reader reviews

Here's a collection of reviews & thoughtful words from supportive readers...
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“I think it’s amazing what Deb and Jan have done,” says [Bob] Bottom. 
“Let me tell you, I have been involved in investigative journalism for half a century, and they’ve done a job in some ways more professional than many professional journalists.”  
Matthew Condon (Murder in the Frame), QWeekend April 12-13 

‘It is astonishing to look at the Reg Brown murder case through contemporary eyes, 
and this is one of the finer achievements of Lingering Doubts. 
The passage of time has revealed the flaws in the design.’ 
Matthew Condon, QWeekend April 12-13, 2014

Janet Akroyd-Stuart (Half a World Away) - December 2015
Having read Lingering Doubts I have much admiration for author's, Deb and Janice's meticulous research. They have delved into all aspects of their grandfather's murder case and have dug-up evidence not presented at his trial which could have proved his innocence, but which police ignored at the time. Perhaps if  Reg's granddaughters had been around at the time of his arrest he would never have been implicated as most of the police evidence (the author's have collated) point to it as being circumstantial.  

I found Lingering Doubts to be a most interesting and well-documented read.
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Nicholas Bunning - November 2015
Authors Deb Drummond and Janice Teunis are the grand-daughters of Reginald Brown, convicted of the 1947 murder of his typist Bronia Armstrong in an office above a Brisbane CBD arcade.
The aim of their book ‘Lingering Doubts’ is to shed light on the inconsistencies and flaws of the murder investigation and trial, and provide a balanced view on what happened all those years ago. In this, it succeeds admirably.
Meticulously researched over an eight year period, the book is extremely well-written, with a structure and flow which carry the reader forward. It becomes patently clear that a great deal of evidence supporting Reg Brown’s story was overlooked or suppressed, as once police had decided he was their man, they focused their investigation on this and excluded any evidence which didn’t fit their theory. At the trial, witnesses whose testimony would have supported Mr Brown were never called, and there were major inadequacies in the defence’s handling of their client’s case.
The authors also examine the aftermath of Reg’s conviction and death, and the long-term effects on his family, who were left behind to pick up the pieces. It’s worth noting that the victim of this terrible murder, Bronia Armstrong, and her grieving family, are at all times treated with great respect.
I highly recommend ‘Lingering Doubts.’
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John and Barbara Bayntun - 28 October, 2015

I want to let you know that I have just finished your book & thoroughly enjoyed it as I kept wanting to know your final outcome on the matter.  All I can say is, what a terrible injustice & although I didn't know your grandfather, I believe he was innocent & if nobody was ever rightly charged, the Police were the guilty ones. Congratulations to Janice & yourself for bringing so much to the public notice of just how much crime there is in our police force which I guess we have always been aware of but in those days, I think it was worse because of the lack of being able to check & testing of vital evidence.  What a terrible time your Dad & the family must have gone through & to carry this burden throughout their lives. Hopefully through your book something may come to light but I guess, most people of that era have deceased so will never know.  Thank you for your descriptions of Brisbane, places that I remember & to think some of them are still standing, I would love to visit if ever in Brisbane.  Anyway, thank you for a great read especially knowing Ian.  Also, the amount of evidence you uncovered, you did better than the Police.

Re new evidence - what a terrible thing to learn of the amateur acting class which could have changed the scenario quite considerably had they followed it up as it should have been but I guess, it was just one of many things that should have been investigated further.I just hope that Ian can come to terms with what happened now that all this has come to light, a terrible burden to have to carry throughout ones life..
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  Emily Webb - 5 August, 2015
My goodness! An amazing review from Melbourne journalist and true crime author, Emily Webb. Thank you so much Emily.
Click to read review on true crime reader
About Emily Webb

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 Ken Blanch - 3 May, 2015

Lingering Doubts, going inside Brisbane's Arcade murder provides compelling evidence for the modus operandi of unscrupulous police in mid-20th century Queensland. What they did in those days was identify a suspect through circumstances and then try to fit the evidence to their suspicions.  This led to false conclusions and to the obfuscation of the real facts.
In the old Queensland police force, advancement was very much as a result of success and those seeking it very often were not concerned with how their achievements came about.
Not only did police actively seek evidence that would damage the suspect, they also actively ignored anything that might be in the suspect's favour.  This sometimes led to vigorous protection of wrongdoers in the interests of the police and/or politicians.
 I have demonstrated this in my recent bookette, Marjorie Norval: the girl a railway station swallowed, about the disappearance of Marjorie Norval in 1938, nine years earlier than Reg Brown's case.
Frank Bischof was involved in investigating that case too. He often boasted to me privately, when I was chief crime reporter for the old Brisbane Telegraph and he headed the CIB during the 1950s, of how he resorted to trickery to disadvantage suspects and even obtain questionably incriminating admissions from them  (now known more popularly among police as verballing).
Deb Drummond and Janice Teunis' analysis of likely alternatives for the assumptions police made according to circumstance in their investigation of Bronia Armstrong's death has been thorough and enlightening, and well and truly justifies the title. Congratulations.

