The Murder of Frau Schutz

J. Madison Davis, Author Walker & Company $18.95 (265p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1055-0
This tautly written, multilayered fiction debut interweaves a murder investigation with one man's growing awareness of the horrors of the Nazi regime. In 1944, when the tide of war is turning against the Third Reich, Colonel Max-Baldur von Prokofsk, a combat hero who lost an arm and use of a leg in Africa, is chosen by Himmler to investigate the murder of Lila Schutz, wife of the commandant of Ostheim, a concentration camp in Byelorussia. According to the official report, she had been killed and mutilated during an escape attempt by communist prisoners, since executed. Prokofsk, unsure why an inquiry is being carried out, much less by a regular army officer inexperienced in crime investigation, is told that it is necessary to clear up any taint of suspicion against the SS. Arriving in Ostheim, he finds a demoralized cadre of officers and their families, gathered there at Schutz's insistence despite the approaching Russian armies. Prokofsk begins to believe that one of the officers committed the murder, possibly Schutz himself. He also begins to understand the true nature of the camp, the proud creation of the commandant, who believes he is one of the few men with the necessary vision to implement the Final Solution. And to complicate matters, Prokofsk finds himself falling in love with the wife of one of the officers. The complex tale, with its subtle moral message, comes to a violent end with the army plot to assassinate Hitler and the imminent arrival of the Russian army. ( October )
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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