Kathy Lette threatens to sue after being mistaken for chef’s killer

Kathy Lette threatens to sue after being mistaken for chef’s killer
British-Australian author confirms her former and second husbands are still alive amid mix-up

Bestselling author Kathy Lette has said she has threatened to sue an American newspaper for defamation for falsely identifying her as the murderer of an Oregon chef.

Writing in a Sydney Morning Herald column on Saturday about the case, Lette said she asked the Washington-based Courier-Herald for an apology in June for apparently mistaking her for a murderer.

Both Lette and sentenced murderer Nancy Crampton Brophy were authors who had published books with similar titles, which apparently led to the apparent case of misidentification.

On 9 June, Lette said the Courier-Herald published a letter to the editor titled “Kathy Lette’s Conviction”, in reference to a book written by Brophy called How to Murder Your Husband.

The American woman was sentenced days later to life imprisonment on second degree murder charge for killing her husband, Daniel Brophy.

While Brophy did go on to kill her husband after publishing her novel, Lette said she was misidentified as the murderer in question because her own book, How to Kill Your Husband: (and Other Handy Household Hints), has a similar title.

“(The Courier-Herald letter) then goes on to talk about the author whose book about murdering husbands turned out to be fact, not fiction,” said Lette in a statement shared on Facebook on Monday.

“Now, every woman wants to be wanted – just not by Interpol,” Lette added. “Yes, my novel does have a plot to die for, but it’s not a DIY manual. So, the question is, do I sue or let rumours persist that I’m a murderess?”

“As the humorous momentum built, my lovely first husband, Kim Williams got in touch with reassuring words. ‘Last time I looked I was still kicking hard!’,” said Lette. “My lovely second husband Geoffrey Robertson also confirmed that he was still vertical.”

Lette said others had also reached-out to her about social media posts confusing her and Brophy, with the mother of British actor Stephen Fry and former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard expressing their “commiserations” for the identity mix-up.

“I hope you stay one step ahead of the false accusations,” Ms Gillard reportedly wrote in an email. “If you don’t, I will bake a file in a cake for you. Actually the way I bake, you will be able to use the cake as a file!”

Lette said she approached the Courier-Herald after seeking legal advice and added: “What finally persuaded me to seek an apology, which still hasn’t happened, is the fact that Brody’s book is just so badly written. She murders the English language. And I don’t want to take the rap for that.”

The Courier-Herald, however, has published a correction to the piece: “The subhead in the online letter “A perfect example of irony” misidentified the woman who was convicted of murdering her husband on June 13, 2022. It has been updated. Again, we regret the error.”

A jury sentenced Brophy to life in prison without reading the “murder manual”, which was written years before she shot her husband of 26 years to death for a $1.5m life insurance pay-out. Her other novels included titles such as The Wrong Husband and The Wrong Lover.