Date of 1st publication: 1976
Number of pages: 238
September 1974 in Sâo Paulo. A man fully dressed in white reserves a hotel room. He is going to have a meeting with friends. He also takes the room next to his room. The meeting has got to be strictly private. The man in white is a doctor. His name is Joseph Mengele.
The friends of Mengele come in and the meeting starts. His friend have all Brazilian names. They are all Nazis, and escaped when the war was over to Brazil. Mengele is speaking about an operation to kill ninety-four men all over the world. All the men are sixty-five. These murders have to be done by the people he is talking to. He does not tell why the men have to be killed, and tells not to ask.
The only thing he tells it is to maintain the aryan race and to rebuild the third reich.
There are six man who should kill the men. They all get new identifications from Mengele. They will all be sent to different parts of the world. The men all do the killings in their part of the world. The men all get from thirteen to eighteen orders. Mengele divides the orders under the men. Then Mengele says all the men should be killed in or around a certain date. All the ninety-four have different dates. Mengele will not say why. The authorities may not suspect anything. The families may not get involved with the killings. The men get payed in diamants. they leave the room and go to the restaurant.
Behind the building a waitress gives a cassette tape to a man, who calls himself Hunter. The tape was in the room where Mengele had his meeting. Hunter pays her, and tells her he is going to eat in a restaurant in the city. The waitress goes into the hotel, and she talks with a friend of Mengele. He gets suspicious and Mengele pays the waitress twice what the spy had paid her. She tells him about the tape, and about the man is having a diner in a restaurant in the city
Mengele send out all his men to find this man.
The name hunter is a hiding name. His real name is Harry Koehler. He is listening to the tape, and is upset when he hears it. He phones Yakov Liebermann in Vienna. He tells him about the tape, the killings, but Liebermann does not believe him. Harry wants to let him hear the tape, but when he starts it, Mengele's gang has found him, and he Harry gets killed.
Liebermann is a jew, and he has been in Auschwitz during the war. Mengele was a doctor there who explored twins in Auschwitz. During the explorations he killed most of them during the genetical manipulation, trying to create the perfect Aryan race. After the war, Liebermann searches for nazis, and he helps the authorities to get them in jail.
Liebermann did not believe Harry's story, but when the phone call was interrupted so suddenly, he wanted to check it out. He asks a friend to search for dead men of sixty-five in the papers for the next two month.
The story continuous with a man called Emil Döring. He is sixty-five. He meets a man called Reichmeider in a cafe. After a few days Reichmeider asks Döring to come outside. There Döring is left alone by Reichmeider. Then there falls a wall of a building over him. He dies, and the police think it was an accident, but Reichmeider had killed him.
Heidelberg. Liebermann is a guest speaker at the university, and tells the young people about nazi-hunting. Then he asks, just as an imaginary problem, why Mengele would kill ninety-four men at the age of sixty-five. The audience gives answers, but none of them are right.
The story continuous in Mengele's house. Mengele get the news that seven men have died, four at the right date, and three a day too late. Mengele is very pleased with this. He fills a list out with all the ninety-four names on it. Mengele also hears that Liebermann knows about the killings, because he had some men at the university in Heidelberg. Mengele knows that Liebermann does not now why, and that the correct answer was not given there, so he does not make a problem of it.
Liebermann goes to his office. There are pieces of newspapers, with the deaths of sixty-five year old men. He sorts them, and gets a few who could have been killed. Under them is Döring. Then there is a men who phones him. It is Klaus von Palmen. He wants to help Liebermann with the killing problem. Klaus is a student of the Heidelberg university, and thinks the problem is not imaginary. Liebermann tells him it he is right, but that he can not help him, because it is too dangerous. Klaus does not listen to this, and after a while Liebermann agrees. He tells Klaus he can have one of the men he had newspaper articles about to investigate. Klaus gets a man called Müller. Liebermann will send Klaus photos of Nazis in there SS time, so Klaus can identify them, if he sees one.
Liebermann goes to Essen, to investigate the death of Emil Döring. The police inspector tells him he is sure it was an accident, and Döring's friends also do not know anything why someone would have killed him. Liebermann is not sure about that and he wants to talk to Dörings widow. When he is talking to Döring's widow, he is convinced that it was an accident. His widow tells him he had no enemies at all. Her son comes into the room, and walked away again.
Meanwhile, Mengele gets in his house in Brazil a radio message about Liebermann. The nazis are afraid that he will mix up their plans. They want to kill Liebermann, but Mengele says they can not do that.
Liebermann and Klaus have both been to many dead men, but none of them are possibly killed. Liebermann does not believe the man who phoned him a few months ago any more, and thinks that the man has made a mistake. Klaus wants to go on with searching, and so they do another five.
