The “Mr. Big” Sting: The Cases, the Killers, the Controversial Confessions by Mark Stobbe

True crime aficionados can rejoice, for here is a very insightful look into the so-called “Mr. Big” sting operations that have been carried out by the RCMP and other police forces over the years. There are a lot of surprising elements in Mark Stobbe’s book. For instance, it was the RCMP that devised and perfected Mr. Big over the years. I simply took it for granted that it would have been an American tactic to get criminals to confess, but no, it was created here in Canada. In fact, as I came to learn, it is little used in the USA.

“The bottom line is that if a person tells Mr. Big they have killed someone, they and their associates have a very good chance of going to jail for a very long time.”

What is the “Mr. Big” sting? There is no one person who portrays Mr. Big, rather, police create an imaginary criminal gang to trick homicide suspects into a confession. “Mr. Big” is the top boss who requires the prospective gang member to come clean of his offences so that he can make them ‘go away’. Mr. Big is typically used as a last resort when evidence fails to fully incriminate a suspect. It is elaborate and expensive to stage a Mr. Big sting, but it is effective. It is not without its pitfalls too, and it has its detractors. Nevertheless, it has put men and women behind bars who would otherwise have never been convicted of murder. They are the next best thing to a smoking gun at a murder scene.

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The “Mr. Big” Sting follows several cases of unsolved murders into which police decided to bring Mr. Big into the picture. The murders and facts of the case are examined, legal aspects are discussed and after all avenues of conviction are exhausted, Mr. Big is brought in.

Fascinating in its reach, especially for those who like “Law and Order” type shows and stories where criminal cases in which police, lawyers, judges, and the legal system are all involved, The “Mr. Big” Sting: The Cases, the Killers, the Controversial Confessions is a book you need to read.


Mark Stobbe has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan and has taught at Keyano College and Okanagan College. He began studying the criminal justice system after being accused and acquitted of the murder of a loved one. Dr. Stobbe now lives and works in Regina, Saskatchewan.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ ECW Press (Sept. 28 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 264 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1770416129
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1770416123

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Bryan Davies
November 23, 2021 19:43

Enjoyed this review and I look forward to reading this book. I am currently working on a ‘Mr Big’ story that involved a 1975 cold case murder that occurred in Raglan (near Oshawa, Ontario) – the 2014 trial resulted in charges being withdrawn when the judge concluded that the alleged killer’s two ‘Mr. Big’-based confessions were inadmissible (coercion) – a highly controversial decision. The accused man sued the prosecutors and police for $19 million, a claim that is not yet resolved. But to James’ point about ‘Mr. Big’ and its Canadian roots, UK and Australian law enforcement agencies have apparently made the most use of this Canadian export -m and our Supreme Court has (with qualifications) sanctioned its use. Thanks James.

Bryan Davies
Reply to  James M. Fisher
November 24, 2021 07:31

Hi James – yes, I am really looking forward to reading this book (if the case (Allan Smith) is included, the still unresolved civil liability issues regarding police ‘Mr. Big’ conduct will be an interesting denouement. Police and prosecutor friends of mine joke that Canada is famed for 3 exports – Maple syrup, poutine … and Mr. Big.

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