The Slatest

Novelist Who Wrote an Essay Called “How to Murder Your Husband” Accused of Murdering Her Husband

The mugshot of Nancy Crampton Brophy
Nancy Crampton Brophy
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

A 68-year-old romance novelist living in a suburb of Portland who self-published an essay entitled “How to Murder Your Husband” seven years ago was arrested last week on charges of murdering her husband.

Nancy Crampton Brophy was arrested on a preliminary charge of domestic violence murder after her husband was fatally shot on June 2 at the culinary school where he worked. A neighbor told the Oregonian she seemed “hardly fazed” after the death, but prosecutors have kept quiet about their case against her or any possible motive.

“As a romantic suspense writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about murder and, consequently, about police procedure,” Crampton Brophy had written in the essay, according to the Oregonian. “After all, if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail.”

In the essay, she also wrote about potential motives, including infidelity and more practical considerations: “Divorce is expensive, and do you really want to split your possessions?”

She added—after saying she didn’t want to actually kill people because she would be bad at keeping the lies straight and because she didn’t want “ blood and brains splattered on my walls”—that she believed “every one of us have it in him/her when pushed far enough.”

If she committed the crime she is accused of, she certainly did not spend the past seven years refining an airtight plan. She is either the world’s worst alleged murderer, or the unluckiest person alive.

Crampton Brophy had been married to her husband, Daniel Brophy, a chef at a Portland culinary school, for 27 years. The Oregonian described him as a beloved instructor with an “offbeat sense of humor” and expertise in mushrooms and gardening. The two “lived a quiet life together in the suburbs, raising chickens and tending a big garden.”