the bank, Smith was confronted by Jack Blanc, a former member of the Canadian and Israeli armies, who brandished a revolver. During a wild shootout, Blanc was killed, and Smith escaped — only to become the object of the largest manhunt in the history of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force.
Dubbed “The Beatle Bandit,” Smith was eventually captured, tried, and sentenced to hang. His murderous rampage had tragic consequences for multiple families and fuelled a national debate about the death penalty, gun control, and the insanity defence.
To learn more about Nate’s other books, visit his website.
“With this absorbing, deeply researched tale of a troubled, gun obsessed bank robber-turned-killer in 1960s Toronto, veteran true crime writer Nate Hendley has scored another triumph.”Dean Jobb, author of The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream and Empire of Deception
“A fascinating, bizarre, important story told by one of the country’s top true crime writers.Peter Edwards, Toronto Star crime reporter and author
What’s not to enjoy? The Beatle Bandit is a hit.”
“A fascinating true crime story that weaves meticulously researched factsDesmond P. Ryan, Retired Toronto Police Detective and author
and compassionate observations into a gripping narrative that is as much historical as
entertaining. Hendley’s eye for detail provides the reader with an engaging account of life
in 1960s Toronto, a bank robbery gone bad, mental illness, the Canadian judicial system, and the
individuals who were a part of those places.”