Murder & Misconduct

Non-Fiction - True Crime
188 Pages
Reviewed on 08/09/2016
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Author Biography

Cheryl was born in Toowoomba and raised in Miles, before moving to Brisbane in her late teens. Since 1998, she has been meticulously investigating and writing about these crimes, using a mass of impeccable research at her disposal. After gaining a deep respect for historical true crime, these stories have taken her from various dark and gruesome places, to the joys of meeting some incredible and humorous people. True life mysteries intrigue, engulf and sometimes magnify a sense of belief, but unfortunately these stories are steeped with horrific acts of violence.

Her introduction to the Gatton murders was at the age of twelve or thirteen when her mother made a comment while driving through the township. Curious, she raised a barrage of questions, but her mother could only repeat the local gossip, that Mr Murphy was involved. For some reason it was an answer that she refused to believe. For years the Murphy tragedy continued to torment her, and now she dares to dispute the circumstances and dispel those evil rumours. When she began, she had no idea of the enormity surrounding these cases, where they would lead to, or the outcome.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

Murder & Misconduct by Cheryl Fagan is a heartbreaking non-fiction piece, a well-written true crime dating back to 1898. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, six people were murdered in Australia. Pat Kenniff was convicted and hanged for the crimes while his brother, James, was sentenced to life. The cases could have been closed, but the Royal Commission and the public were asking questions. Who actually committed these murders? Had the police got the right guys? In this ground-breaking work, Fagan shows with unusual skill the loopholes in the investigation and the possibility of a grave miscarriage of justice.

Murder & Misconduct seems to be well researched and the author has done a wonderful job in providing references. The book raises very serious questions and comes across as a powerful critique of police misconduct and the way the murder investigation was carried out. Working with reputable sources, Cheryl Fagan offers clues that indicate the persons convicted for these crimes might have been innocent. The writing is fluid, accessible, and well-edited. Fagan doesn’t mince words when it comes to stating facts, and her work is validated with extensive research and sources, including police records, telegraphs, subject files, and a lot more.

I love to read true crime, but it is rare to find one that is laced with facts. This book is a serious protest document, a strong reproach of police conduct, and a compelling call for justice. As you read this book, you have the feeling that the author witnessed the crimes and participated in the investigation, because of her references and confident writing. This book will show another side of the police that most readers are unaware of. I loved this book.

Jack Magnus

Murder & Misconduct is an historical true crime book written by Cheryl Fagan. The author presents the details of three instances of brutal murders in Queensland, Australia that took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the subsequent investigations into each of them. In 1898, Alfred Hill was a fifteen-year-old boy who had been travelling to visit relatives and never arrived at his destination. When he didn't return home as expected, his father immediately sought help from the police, but was rebuffed. He had no choice but to search for his son on his own. Alfred’s shot and decapitated body was only discovered several weeks later -- the murderer was never apprehended. Several weeks after that, Michael, Nora and Ellen Murphy traveled into Gatton to attend a dance, but the siblings never made it back home again. Their bodies were discovered in a paddock the next morning. Inspector Urquhart took charge of this case, but, once again, the killer was not apprehended. In 1902, Albert Dahlke and Constable George Doyle were murdered. While one of the legendary Kennicks was found guilty and executed for this set of murders, there have always been questions about his actual guilt.

Cheryl Fagan's historical true crime book, Murder & Misconduct, is an absorbing and impeccably researched look into a series of horrific crimes that stunned the residents of Queensland at the turn of the 20th century. Fagan weaves a tale of Queensland’s frontier past, and she populates it courtesy of an impressive amount of photographs of the people, places and actual crime scenes that are the subject of this book. Murder & Misconduct is well-written, and the facts of each crime are presented fully and dispassionately. I was stunned to see the actual crime scene where the bodies of the Murphy siblings were found, and felt that the photographs of the locations and the people involved gave this account an impressive sense of immediacy. Fagan includes a comprehensive list of references set out by chapter, with links where available, as well as citations for each of her photos. Murder & Misconduct is fascinating and well worth the time spent reading it for anyone interested in true crime or history. It's highly recommended.

