Fetch the Devil: The Sierra Diablo Murders and Nazi Espionage in America

Clint Richmond. ForeEdge, $29.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-61168-534-3
Former newspaper reporter Richmond (The Good Wife) uses recently declassified FBI files and other sources to revisit “the biggest unsolved mystery in the Southwest”: the 1938 abduction, torture, and murder of Hazel and Nancy Frome, the wife and daughter of a Bay Area munitions company executive, who disappeared near El Paso, Tex., during a cross-country car trip. Despite painstaking efforts by the El Paso sheriff, Chris Fox, the culprits were never found and the authorities couldn’t determine a motive. Richmond relates “Pop” Frome’s affair with a Hollywood showgirl; the activities of a con artist and Russian fascist, Romano Trotsky; and, most importantly, the role of Nazi spies based in San Francisco and spreading into the American southwest, including one disguised as an El Paso doctor. After discussing the Fromes, the significance of the munitions company, circumstances of the murder, and modus operandi of the spy network, Richmond offers a plausible theory of why the Fromes were killed. He provides ample “atmospherics” of the era, such as the cost of a Packard car, and what the Fromes might have listened to on the radio during their trip. The result makes for a well-paced, engrossing true crime story. B&w photos. Agent: John Talbot, John Talbot Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 378 pages - 978-1-61168-561-9
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