(Marjorie Norval: The girl a railway station swallowed is available from Seagle Crime Stories at
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Noela Whitton - 15 Feb 2014
I would like you and Jan to know how moved I was to read your story. The most revealing evidence came in the early chapters, especially from Kerr but the awful tragedy (for the family) was contained in the words from Ian Brown.
He "knew" his father could not possibly have done this terrible deed, he'd only recently begun to have strong feelings for Bronia, he was totally confused because of the inept handling of the case, and he was a victim, as we all were at the time, of the almost universal belief that the police always behaved honourably.
My heart broke, when I read that even friends began to slip away. Was it really necessary to remove two fingernails, I wonder? And that little trio seemed to vanish in the shadows of Turbot Street. 
Lingering Doubts is a work of considerable scholarship and you, and your publisher, must be proud to finally hold it in your hands. 
Congratulations from Noela Whitton

Much appreciated, sincere thanks Noela, we will pass your thoughts onto Ian.

Deb and Jan

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Kate Chappell - 3 Feb 2014
Your email prompted me to 'pen' the note I'd been planning to send ever since I finished Lingering Doubts, which, by the way, I read within a day of its delivery. What a story, what a read. There's a lot to say about the extraordinary thing you two have done, and nothing I can offer will come close to fully articulating that. Passion, stamina and dogged determination to topple injustice is one mighty effort in itself. However, years of research, piecing together bizarre and disparate chunks of people's days and lives and motivations, seriously impressive forensic analysis, objectivity, fair and balanced assessment, restraint from colour and sensation escalate your effort to beyond monumental. And before, after and through all of that, it was about your very own grandfather, your family, then and now and hereafter. 
I admire you both enormously; society needs more of you. And, I have to say that I found the manner in which the Defence was conducted, at best, casual. Far too often however their omissions and oversights smacked of professional negligence, or even worse, complicity with the Crown. I just shook my head in disbelief, as you two no doubt have over and again for nearly a decade.
I hope this terrible tale travels far and wide, and disquiets many.

Your words mean more than you know, many thanks Kate,

Deb and Jan

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Dr Bob Moles - 2 April 2014

Thanks very much for sending the copy of the book. It was a really interesting read, and if a few names and dates were changed it would fit the format of many of the miscarriages of justice which we are working on today. I feel desperately sad for Reg - I feel sufficiently convinced that he was not a sexual predator and you provided sufficient background information to make me feel confident that he was just the convenient scapegoat. What a tragedy for his family over and above the tragedy of this young girl's death. 
When I think of Reg as a quiet and earnest fellow just getting on with his job and trying to be nice to people - and how trusting he was to the police and everyone. 
The poor woman in Tasmania - Sue Neill-Fraser is just the same - she gave statements to the police and at the end of the day, the prosecutor just said liar, liar, liar, and in the total absence of evidence she got convicted. If she'd just kept her mouth shut, they wouldn't even have had that. Experienced criminals know that - murderers know that - but innocently accused don't know that. 
There are many accomplished lawyers and law students who would not have done as good a job on this case as you have done. I understand the difficulties in organising all of that information and then trying to tell it in a way that people can understand, Its not easy, and you have both done an excellent job of it. 
Do safeguard your files and docs. They might well come in useful one day. If we were to get a Criminal Cases Review Commission established, I'd like to see Reg's case first in there. 
All best wishes and a real privilege to know you both. You are a real credit to your family and to our community more broadly speaking.
Congratulations on a job well done,  

Needless to say we feel extremely humbled and honoured. Our ultimate goal was always to have our grandfather's case reviewed, not really ever thinking it was possible, but who knows perhaps one day...
Deb and Jan

please visit the original post for more info on Dr Moles & links to his analysis of  Lingering Doubts

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Cheryl Jorgensen - 3 March 2014

Please visit Cheryl Jorgensen's website to read her review of Lingering Doubts

Cheryl is a writer, teacher and journalist who has won several awards for her fiction novels and has had a film based on one of her non-fictions, an account of the Westbrook Boys’ Reformatory. Cheryl has an MPhil in Creative Writing from UQ. Cheryl is also co-convenor of the popular Sandcliffe Writers Festival.

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Susan Deal - 4 April 2014

What a wonderful acknowledgement of your hard work posted on your website by Dr Moles.
Your father and his sister and extended family must be so proud of both you and Jan. It is a credit to you both that within just over a month your work has been recognised as a very meticulous presentation of facts revealed in your book and bound with love and pride. All those days and nights spent researching and then writing have brought you rewards you could never have dreamed possible when you set out on this journey. 
I am thrilled that your book is opening the doors of justice and revealing the shoddy and dishonest men / women who were involved in Reg's trial and conviction. His defence team let him down without doubt but a more sinister shadow still lies over this case.  
I hope that Matt Condon and others also researching this period in time stumble on a lead that will help solve the mystery of who did murder Bronia. Maybe you will - someone knows what did happen.
My very best wishes to you both in your search for the truth.

