NBC Dateline’s “Murder in Kitchen One” a better-told mystery than most fictitious movies

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NBC Dateline aired one of its best mysteries (albeit this one was just one hour), “Murder in Kitchen One”.  Here is the Dateline preview, and the NPR/AP summary

In Portland, OR, on (Saturday) June 2, 2018 (two years before the pandemic and Floyd-related unrest) a well known chef Daniel Brophy, 63, is shot dead in his culinary school SW of downtown.  He had run a commercial kitchen and cooking school for decades.

His wife, Nancy Crampton Brophy, 71 (older) had succeeded as a mystery novelist (branded novels called “The Wrong —“) and blogger (maybe following the advice of Blogtyrant).  In 2011, she had written a provocative blog post, “How to Murder Your Husband”.  The post was not allowed into evidence, but it did inspire some prosecutor questions. The video below maintains her actual writing skills and reputation were substandard.

Oddly, she also sold life insurance as an income source.  The couple had been in financial trouble yet she had purchased a lot of insurance on her husband, where she would normally have an insurable interest.

Eventually, evidence would turn up she had driven near the kitchen early that morning.  She would be convicted of second-degree murder.  Her testimony behind the stand was surprisingly dispassionate. The NBC report suggested she wanted a better lifestyle and felt hampered by her everyman husband.

An interesting aspect of the story is Nancy’s purchase of ghost gun components and being unable to assemble them herself without some kind of assistance.  This part of the story got complicated.

The report said her work was self-published.  I just checked Amazon (Site Stripes) and that is true.

The episode certainly brings up the whole question of how a self-published author succeeds in selling books as a commodity, and of writing to sell.  It’s also interesting that she could sell life insurance at the same time without there being some sort of conflict.  I was approached to do this in 2005 by two companies, did the interview with one of them (New York Life) but felt the conflict of interest would be there (even though if it was a logical sequel to having worked for a life company for the last twelve years of my IT career, through two mergers).

(Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 10 AM EDT)