May 10, 2007


OBITUARIES: Paul Erdman, 74; banker-turned-novelist< (Dennis McLellan, April 27, 2007, LA Times)

Paul Erdman, a noted economist and former Swiss banker who tapped his knowledge of international finance and monetary trends to write best-selling financial thrillers, including "The Billion Dollar Sure Thing" and "The Crash of '79," has died. He was 74.

Erdman died of cancer Monday at his ranch in Healdsburg in Sonoma County, said his son-in-law Hernan Narea.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), in a statement to The Times this week, called Erdman "one of the leading financial minds of the 20th century" and "a dear friend whose intellect was dazzling."

Paul Erdman, 74, Author of Finance-Based Novels, Dies (MARGALIT FOX, 4/25/07, NY Times)

Mr. Erdman was in all likelihood one of the few novelists whose books were routinely reviewed — often glowingly — in Business Week and The American Banker as well as in mainstream publications. His novels featured exotic locales, shadowy cartels and lots and lots of money.

Paul Erdman (Daily Telegraph, 11/05/2007)
Paul Erdman, who died on April 23 aged 74, was a Canadian-born financier who channelled his knowledge of economics and politics into writing 10 best-selling novels, including The Crash of '79 (1976) and The Panic of '89 (1987). [...]

His writing career started in the unpromising confines of a 17th-century Swiss prison cell, where he was being held in connection with the collapse of his private bank in 1970. As dungeons go, his was ritzier than most, with room service and fine wines provided (at the prisoner's expense) by the best local restaurants.

To pass the time Erdman started to knock out a non-fiction book on economics on his portable Olivetti; but because he had no access to a research library he turned the book into a novel.

Progress at first was slow, but it accelerated with the arrival of a new inmate, a Frenchman reputed to be Europe's leading safebreaker.In exchange for a couple of bottles of fine wine, "he told me a way for an amateur to crack a safe rather easily with ordinary equipment," Erdman recalled. "That became the first scene in the first chapter in my first novel."

The result - The Billion Dollar Sure Thing (1973) - received an Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America. His second book, The Silver Bears (1974), was made into a film in 1978 starring Michael Caine and Cybill Shepherd.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 10, 2007 11:01 PM
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