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The Doctor, the Murder, the Mystery: The True Story of the Dr. John Branion Murder Case Hardcover – April, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Noble Pr; No Edition Stated edition (April 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879360136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879360136
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,500,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In 1967 Donna Banion, wife of a wealthy black Chicago obstetrician/gynecologist, was murdered in their apartment. Mystery novelist D'Amato ( Hardball ) has done an outstanding job of re-creating the era and locale to explain what happened and why. John Banion was European-educated and spoke four languages; his wife was the daughter of one of the wealthiest African American families in the Windy City. His lifestyle was flamboyant, featuring a mistress, a boat, thoroughbred horses and auto racing. Although Dr. Banion was found guilty of his wife's murder, D'Amato argues convincingly that he was innocent. Banion fled to Africa, where he spent 12 years before he was returned to Illinois to serve his 20-to-30-year sentence. Appeals filed in state and federal courts failed as his health deteriorated, until he was finally given a pardon a few weeks before he died in prison in 1990. A well-told, horrifying story.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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The book was well written and clear in describing the crime.
Ethel
The police work was shoddy, at best, bolstered by faulty memories and a desire to close the case.
Lawyeraau
In any list of the best works of crime journalism, this book must stand near the top.
jack olsen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 6, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This riveting book chronicles and analyzes the amazing Branion murder case in which Dr. John Branion was arrested, tried, and convicted for the December 1967 murder of his wife, Donna. This was a case that caught the imagination of the public, at the time, as the Branions were a prominent family within the African American community in Chicago. I remember seeing a recap of this case on "Unsolved Mysteries" many years later and thinking that it was just about impossible for the doctor to have committed this crime, unless he could have been in two places at once.
The evidence that led to Dr. Branion's arrest was virtually non-existent and wholly circumstantial, fueled by conjecture and speculation. The police work was shoddy, at best, bolstered by faulty memories and a desire to close the case. Dr. Branion was tried in the then notoriously corrupt criminal justice system of Chicago, Illinois. The defense team was spearheaded by an attorney who was astonishingly inept. The prosecution was led by a veteran prosecutor who evidently left his ethics at home everyday before heading off to work. Many years later, the lead prosecutor acknowledged that he knew that Dr. Branion himself could not have committed the murder but prosecuted him any way, as he believed that Br. Branion had paid someone to kill his wife, despite lacking a scintilla of evidence to support such a theory. To compound this travesty of justice further, the trial was presided over by a corrupt judge who took a payoff and who, many years later, was convicted of taking bribes. Need one say more?
The murder of his wife Donna was to begin an undreamt of odyssey for Dr. Branion. After his conviction, he was permitted to be out on bail while pending appeal. For nearly three years, he waited in limbo, until his appeals were exhausted.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jack olsen on April 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's axiomatic in the publishing business that books with black protagonists will never crack a bestseller list. Thus with "The Doctor, the Murder, the Mystery." Too bad. Barbara D'Amato has written a stunning and terrifying study of our injustice system and its built-in bias toward black defendants, no matter how accomplished or brilliant they may be. It took this superb writer five years to research and write, and no wonder. In any list of the best works of crime journalism, this book must stand near the top. Warning: it will move you to tears. And rage. And maybe make you lose your last vestige of respect for a "justice system" that long ago stopped providing equal justice under law.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Douglas R. Shanklin on November 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding account of a remarkable real life search which proved the innocence of Dr. John M. Branion, convicted in a court of law of the murder of his first wife, Donna. Please note the misspelling of the family name; it is NOT Banion, at least not on my two copies of the book!! The dedication of the writer and her attorney husband toward the solution of false conviction and false imprisonment, but not the crime itself, is an example of welcome dedication to the best of human interest and the never ending search for justice. One should not overlook the severe failings of the judicial system in this case and this book should be read by everyone interested in competent courts and officials, honesty in their dealings, and in protection of the rights of persons accused of a major crime. If only! The case became celebrated long after the crime; TV show "Unsolved Mysteries" has treated this fairly (their first 30 minute piece) and, I am told, it still runs occasionally.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 14, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The chronicle of the events surrounding this book were skillfully presented by d'Amato. I followed every detail and understood exactly how and why the author repeatedly qualified the events to show how ridiculous and sloppy those in authority were in handling this case.
One man's life was wasted because of the folly in judgement of mankind. I will never have the same faith in our justice system again that I had carried all my life. I will think and rethink.
This was a well written book that absorbed me completely - I felt all the pain and frustrations. I will never forget what happened to Dr. John Branion, and the events that subsequently affected the lives of so many
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