Book: The Doctor, the Murder, the Mystery

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The Doctor, the Murder, the Mystery: The True Story of the Dr. John Branion Murder Case

Author: Barbara D'Amato
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

In 1968, Dr. John Branion was found guilty of murdering his wife in their posh Chicago home. After exhausting his appeals, he evaded authorites by fleeing to Africa. He was finally captured in 1983—but his case was far from over. It would take another seven years for Dr. Branion to prove that he was innoent—and that those who prosecuted him had known it all along.


Chicago, 1968. Martin Luther King had just been assassinated. The city lay in fear of black mobs, student unrest, violence in the streets. As Barbara D’Amato says, “It was not a good time to be going to trial for anything. It was an absolutely terrible time to be black and going on trial for murder.” This stirring tale about a clearly innocent man (his alibi was unassailable) shows how a murder investigation can—by narrowing its focus on a “prime suspect”—go completely awry. A good third of the book is about the doctor’s adventures as a fugitive in Africa, where he spends time with such notable figures as Eldridge Cleaver and Idi Amin. The Doctor, the Murder, the Mystery won the Anthony and Agatha Awards for Best True Crime.

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