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




ForeEdge from University Press of New England
2014 • 378 pp. 18 illus. 6 x 9"
Espionage / World War II / Southwest History


$29.95 Hardcover, 978-1-61168-534-3

$19.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-561-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.



“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.”—Publishers Weekly

An El Paso sheriff’s investigation of the Nazi spy ring that orchestrated the murder of two California socialites in the Texas desert on the eve of World War II

In 1938, Hazel Frome, the wife of a powerful executive at Atlas Powder Company, a San Francisco explosives manufacturer, set out on a cross-country motor trip with her twenty-three-year-old daughter, Nancy. When their car broke down in El Paso, Texas, they made the most of being stranded by staying at a posh hotel and crossing the border to Juarez for shopping, dining, and drinking. A week later, their near-nude bodies were found in the Chihuahuan Desert. Though they had been seen on occasion with two mystery men, there were no clues as to why they had apparently been abducted, tortured for days, and shot execution style.

El Paso sheriff Chris Fox, a lawman right out of central casting, engaged in a turf war with the Texas Rangers and local officials that hampered the investigation. But the victims’ detours had placed them in the path of a Nazi spy ring operating from the West Coast to Latin America through a deep-cover portal at El Paso. The sleeper cell was run by spymasters at the German consulate in San Francisco. In 1938, only the inner circle of the Roosevelt White House and a few FBI agents were aware of the extent to which German agents had infiltrated American industry.

Fetch the Devil is the first narrative account of this still officially unsolved case. Based on long forgotten archives and recently declassified FBI files, Richmond paints a convincing portrait of a sheriff’s dogged investigation into a baffling murder, the international spy ring that orchestrated it, and America on the brink of another world war.

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Reviews:

"True crime fans will be both impressed and dismayed with how close law enforcement came to answers, and give credit to the particular efforts of Chris Fox, who could not forget the case even after his own son's wartime death. Spy enthusiasts and World War II buffs will be intrigued to learn the depth of Nazi espionage in 1930s America and its collateral damage. This is a story with twists that sound like fiction." —Texas Writers League

"Richmond relied on declassified federal government documents and various long-forgotten El Paso archives for his research, including meticulous case notes and files compiled by Chris Fox, the El Paso County sheriff who pursued the case relentlessly.
Richmond is convinced that Fox, who emerged as one of El Paso's most prominent citizens, probably came closer than anyone else to solving the case even after the Texas Rangers took over the investigation. The book contends petty jurisdictional jealousies among various law enforcement agencies hampered the investigation." —El Paso Times

"Austin author Clint Richmond weaves a compelling tale about the case, which was never solved,." —Austin American-Statesman

Endorsements:

“I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book and read it cover to cover in one sitting. I felt like I had been fully deputized and was standing next to Sheriff Chris Fox as he conducted one of the most famous murder investigations in the state of Texas. The only thing that could have made this story better was if I had a ten-gallon hat and a pair of spurs to wear as I turned the pages. Without a doubt, Richmond is the grand master of crime reporting.”—Kenneth Sewell, co-author of the New York Times bestselling Red Star Rogue

“Clint Richmond’s books is a must-read if you like mystery and intrigue. In 1967, I was assigned to follow up on information received about the Frome homicide that occurred in 1938. I gave it my best shot, but to no avail. To this day the homicide remains a mystery, and now I believe the motive may have been espionage—but you can make your own decision.”—H. Joaquin Jackson, Texas Ranger (retired), 1966 to 1993, Company “D” and Company “E”



CLINT RICHMOND is a former newspaper reporter and magazine writer. He is the author of The Good Wife, Red Star Rogue, Selena, and other works of nonfiction. He lives in Texas.






Wed, 5 Nov 2014 15:58:08 -0500