Alfred Loewenstein was a notably successful entrepreneur of the period from World War I through the 1920s. Although Belgian by nationality, he had long lived in Britain. On July 4, 1928, on a flight from the U.K. to the Continent in his private plane, accompanied by his staff, he supposedly fell from the craft while over the Channel. Two weeks later his body was found off the French coast. Norris ( The Unsafe Sky, etc.) maintains that the multimillionaire was thrown from the plane and seeks to establish the identity of those who arranged the ``accident.'' He shows that Loewenstein's wife, various business enemies (they were legion) and even some of his partners could have been responsiblebut leaves the decision to the reader. Photos not seen by PW. (March)
This contains the germ of a real-life, exciting murder mystery. Alfred Loewenstein, wealthy financier, mysteriously fell from a plane somewhere over the English Channel in 1928. The crew and flying companions claimed that it was an accident. No real investigation was undertaken. Norris, author of The Unsafe Sky and Willful Misconduct, has spent a great deal of time checking the life and times of Loewenstein. He details Loewenstein's financial shenanigans, most of them illegal. But a good murder mystery needs a plausible plot, a villain with the ability and desire to commit the murder, and most of all, gripping suspense. At the conclusion of the book, Norris is forced to make a wild guess as to the villain, without solid proof that a crime was committed. The reader is left perplexed and indifferent. Not recommended.Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.