The authors of Lingering Doubts: Going Inside Brisbane’s Arcade Murder represent the heart of true crime investigative writing.
Deb Drummond and Janice Teunis are the granddaughters of a man named Reginald Brown. Brown, a respected Brisbane accountant, had his world turned upside down in 1947 when he was arrested for the murder of his 19-year-old typist Bronia Armstrong. Bronia’s partly-clad body was found on January 11 in a room of the Brisbane Associated Friendly Society in the Wallace Bishop Arcade building where Brown worked.
The case was a sensation in Australia’s newspapers and his family and friends could not match the loving, moral and community-minded man with who was being portrayed in newspapers and by police. In March 1947 Brown was sentenced to life imprisonment. Throughout he had maintained his innocence. He spent just nine days in prison before being found in his cell, hanging by his belt.
Brown’s last ever note read: “To Whom it May Concern,“I did not kill Bronia Armstrong. My conscience is clear. RWS Brown”.
The book delves into exhaustive detail about the case and trial and interwoven is family history, interviews with those who knew Brown and Miss Armstrong, people involved at the time and the aftermath of the tragedy on those left behind. The authors never knew their grandfather but this book is a testament to the man who they believe was innocent of the murder.
There is plenty to back up their belief that Brown was framed for the murder – Queensland was a hotbed of police and political corruption for decades during the 20th century (for readers google “The Fitzgerald Inquiry” to start read about Queensland corruption). A senior police officer in the case, a man called Frank Bischof, looms large as a central figure and as the authors detail, he was named as a key player by The Fitzgerald Inquiry in the “unscrupulous conduct” by Queensland Police. (By the time of the inquiry in 1987, Bischof was deceased.)
The passion and dogged determination of the authors make Lingering Doubts a fascinating read. The memory of Bronia Armstrong is also sensitively dealt with and it is never forgotten that this young woman’s life was cruelly taken.
This is a standout Australian true crime book. My utmost respect to the authors.
Read more at the website Lingering Doubts.