Nancy Crampton Brophy

posted: 19 March 2021 | categories: Killer Women, Killer Writers

There is little more surreal than a romance author who kills her own husband. But that is, allegedly, exactly what Nancy Crampton Brophy did.


the crime

On June 2, 2018, Daniel Brophy was found by students at the Oregon Culinary Institute where he was both a chef and an instructor. He was unconscious but soon died at the scene. He had been shot twice with a Glock 9mm handgun.[1]Davies, Erica. “‘How To Murder Your Husband’ Author Accused of Murdering Her Husband for $1.1 Million Life Insurance Policy.” The Sun, 30 Apr. 2020, The Sun, … Continue reading

At first, there was little to go on. There were no signs of a struggle in the Institute’s kitchen. Nor was anything stolen from the victim. And Daniel Brophy was both well-known and beloved in the community. But then a variety of things began to point toward Brophy’s own wife.[2]Kavanaugh, Shane D. “Oregon Romance Writer Charged with Killing Chef Husband Denied Bail, Judge Rules.” The Oregonian, 29 Apr. 2020, The Oregonian, … Continue reading


the evidence

Prior to his death, Nancy Crampton Brophy acted as her own agent to take out a variety of life insurance policies on her husband. She also filed a worker’s compensation claim, since he had been killed in the workplace. And his wife was the beneficiary of all of them.[3]“Romance Novelist Accused of Murdering Chef Husband for Life Insurance: Court Docs Detail Allegations ahead of Bail Hearing.” Fox 12, 27 Apr. 2020, Fox 12, … Continue reading In addition, she’d expressed interest in selling their home, which would add to the financial windfall.[4]Kavanaugh, Shane D. “Oregon Romance Writer Charged with Killing Chef Husband Denied Bail, Judge Rules.” The Oregonian, 29 Apr. 2020, The Oregonian, … Continue reading This gave her husband a posthumous worth of over $1.5 million

When her computer was searched, a variety of odd searches and saved articles were found. One article was entitled “10 Ways to Cover Up a Murder.”[5]“Romance Novelist Accused of Murdering Chef Husband for Life Insurance: Court Docs Detail Allegations ahead of Bail Hearing.” Fox 12, 27 Apr. 2020, Fox 12, … Continue reading And there were two interesting searches, including those looking for “ghost guns” and “Glock 17 slide for sale.”[6]Minutaglio, Rose. “A Romance Novelist Wrote About Killing Her Husband—Then He Was Found Murdered.” Elle, 30 Apr. 2020, … Continue reading Investigators discovered that just months before his murder, Mrs. Brophy purchased a Glock 17 at a gun show. Later, she purchased both a slide and a barrel for it on Ebay. Investigators believe she removed the original slide and barrel and replaced them with the Ebay set as a forensic countermeasure, putting the original back on it once she shot her husband. This would enable her to give the police a weapon whose shell casings would not match those found at the crime scene. However, the Ebay set has never been found.[7]“Romance Novelist Accused of Murdering Chef Husband for Life Insurance: Court Docs Detail Allegations ahead of Bail Hearing.” Fox 12, 27 Apr. 2020, Fox 12, … Continue reading

More damning is Mrs. Brophy herself. She told investigators that she had still been in bed when her husband had left for the Institute, that she had stayed at home. However, surveillance video shows this not to be true. The footage shows her driving her minivan near the school in the moments before and after her husband was shot.[8]Kavanaugh, Shane D. “Oregon Romance Writer Charged with Killing Chef Husband Denied Bail, Judge Rules.” The Oregonian, 29 Apr. 2020, The Oregonian, … Continue reading


the irony

Beyond the mere idea of a romance author murdering her own husband in cold blood is that Nancy Crampton Brophy wrote about just that in an article titled “How to Murder Your Husband.” In the article, she shared her knowledge of police procedures, as well as the chilling fact that she thought about murder frequently.[9]“Romance Novelist Accused of Murdering Chef Husband for Life Insurance: Court Docs Detail Allegations ahead of Bail Hearing.” Fox 12, 27 Apr. 2020, Fox 12, … Continue reading

“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.”[10]article from See Jane Publish blog, now archived.

works cited[+]

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