In the course of a 50-year professional writing career, which began when he joined his local newspaper as a cub reporter, British author William (Bill) Norris has managed to squeeze in a huge variety of experience. From Parliamentary Correspondent of The Times of London at the age of 26 (the youngest since Charles Dickens), to covering the war fronts of Africa, to interviewing leading world statesmen as Political Correspondent of ITN, his journalistic range has been considerable. But between assignments he has managed to be a professional rally driver, sail the Atlantic in a small boat, build his own experimental aircraft and fly it across the United States at the age of 60, and establish the first broadcast TV station in Swaziland.
It may be his restless nature which has constrained him from writing the same book twice -- putting him at a commercial disadvantage with publishers who insist that authors should be type-cast. Thus his first book, One from 700 (Pergammon Press, 1966), was a humorous account of Britain's Labour government under Harold Wilson; his second, The Unsafe Sky (W. W. Norton, 1981), was a review of aviation disasters; his third, Willful Misconduct (W. W. Norton, 1984), was a swinging attack on the American legal system, while The Man Who Fell from the Sky (Viking, 1987) investigated and solved an ancient murder mystery.
Publishers clearly disapproved of such a grasshopper mind, and thus his latest three books: SnowBird, A Grave Too Many, and The Badger Game have had to wait for the e-publishing revolution to get a public airing. He hopes that you enjoy reading them as much as he enjoyed the writing.
Now settled in France after 13 years in the U.S., during which he combined freelance journalism with membership of Florida's prestigious Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College, Bill Norris is currently working on...something. He can be reached via e-mail at NorrW7@aol.com.
The Man Who Fell from
On July 4, 1928, a Fokker trimotor took off from London, bound for Brussels. On board were the plane's owner, Alfred Loewenstein, a financier of immense wealth and influence; a pilot and co-pilot; a valet; a male secretary; and two female stenographers. The plane never reached Brussels. Instead, it landed on the Normandy coast, where the crew told French authorities that Loewenstein had accidentally fallen from the plane into the English Channel. A hastily held inquest ruled that Loewenstein's death was probably accidental, and although the case made international headlines, there the matter stood -- until this book.
Was Alfred Loewenstein murdered? Reporter and aviation expert William Norris went on an international odyssey to establish the impossibility of Loewenstein's death being anything but murder. He has interviewed every survivor with any recollection of Loewenstein and delved in exhaustive detail into his barefaced financial manipulations -- sharp dealings that left him with ample enemies (and suspects). He has unearthed fascinating details about Loewenstein's gaudy lifestyle -- his incredible retinue, racing stable, eight villas in Biarritz, and fantastic fox-hunting weekends where the best of British society milked this Catholic/Jewish outsider for stock tips (and snubbed him everywhere else). He has traced the suspiciously prosperous lives of the Fokker's other occupants -- and established the mechanical means whereby a murder could have been committed.
The book's double-layered narrative of the life and death of Loewenstein and the author's search for the truth behind his demise involve the reader with gripping immediacy in a saga of high-rolling greed and a shocking cover-up. The Man Who Fell from the Sky is a unique true-crime story, with the tantalizing spell of the most cunning mystery fiction.
"A gripping murder mystery which - like all the best stories - is true." -- Robert Lacey, author of Ford: the Men and the Machine.
"An exceptionally good example of what an author can do when he puts his nose on the trail of a great murder story. Authors make great detectives. Norris is at the top of his class." -- Sydney Kirkpatrick, author of A Cast of Killers.
"A fascinating and
well-researched investigation into one of the twentieth
century's most intriguing mysteries" -- Robin Bruce
Lockhart, author of Reilly, Ace of Spies.
What caused the crash? What prevented the 97 passengers from escaping the intact fuselage with their lives? Why was the wreck bulldozed and buried before it could be examined? Why was the co-pilot's deathbed statement never recorded? Why did the survivors and the families of the dead have to wait more than ten years for compensation, despite the fact that Pan American was found guilty of "willful misconduct" after the longest and most expensive trial in aviation history?
That is the story William Norris tells. It is a triumph of investigative journalism by a man whose outrage grew as he followed the trail of evidence, dug beneath the cover-ups, and came to know personally most of the people involved.
The result is a gripping tale, full
of fascinating characters, human tragedy, and courtroom
drama to beggar Perry Mason.
Barnes was ultimately sentenced to seven years in the federal prison at Lompoc, California. He counted himself lucky to be there. As the man who flew the very first shipment of cocaine for the Medellin Cartel into the United States, and continued the dangerous trade for almost a full decade, he survived crashes and gunfire, treachery and betrayal. He also became the target of a determined assassination attempt by the Panamanian dictator, Manuel Noriega -- and lived to tell the tale.
William Norris certainly knows how
to entertain readers with his flair for presenting
real-life stories and SnowBird is no exception.
This fascinating story will keep you captivated from start
to finish. Order Snowbird now and treat yourself to
one of the most intriguing stories we have read.