Abduction, murder, torture, sex, infidelity, drugs, con men, blackmail, national security risks, free-spirited women, J. Edgar Hoover, and Nazi spies. A true-crime lover’s theme park and it’s all neatly enfolded within the covers of a single book!
Hazel Frome and her 23-year-old daughter, Nancy, weathered the worst years of the Depression just fine. Mrs. Frome’s husband, Weston G. “Pop” Frome, was a high-ranking executive with the Atlas Powder Company and there is always a need to blow things up. And with Adolf Hitler creating ominous rumbles in Europe, the future only looked brighter for Atlas Powder.
Winston Frome wasn’t an exemplary incarnation of the word “Pop,” at least in the endearing, Frank Capraesque sense of the word. Frome was gone on business sojourns much of the time and his interaction with his wife and two daughters’ lives was economical at best. The family flitted on the periphery of high society in the Bay area of San Francisco. They were not wealthy enough to be accepted into the core of old, established money, but the Fromes were rich enough to get invitations to all the best parties.
Pop was home to say goodbye to Hazel and Nancy as they set out in a new Packard to visit his other daughter. Mada had married a serviceman, much to her parents’ disappointment, and lived at Parris Island, South Carolina. Women with good backgrounds and better sense didn’t cross the country alone in 1938, but Hazel and Nancy were seasoned travelers. When Weston Frome turned back to the house at 2560 Cedar Street, he very likely had business, not potential danger, on his mind.
He would never see his wife and daughter alive again.
Clint Richmond’s intriguing new book, Fetch the Devil, is about the torture and murder of the two Frome women, a mystery that still lingers in the dry desert air a few miles east of El Paso, Texas. It proved to be a whodunit with an impressive array of suspects, including an international con man, who performed illegal abortions to supplement his income, and a cadre of Nazi spies with vested interests in Weston Frome’s explosive business. (READ MORE)