Edgar Award winner: A Holocaust survivor fights a Nazi conspiracy in the jungles of Brazil
In 1939 Erick Von Roesler was spreading Hitler’s gospel in Brazil when duty to the Reich called him home. He distinguished himself during the war, organizing slave labor camps, overseeing executions, and manning the gas chambers of Buchenwald, but in 1945 he felt it necessary to leave the land of his birth. His enthusiasm for the German cause undimmed, he returned to South America to remake the continent in the image of the fallen Reich.
For help, he calls on Hans Busch, a master propagandist who comes south from New York with $2 million earmarked for the Nazi revival. But this squat, unkempt little man is not the Nazi he claims to be. Hans Busch is merely a nom de guerre for Holocaust survivor Ari Schoenberg, who has come to take his revenge. With the help of Interpol’s José Da Silva, he will dismantle the new Reich from the inside out.
About the author
Robert L. Fish, the youngest of three children, was born on August 21, 1912, in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended the local schools in Cleveland and went to Case University (now Case Western Reserve), from which he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He married Mamie Kates, also from Cleveland, and together they have two daughters. Fish worked as a civil engineer, traveling and moving throughout the United States. In 1953 he was asked to set up a plastics factory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He and his family moved to Brazil, where they remained for nine years. He played golf and bridge in the little spare time he had. One rainy weekend in the late 1950s, when the weather prohibited him from playing golf, he sat down and wrote a short story that he submitted to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. When the story was accepted, Fish continued to write short stories. In 1962 he returned to the United States; he took one year to write full time and then returned to engineering and writing. His first novel, The Fugitive, won an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery. When his health prevented him from pursuing both careers, Fish retired from engineering and spent his time writing. His published works include more than forty books and countless short stories. Mute Witness was made into a movie starring Steve McQueen.
Fish died February 23, 1981, at his home in Connecticut. Each year at the annual Mystery Writers of America dinner, a memorial award is presented in his name for the best first short story. This is a fitting tribute, as Fish was always eager to assist young writers with their craft.
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