David Diaz, Executive, Davenport Laroche
It sounds like the plot of an episode of Law & Order or, maybe more aptly, Murder She Wrote, but now an Oregon novelist is being accused of telegraphing her husband’s brutal murder in a book pitch.
Nancy Brophy is a self-published romance novelist who once wrote a story called “How to Murder Your Husband.” Now, that may not be that unusual, fiction writers contemplate killing characters all the time, but in this case, the 700-word essay strikes an eerily familiar tone to that of an actual crime: the murder of Brophy’s husband, Daniel Brophy. Now, Nancy has been charged with the crime.
Everything about this story screams “headline news,” so there’s no way the case stays out of the media, especially online sources and social media. That means, guilty or innocent, Nancy Brophy is now in the midst of a multi-front PR battle to clear her name, not just legally, but in the court of public opinion.
Brophy’s initial defense is the kind you might expect from a writer with a dubious browser history: “As a romantic suspense writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure… After all, if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail.”
Here, Brophy is trying to argue that she’s too smart and too well-informed about police investigative techniques to be stupid enough to kill anyone, much less her husband.
But reporters have found another interesting connection for this true “made for TV” scenario. In addition to the essay about killing your husband, Brophy has also written a book called “The Wrong Husband,” in which the lead character escapes a bad marriage during a shipwreck and ends up finding love with a stranger.
Adding to the oddities in this story, it was Brophy herself that announced the murder of her husband to the world, posting about it on social media the day after the killing. That has many people wondering about motive. After all, why would a grieving widow tell the world of her husband’s murder in such a public way right after it happened.
Some say the clue lies in her husband-killing essay: “I find it is easier to wish people dead than to actually kill them… I don’t want to worry about blood and brains splattered on my walls. And really, I’m not good at remembering lies. But the thing I know about murder is that every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough.”
A creative writing teacher may call that “foreshadowing.” Currently, investigators may be calling it “probable cause for arrest.” And Brophy? After the initial “why would I?” defense, she’s said little, and her attorney is saying less.