In the meanwhile, there are more killings of sixty-five year old men.
Liebermann also asks the help of a friend of his, Mr. Goldberger. He is going to do a few men in Scandinavia. Klaus does one in Germany, and Liebermann does two in the United Kingdom.
After a month they get in touch with each other. Because there was no result again, they agree to stop with it. Liebermann has to go to the U.S.A., because he has a speaking tour about nazi-hunting. He has another newspaper article about a man named Cury.
When he is on his tour, he gets close to the town where Cury died. He decides to visit this town. When he is in the town where Cury lived, the police tell him he had died in a shooting accident. The police does not believe in this accident. When Cury hunted, a wild bullet had hit him. The bullet was exactly threw the middle of his head, and the police say it was more a good aim then bad luck, and nobody of the hunters say they have shot. There are no evidences against someone, so the police does not investigate any more. Liebermann decides to talk to Cury's widow. When Liebermann is in her home, she tells him nobody wanted him dead, and there were no motives to kill him. Liebermann thinks he was wrong, but when he wants to leave, Cury's son comes into the room. Liebermann looks at him, and is terrified. The boy is the same boy as the one he saw when he was with Dörings widow. He thinks that Mr. Döring knew Mr. Cury. Mrs. Cury says she does not know any Döring. Mrs. Cury does not want to talk about it. She only wants to say her son was adopted.
Liebermann thinks there must be a connection. Both the boys were exactly look-alike, with blue eyes, a sharp nose and a lean face. Liebermann thinks the boys are twins, because Mengele did researches after twins in Auschwitz. He phones Klaus, and he had seen one child, also at the age of thirteen or fourteen, with the same appearance. The question is now why the fathers are killed.
Liebermann remembers that he once had got Frieda Maloney into jail. After the war, she had been working at the same adoption agency, where Mr. and Mrs. Cury had become their son. Liebermann stops his tour, and goes to the prison where Maloney is kept. She tells him that she had an order of two men, who she did not know, to pick out all the requests for an adoption from families in which the father was a civil servant, a white Christian who was born between 1908 and 1912. The mother had to be younger, born between 1931 and 1935. Frieda tells that she had found about forty-five men. After they were picked, Frieda Maloney brought the babies to the parents. She brought them to the parents, with two month between them.
She noticed that the babies were exactly look-alike, more than babies usually do.
She remembers the name of the family she brought a baby to after the family Curie. It was the family Wheelock. She also knows the city they lived. Liebermann goes back to Vienna. Mr. Wheelock should be killed in or around the fifth of july, he got to be back by then.
Friday 31th of january. Mengele goes to Santa Catarina, because there is a big nazi party. When he is at the party, he sees one of the men he had sent out to kill the ninety-four men.
Mengele is very surprised to see him, and the SS-er tells him the nazi organisation had retrieved all the SS-ers, because the organisation had heard about Liebermann who had talked to Frieda Maloney. The organisation thought this brought a too high risk to proceed this mission.
Mengele feels himself betrothed, and proceeds the operation himself.
In Vienna, Liebermann is phoned by Klaus. He asks him to come to the university, because he knows the connection between the men who get killed. He has heard it from a biology professor. They plan a meeting the next day.
Herr Koehler, the father of the boy who was killed by Mengele after he had recorded the cassette tape. He says he has some information about the nazi's. His son had made notes when he heard the tape. The killers have not seen it. The phone was eavesdropped by Mengele, and he hears Liebermann say he will go to Washington in a few weeks. Liebermann also talks about the hotel. Mengele will go to Washington to kill Liebermann.
Liebermann goes to the university. There is Klaus with the biology professor. The professor's name is Nürnberger. He explains Liebermann that the mondial research after genetical manipulation is not as far developed as the research Mengele did during the war.
Mengele can produce a human with exactly the same genetic code, just like the genetic code of identical twins. Every human has sixty-four chromosomes, thirty-two from the mother, and thirty-two from the father. Mengele can now produce a human with all the sixty-four chromosomes of one donor. It is not important if the donor is dead or alive. One single piece of hair is enough to create a duplicate of the donor. The duplicated human is a genetical duplicate, but not a duplicate of the human itself. The way of education, things that are seen on television, etcetera can make the human very different as a person as the donor. Liebermann now wants to know who the donor could have been, and why the fathers of the boys are killed. They first think Mengele wanted to duplicate himself, but he had a young father. The Liebermann thinks of Hitler. His father also was a civil servant. When Hitler was born, his father was fifty-two. His father died at the age of sixty-five. Liebermann is very upset with this, and knows now why the fathers of the boys are killed. He is very upset about the idea of ninety-four Hitlers. He asks Nürnberger how many of them could become the same person as Hitler. Nürnberger thinks it are about three of four, but he is not sure, because he has only done such an experiment on frogs.
