CASE BY CASE by Ib Melchior


A U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent in World War II
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 An absorbing memoir of the Danish-born author's WW II experiences with the American military, which obviously provided a starting point for the many thrillers he later wrote as a civilian (Code Name: Grand Guignol, 1987, etc.). When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Melchior was working as a stage manager at Radio City Music Hall. Having already decided to become a US citizen, the multilingual author volunteered his services to the armed forces. Melchior, then 24, was rigorously trained by the OSS and subsequently assigned to the Army's Counterintelligence Corps. He eventually spent two years in the ETO, advancing with Allied troops from Normandy through France, Luxembourg (during the Battle of the Bulge), and Germany as far as the Czechoslovakian border. In the course of an eventful tour, the author proved cunning as well as effective in his pursuit of collaborators, high-ranking Nazis, saboteurs, spies, war criminals, etc. While much of his work as a field investigator was routine (e.g., screening displaced persons, discharged soldiers, undocumented travelers, or local pols whose backgrounds qualified them for office in the interim governments established by the American military), he was a party to a full ration of dramatic moments. Among other accomplishments, he and fellow operatives uncovered a band of so-called Werewolves (Wehrmacht fanatics left behind the lines to engage in terrorist acts against the populist and invasion forces). He also helped unearth stolen art treasures and caches of contraband weapons while unmasking any number of SS personnel (subject to mandatory arrest) who posed as refugees to evade capture. In 1990, Melchior and his wife retraced the route he took through Europe when it was being liberated. His brief account of this sentimental journey adds considerable resonance to a narrative already rich in anecdotal detail and high adventure. (Illustrations--not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-89141-444-4
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Presidio/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993


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