top of page
3d cover.jpg

The Cold Case Search for the
Mackinac Island Killer

When widow Frances Lacey was murdered in July 1960 on Mackinac Island, only a few meager clues were found by police, and the case soon turned cold. But more than sixty years later, will those same clues finally solve the mystery?

On July 24, 1960, the quaint charm and serenity of Mackinac Island, nestled in Lake Huron between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, was shattered by Lacey’s brutal death. Despite a massive manhunt and thousands of pages of police reports, her killer was never caught.

Now, in GRIM PARADISE, true crime author Rod Sadler (Killing Women) delves into the secrets of one of Michigan's most perplexing murder cases. Offering an in-depth and suspenseful account of the long-standing mystery, he poses the question:

Could advanced DNA technology lead to the identity of the Mackinac Island murderer as it did recently in the case of the Golden State Killer?

Find out in GRIM PARADISE: The Cold Case Search for the Mackinac Island Killer.

Click here for a signed copy from the author


Click here to order from Amazon for multiple formats




"Grim Paradise is a concise narrative and draws the reader into the investigative arena. It's well written, concise, and spellbinding, while providing the true anatomy of a cold case homicide investigation. A terrific read."

~Wm. Lenaghan, Mackinac Island Chief of Police (ret.), Cold Case Investigator

"Things like this aren't supposed to happen on Mackinac Island. In Grim Paradise, Rod Sadler's access to the actual police file regarding the murder of Frances Lacey adds much to this sad story, and as a retired police officer, his methodological "investigation of the investigation" and reporting of this crime are second to none."

~Deb Malewski, Historian and Researcher, Contributing Writer, Community News

"In Grim Paradise, Rod Sadler has done a very good job of researching the materials, providing references and explaining the events in this years-old case. He did an exceptional job in explaining what the family members have gone through in addition to the feelings and fears of the community." 

~Detective Edwin Moore, Livingston County Sheriff's Office (ret.), Cold Case Investigator

"Rod Sadler, a seasoned retired police officer and now best-selling author, has applied his thirty years of law enforcement experience to the unsolved murder of Frances Lacey to try and discover the truth. Grim Paradise creates a suspenseful, page turning account of this 63-year-old mystery, including some of Mackinac Island's deepest secrets. Sadler brings the reader hope for solving this brutal murder with the possibility that the same advanced DNA technology that recently solved the Golden State Killer case might now solve the Lacey murder.

~Alan R. Warren, NBC News Radio, Los Angeles, and Best-selling Author

"In Grim Paradise, the investigation into Frances Lacey's murder is an unyielding quest to bring a killer to justice and closure to the victim's family. This is a must read for true crime enthusiasts, and anyone familiar with Mackinac Island who enjoys modern Michigan history."

- David Ostrem, Michigan police officer (ret.)

"Rod Sadler gives voices to the victims we may never have heard otherwise, keeping these cases in the mind of the collective public, using true crime as a venue to center victims and their stories. His writing walks the line between entertaining and educational, a true talent which makes his work unique. In Grim Paradise: The Cold Case Search for the Mackinac Island Killer, he continues his tradition of illustrating the cases which continue to fascinate and frustrate us.


Sadler’s background as an investigator and his talent as an author combine to weave a story which humanizes Frances Lacey and focuses the investigation on those suspects who may have been responsible for her death. Throughout, the cast of witnesses and investigators are prominently featured, weaving an intricate web of mystery, and illustrating the impact of Lacey’s death on so many.  Despite the title of the book, in which we are directly told that this case is unsolved, the reader continues to furiously turn the pages, hopeful that Sadler has found a missing piece of the puzzle. If anyone could, it would be him.


Grim Paradise is a compelling story and a tribute to the life of Frances Lacey, which tragically and violently ended too soon. Sadler’s story places us at the center of the case, in the heart of paradise, where the unthinkable can and does happen. It illustrates how these cases can tear through communities, the indelible mark they leave, and how they continue to cause tremors, even decades later for those of us with no direct connection. Though there is no shortage of suspects, some are more likely than others, Sadler is careful to maintain the objectivity of an investigator.   

The end of the book leaves us with so many frustrations and questions. One of the most glaring: Where is her watch? It is the readers hope that somewhere, somehow, someone reads this book and has the answer. Regardless, the gift of Sadler’s story is that Frances Lacey is not forgotten, and each time a reader opens this book, she is remembered." 

~Karen Holt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University

"Leaning on his background in law enforcement, [Sadler] examines the 1960 investigation into the death of Frances Lacey through a modern-day lens, reigniting hope that Mackinac Island's only unsolved murder might be solvable yet. This one's a must-read!"

~Jenn Carpenter, author of The Cereal Killer Chronicles of Battle Creek and Haunted Lansing

"In Grim Paradise: The Cold Case Search for the Mackinac Island Killer, Rod Sadler does what he does best by giving the reader an in-depth, inside look into the investigation of the murder of widow and mother Frances Lacey at one of Michigan's most beloved vacation spots. Sadler's background in law enforcement allows him to write about crime with true attention to detail. Here, Sadler gives us so much more than a glimpse at a horrific tragedy that shouldn't be forgotten. It's an engrossing read."

~ Rachel Greco, Lansing State Journal

"In Grim Paradise, award-winning author Rod Sadler endeavors to investigate the sixty-year-old Mackinac Island Killer cold case and amazingly uncovers [a possible] culprit. Can advanced DNA technology now close one of Michigan's most perplexing murder cases? Grim Paradise is the unforgettable true story of one of Michigan's most mysterious murders."

~Dan Zupansky, host and producer of True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers in True Crime History, and author of Trophy Kill: The Shall We Dance Murder

bottom of page