Mengele goes to the Benjamin Franklin hotel in Washington, so he can kill Liebermann when he arrives. He finds a novel with the photo of Liebermann at the back. He also buys a knife. Now he is ready to kill Liebermann and he waits in the hall were the new people check in. He stays there a while, but Liebermann does not arrive. He waits another hour, and phones the reserving service of the hotel. They tell him Liebermann is still supposed to come. He also calls the man next to kill, Mr. Wheelock. Mr. Wheelock tells him his address.
Liebermann is not in Washington, he is in New York. There he goes to a jewish organisation. The leader of this organisation is Mosle Gorin. Liebermann tells Mosle Gorin the whole story, and asks protection for the next man who is going to be killed, Mr. Wheelock. Mosle Gorin agrees, and they call Mr. Wheelock. Liebermann says to him, there is killer searching for him, and he offers protection. Mr. Wheelock does not want to hear about this. He is a dog trainer, and his dogs protect him. His dogs kill someone at command. Liebermann wants to come to his house, and Mr. wheelock agrees. Liebermann also asks about the ambitions of his son. His son wants to be the new Alfred Hitchcock, a famous movie maker.
Mengele is still waiting until Liebermann arrives. He calls Liebermann's office under a false name. He hopes his secretary knows more. She tells him Liebermann had just called her, and that he will meet him in Washington after his meeting with Mr. Wheelock. Mengele is very curious. He also goes to Mr. Wheelock, and he will arrive there an hour earlier than Liebermann.
Mengele arrives at Wheelock's house. He goes to the door, and Mr. Wheelock opens it. He is alone, he has only his dogs. Mr. Wheelock thinks the man is Liebermann, and they go inside and they talk. Mengele says he is afraid of dogs, and Mr. Wheelock puts the dogs behind the kitchen door. Mengele pulls his gun, and tells him to go to the basement. Once he walks down, Mengele shoots him down.
After an hour Liebermann arrives at Wheelock's house. It is a long time ago that he saw Mengele for the last time, and when he goes to the door, and Mengele opens it, he does not recognise him. Liebermann thinks that he is talking to Mr. Wheelock. After a while, Mengele says he is Mengele, and he pulls a gun. He explains the Hitler story to Liebermann, and then Liebermann sees the kitchen door, and behind it the dogs. Liebermann suddenly runs to the door. Mengele shoots him twice, one in his leg, and one threw his left long. He reaches the door, and opens it. the dogs come out, and Mengele shoots one dog. There are still two left, and they let Mengele drop his gun, and pull him in the corner. Liebermann lies, heavy bleeding, in the kitchen. Liebermann can hardly breath, and Mengele can not move with the two dogs in front of him.
After a while, someone comes into the house. It is the boy, Bobby. Liebermann tells him to call the police. Mengele tells him not to do that. Bobby decides to call the police, but Mengele wants to explain him some things. Bobby agrees, and let the dogs go back. Mengele tells him the story about his real father. Then Bobby wants to know who he was. Mengele tells him it was Hitler, but bobby did not believe it. Mengele wanted to walk towards him, but then Bobby gives the dogs the command to kill Mengele. He lets Liebermann promise not to tell about it.
Liebermann gets a list from Mengele's pocket.
In the hospital, Liebermann is recovering well. The police does not know who the dead man was, because all his identification was false. Liebermann does not tell them who he was.
After a month, he is able to leave the hospital. He goes to New York, to the jewish organisation. When he is there, he tells them the killings are over and Mengele is dead. He also tells them about the list with the names of the ninety-four boys. The jewish organisation wants to kill the boys. Liebermann does not want that. He thinks, under the circumstances of today, there will never be someone like Hitler. Liebermann goes to the toilet, and flushed the list down it. Gorin is very angry, and tells him to leave immediately.
Bobby, the boy with the same genetic code as Hitler, is feeling comfortable now his father is dead. He is fantasising of a man on a platform, who is admired by many people, who are yelling his name, and telling him how brilliant he is. Just like an old Hitler movie.
Point of view
I really liked the novel, because it was written nicely and the story was very thrilling. The main character gets a problem in the beginning, and is not solved until the end of the story. Before the solution is given at the end, the author speculates about the solution, and let the reader speculate too. The novel was not very hard to read, the sentences were not very difficult, and I understood most of it. The end of the novel was very unexpected, because it was unclear what would happen at the end. In the novel are often changes of the perspective. It switched from person to person, so you will read two sides of the story most of the time. This changing of perspective is indicated with a "*", so it was clear when this happened. The story had some humour in it, and that made it enjoyable to read. Most of the time it was hard to stop reading, because it was so thrilling. The story sometimes was too tedious by all the descriptions given. On the whole I liked the novel.
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