Giuseppina "Pina" Nerone was just 25 when her sister Felicia found her strangled in her bathtub.
The hot water, now cold, was still running and Nerone was clad in her bathrobe as she lay lifeless in the water at her home in the concrete tower at 33 Cote St.Catherine apartment 810 on Nov. 24, 1986.
Her skin had been badly scalded, as she had been left in extremely hot water.
Nerone was well-known and respected as the Reservations Director at the Shangri-La Hotel, now a Best Western at 3407 Peel near Sherbrooke.
Staff considered her part of the inner circle Shang Gang, as workplace friends that met outside of work.
She was given the prestigious task of guiding an important delegation from Disney around Montreal.
Nerone's Chinese robe, as seen in this photo, was part of the East Asian theme of the 200-room Shangri-La, opened after Pogh Lin Ho and her partner Chong Siong Lin bought it for $6 million in 1985. It went bankrupt eight years later with $30 million in debt and is now a Best Western.
The Allo Police crime tabloid reported that Nerone had quarreled frequently with her boyfriend Vincent J. Lilly prior to her death.
"They painted a real nasty portrayal of it," Lilly told Coolopolis this week.
Lilly was well-known in Montreal as lead singer of funk band Kinky Foxx, which had a loyal and enduring following as the unofficial house band of the Checkers bar on Park above Mount Royal from about 1982 to 1991.
Lilly took over from Johnny Kemp who went solo after only a few visits to Montreal and was described by some as being reminiscent of Michael Jackson.
Lilly notes that he was engaged to be married to Nerone at the time of her death.
"We never broke up. We had our arguments like every couple. She invited me to meet the Disney troop when they came to the hotel she worked for," he wrote. .
Lilly was not connected to the death of his girlfriend Nerone, so the crime tabloid article playing up their disagreements seems unfair. The negative publicity did not hurt his career however as the band kept going strong for several more years in these parts. Whoever killed Nerone might never be known.
Stories like this fill the must-read Montreal: 375 Tales of Eating, Drinking, Living and Loving, order your paper copy here now or buy it at Indigo or Paragraph.