Maria Beltran

Murder & Misconduct by Cheryl Fagan is a non-fiction true crime story that opens near Oxley, Australia with the disappearance of fifteen-year-old Alfred Hill on December 10, 1898, and his worried father being given the run-around by the police. A few weeks later, Alfred was found dead and his murderer never caught. In December 26, 1898, the Murphy siblings were attacked while returning home to Tent Hill from a cancelled dance in Gatton. Michael Murphy was beaten and shot dead, while his sisters, Nora and Ellen, were raped and bludgeoned to death, and the case was never solved. And in 1902, a policeman and a station manager were murdered in the Carnarvon Ranges. This book serves as an introduction to the author’s extensive research surrounding the chain of events that exposes the failure of the authorities in giving justice to the victims and their families.

Cheryl Fagan’s Murder & Misconduct narrates the events of 1898 when Australia was shocked by the murders of Alfred Hill, and Michael, Nora and Ellen Murphy. Gathering factual accounts and statements from witnesses, the author reconstructs as faithfully as possible what really happened during those fateful days, and the picture that comes out of it is gruesome. And I am not only talking about the senseless murders, but also the way it was handled by the authorities, notably Inspector Urquhart. A third crime also occurred in 1902, which can be linked to the Hill and Murphy murders. This book successfully takes us back to late 19th and early 20th century Australia and the unfortunate incidents that revealed the inefficiency of the Queensland Police Force at that time and, as such, it is a very informative and interesting read.

Vernita Naylor

Cheryl Fagan became intrigued by the town gossip of the Gatton murders in which siblings Michael, Nora, and Ellie Murphy were killed. Cheryl was so curious as to the actual story behind the legendary murders that she set out on a quest to discover the truth, and Murder & Misconduct was born. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century there were six separate murders in Queensland, Australia. Alfred Hill, a 15-year-old, was found shot and decapitated after delivering a letter; Michael Murphy was found shot in the head while his sisters, Nora and Theresa Ellen, ‘Ellie, were found assaulted and bludgeoned to death after leaving their home on Tent Hill to go to a dance in Gatton. Albert Dahlke and Constable George Doyle were shot and set on fire. The mystery is not only who did it, but were they all linked together?

It's exciting that Murder & Misconduct by Cheryl Fagan is the appetizer, a prequel, to Murder & Misconduct: The Complete Files which will provide more detailed information into the underground world of these three historical murders. In Murder & Misconduct, Cheryl offers a wealth of information and detail about the lives of the victims, from missing ads to telegrams, as well as the history pertaining to the people in the surrounding areas. As you read Murder & Misconduct, you will get a more in-depth account of the stories supported by pictures to help tell them. Do you think that Cheryl found the answers that she was looking for? Get your copy of Murder & Misconduct to find out.

Sefina Hawke

Murder & Misconduct by Cheryl Fagan is a non-fiction book on true crime, specifically three incidents that left six people murdered in the late 19th century through the early 20th century. Murder & Misconduct will appeal to true crime fans who are interested in crime in Australia. The book follows the murders of Alfred Hill, and siblings Michael, Norah, and Ellen Murphy, as well as a policeman, and a station manager. Murder & Misconduct serves to highlight the abysmal conduct of the police when dealing with the murders, and raises the question about whether the guilty were ever actually punished.

Murder & Misconduct has an intriguing cover that conveys the purpose of the book. It is a well written book that has a reference for every piece of information supplied; the references made me feel comfortable in the knowledge that the book was truly researched. Cheryl Fagan uses photos and images in very appropriate places that helped me to understand that I was reading about real people who had been brutally murdered, not just fictional characters. While Murder & Misconduct is non-fiction, Cheryl Fagan managed to write it in the style of a murder mystery novel, which allows the reader to become interested in what happened and not bored by dry history. I enjoyed reading Murder & Misconduct by Cheryl Fagan and I look forward to reading more of Cheryl Fagan’s books.