Thank you so much Sue we forwarded your words to both Ian and Val.
Yes, let's hope one day the truth comes out.
Deb and Jan

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Julie Thomson - 12 March 2014  
It was with some scepticism I started this book, much as I found the subject fascinating and setting familiar, having been brought up in Brisbane in the 1950s and 60s.
I was holding it at arm’s length because I thought a story written by the main protagonist’s relatives would naturally seek to exonerate him and recalibrate the public perception of a man, tried and convicted for a shocking murder of a young woman, Bronia Armstrong,  in Brisbane’s city heart in 1947.
But as I read further into the narrative, I was stunned and overcome by a great sense of pity and sadness for a family so brutalised by the justice system and media of the day, it angered and shocked me to the core. Not only do I think it highly unlikely the convicted Reginald Wingfield Spence Brown had anything to do with the killing, but it’s also likely his death just days after being sentenced to life imprisonment in Boggo Road jail, was also not suicide as was ruled. The police sought and got a fast arrest and neat wrap up and that was all that mattered to them and the courts were both too naive to counteract or complicit in the dire proceedings.
Even dispassionately weighing up the circumstances of the killing, did it not seem absurd to most people at the time that the convicted, Reginald Brown, would attack his beautiful young employee in broad daylight in his workplace and coolly remain within metres of her lifeless body, making phone calls and calmly conducting his business in the minutes and hours thereafter? 
Was not a man of such impeccable character, reliable, trustworthy, respected, moral and kind, deserving of even a smidgeon of doubt and the means to fully defend himself in the face of repeated set-ups, hidden or lost evidence, witness anomalies, influences, lies and trickery? He was never allowed out of custody to see his family again after being charged.
Even without the hindsight knowledge we have now of the insidious corruption of the late sub-Inspector ( later Police Commissioner) Frank Bischof, the ambushing and denial of natural justice to Reginald Brown reads like a far-fetched melodramatic script. Yet it is the factual, punctilious and heartbreaking record of the systematic failure of the crime investigation and courts. It cost Reginald Brown his life and his family peace and joy thereafter.
This story has been gathered over nearly 10 years and told with a dedication driven by love, hurt and pride by Reginald Brown’s two granddaughters, Deb Drummond and Janice Teunis, who were born after he died and never knew him. They knew only a yawning gap opened up in the lives of their parents, Reg Brown’s children, who were young adults when he died, and a hole filled with pain and shame that took them decades to talk about.
It’s a gripping read even if you have no connection to the time, people or place of the murder. It’s more chilling if you consider that there but for the Grace of God went many of our relatives living in the fool’s paradise of Brisbane’s corrupt past.
We are proud to publish your review.
Sincere thanks, Julie.
Deb and Jan

please visit the original post for more info on Julie's impressive journalist background 

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Reg Brown's former-neighbour - 17 Feb 2014  

We think you should have become professional investigators yourselves, you have done so well with this. We could not think of a more apt title. We hope you can all feel overwhelming family relief that all these doubts have been so eloquently aired.
Jim and Mavis Mackenzie

Jim was a neighbour of the Brown family in Ryan's Road, St Lucia.
He and wife Mavis have been amazingly supportive.

Deb and Jan

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Joe Donovan - 9 Feb 2014

To find out at mature age that your granddad was a convicted murderer would be a shock; then to realise that the shame and disappointment involved, impeded an accurate family understanding of the events comprising the story would prove very frustrating.
Deb and Jan have addressed these issues with zeal. Official documents, media reports and interviews with connected persons have been used to piece together a comprehensive account of the saga. They use a time line of events interspersed with mini 'bios/vignettes' to tell the story in a way that makes it easy to digest their findings. Their research reveals a number of aspects to the case that are indeed cause to have 'lingering doubts'.
We now know from Fitzgerald that Frank Bischof was not an exemplary cop and that police procedures and forensic methods have seen vast improvement over the intervening 67 years. We also know that some cold cases have been re-opened to indict and to exonerate other Queenslanders.
It is understandable but disappointing that the Armstrongs chose not to participate. A frank family account of Bronia's hopes and aspirations along with her relationships particularly those outside the work environment is an obvious omission to a comprehensive understanding. It would be 'balanced' to know what they could have contributed.
I found the type a tad small and would have appreciated a locality map to help with the mental geography. Congratulations Deb and Jan. Stacks of worthwhile effort! You have done yourselves and your family proud. All the best always.

Many thanks, Joe, for your insightful and constructive comments and observations.

Deb and Jan

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We look forward to your comments and feedback or any information you may wish to share about our grandfather's case.