Murder in Little Egypt by Darcy O’Brien (September 1989)

Publication Date:
September 1989

Reviewed by:
5 Stars
On March 7, 2012
Last modified:July 15, 2012


Awesome, AWESOME writing! A book difficult to put down!

Dr. John Dale Cavaness did what was expected of him by his parents: he went to college, married a good girl, and then had children.

It would seem he was living the dream, except Dr. Cavaness really had no desire to be settled down with a wife much less to be a father to four children. He was more interested in womanizing, drinking, gambling, and trying his hand at farming.

Murder in Little Egypt by Darcy O'Brien
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Despite his obvious shortcomings, however, Little Egypt townsfolk loved and deeply respected him. After all, Dr. Cavaness was a rare breed of doctor; one who still made house calls and spent time with his patients rather than rushing them through like a herd of cattle.

Even when Dr. Cavaness stood accused of defrauding medical insurance companies, Little Egyptians stood by him, loudly protesting their beloved doctor’s innocence – why, he’d just lost his oldest son, Mark Cavaness to violence and probably wasn’t in his right mind and simply made a few mistakes.

When his second son, Sean Cavaness was brutally murdered and eyewitnesses fingered Dr. Cavaness, his patients still held tight to his innocence. And when they learned of the insurance proceeds the doc collected from his son’s death, they still refused to see him as an evil monster willing to take the lives of his own flesh and blood in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Darcy O’Brien chronicles the life of Dr. Dale Cavaness, his life as a doctor in Little Egypt and as a wayward husband and murderous father, and the trial that took the country doc from Main Street to Missouri’s death row in his 1989 book Murder in Little Egypt.

O’Brien is an absolutely fabulous storyteller who expertly presents the two faces of John Dale Cavaness without turning it into a bumbling mess. The author creates the tale from interviews with surviving family members, Court documents, and newspaper archives for this rich account of a horrific crime that leaves readers wondering just how a parent could kill their own adult child -much less, children, in cold-blood.

From beginning to end, the story told in Murder In Little Egypt is fascinating, well-written, and downright addicting.

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  1. [...] Dr. John Dale Cavaness book: Murder in Little Egypt by Darcy O'Brien [...]

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