Murder in Little Egypt

Darcy O'Brien

Published by William Morrow & Co, 1988
ISBN 10: 0688071376 / ISBN 13: 9780688071370
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Synopsis: The unimaginable crime of filicide takes on the cast of tragic inevitability in this haunting true tale of violence, greed, revenge, and death. Fusing the narrative power of an award-winning novelist and the detailed research of an experienced investigator, Darcy O'Brien unfolds the story of Dr. John Dale Cavaness, the southern Illinois physician and surgeon who in December 1984 was charged with the murder of his son Sean. Outraged by the arrest of the skilled medical practitioner who selflessly attended to their needs, the people of Little Egypt rose to his defense. In the trial, however, a radically different, disquieting portrait of Dr. Cavaness would emerge. For throughout the three decades that he enjoyed the admiration and respect of his community, Cavaness was privately terrorizing his family, abusing his employees, and making disastrous financial investments as well as brawling and womanizing. What was not revealed in the trial, however, was that seven years earlier, in a homicide that had never been solved, the body of Cavaness's firstborn son, Mark, had been found shot dead in the woods of Little Egypt. In addition to a compelling chronicle that uncovers the truth behind two ghastly crimes and lays bare the Jekyll–Hyde psyche of their perpetrator, Murder in Little Egypt brings into stark midwestern light the hidden, gothic underside of an America bred on violence and bathed in blood. "Stunning material,"—Nobel Prize-winner Seamus Heaney "A meticulous account ... an implicit indictment of a culture that condones and encourages violent behavior in men."—The New York Times Book Review

From Publishers Weekly: The southern triangle of Illinois has been known as Egypt or Little Egypt since 1832, when northern Illinoisans journeyed there to buy corn after a difficult winter. In this riveting historical true-crime acount, we read about John Dale Cavaness, who grew up there and returned to practice medicine when he completed his training. With his second wife he had four sons and became one of the most beloved men in the area, often treating patients without charge. But at home he was tyrannical, beating his wife and eventually leaving her for his mistress, and criticizing his sons. University of Tulsa English professor O'Brien ( The Silver Spooner ) shows how this complex human being disintegrated, turning to drink and drugs and squandering his considerable income on chimerical schemes, until he killed two of his sons, presumably to collect the insurance. Convicted and sentenced to death, Cavaness committed suicide in prison. Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Title: Murder in Little Egypt
Publisher: William Morrow & Co
Publication Date: 1988
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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