20 April 2019

The Spy in the Tower... Printer Delays

The Spy in the Tower - front cover
(from The History Press)
This publishing adventure is quite the roller-coaster ride!! Get all excited over a 1 May publishing date... book trip to London to be there for the release and... now we've got delays at the printer... so it's due to come out on 13 May at this point. Sigh.

I can't say I'm completely surprised as fellow author, David Tremain, experienced similar delays with his book on The Beautiful Spy: The Life and Crimes of Vera Eriksen. It was slated to come out in February 2019 and was repeatedly delayed... but finally hit the bookstores on 5 April. So that is the good news... it does eventually make its way through the maze!

I've heard rumours that the problem is Brexit... yep... that the printers are on the continent and shipping containers are being held up at the border. Who knows... just keeping all fingers crossed there aren't any more delays!

  • I have some promotional appointments whilst in London... going to be on the Robert Elms show (BBC Radio) on May 10 at 10:30 am.
  • I put the publisher in touch with some contacts at Historic Royal Palaces (oversees the Tower of London gift shops) and Royal Armouries (gift shop in the White Tower)... hoping to get the book into their shops.
  •  I am hoping for a book signing on 15 August at the Tower... stay tuned...
  • I am also hoping to be at the Ramsey 1940s Weekend... August 17/18 in Ramsey (Cambridgeshire)... fingers crossed
Other than that... have been sending all my contacts news of the book coming out...

14 April 2019

Website Review - All That's Interesting (2019)

Came across an article about Josef on the All That's Interesting website.

It's actually pretty good (all things considered) that summarizes the story of Josef quite well.

They reference my interview with the RadioTimes back in 2012, and this seems to be their primary resource.

There are only a few minor errors:
  • Josef was arrested in 1938 (not 1939)
  • he fired his pistol (not his revolver - although this is a forgivable error since even the MI5 files use the two terms interchangeably).

03 April 2019

The Spy in the Tower - pre-orders for non-UK readers

The Spy in the Tower - 1 May 2019
by Giselle Jakobs
(The History Press)
Good news... readers outside of the UK can now pre-order a copy of the book (if you want to...) via the Book Depository site. They have free world-wide shipping!

UK readers can still order via Amazon.co.uk.

The marketing department of The History Press is also looking at setting up a book signing event in London in early May (when I'm over there). At this point, we're still looking good for a 1 May publication date. More details as I have them (this is becoming a standard phrase of mine).

As an aside... I thought researching and writing the darn book would cover the lion's share of the work but... I'm learning something new every day! I believe the real work is just beginning.

Whilst in London, I'm also planning to visit some of the sites associated with Josef's time in London and filming some vignettes for each. Bit of the history of each, Josef's time there, and my own impressions/thoughts of each. Sites would include:
  • Cannon Row Police Station - where Josef was brought upon arrival in London
  • HM Prison Brixton - Josef was incarcerated here twice during his recovery from his broken ankle
  • Dulwich Hospital - where Josef was hospitalised for almost two months
  • Latchmere House (or what's left of it) - MI5's secret wartime interrogation centre (most of which is now a housing estate)
  • HM Prison Wandsworth - where Josef spent the last three weeks of his life
  • Duke of York's Headquarters - where the court martial took place on 4/5 August 1941
  • Tower of London - site of the execution
  • Tower Bridge Mortuary - site of the post-mortem
  • St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green - final resting place of Josef
Planning to create an exclusive access "goodie-bag" for readers who purchase the book... more details later. 

01 April 2019

The Spy in the Tower - T minus 30 days (and counting)

The Spy in the Tower is slated to come out on May 1, 2019 (in the UK) and so far, all systems are go. I've spent the last month or so reviewing the first proofs, then the second proofs and indexing the whole thing. It's been a bit of a marathon and rather all-consuming. The second proofs had some errors introduced in making the corrections from the first proofs. And so I read everything with a fine-tooth comb... Hoping it all goes smoothly with the second proof corrections and the index... fingers crossed! There's a lot of room for hiccups with the index...

The History Press has also sent me a mock-up of the full book cover with dust jacket flaps and a back cover...
The Spy in the Tower - by Giselle Jakobs front cover and inside flap - The History Press
The Spy in the Tower - by Giselle Jakobs
front cover and inside flap - The History Press
And the back cover... with inside flap
The Spy in the Tower - by Giselle Jakobs
front cover and inside flap - The History Press
Folks in the United Kingdom can pre-order via the Amazon link on THP website... North American audiences may need to wait... more details as I have them.

23 March 2019

Mystery Spy GOOSE/GANDER - Kurt Goose

Every once in a while, I chip away at lingering mysteries. A recent email exchange with Tony Percy (www.coldspur.com) about Kurt/Karl Grosse/Goose reignited my curiosity about this mysterious spy.

I wrote an earlier blog post about his capture and short-lived career as a double agent but there are still many unanswered questions.

One of the primary ones is... what was this guy's real name? I did some digging in Ancestry, trying various combinations of his name and birth year (1911). Eventually, after many (many) dead ends, I came across this...
Bremen passenger list entry for Kurt Goose
Bremen passenger list entry for Kurt Goose
It's a passenger list record from Die Maus website (Bremen passenger lists). A German gentleman named Kurt Goose departed Bremen on 1 August 1936, bound for New York and ultimately Berkeley CA where he was a student at the University of California. Kurt was 25 years old (born around 1911), single and living in Berlin. His relative was his mother, R. Goose of Hohenzollerndamm 91, Berlin.

This looks pretty promising. From other information in the MI5 files, we do know that Kurt was born in 1911 in Berlin, and that he studied geology in the 1930s at the University of California.

I did a bit more digging on the Berlin address books website. The address of Hohenzollerndamm 91 would be in Schmargendorf (southwest of Wilmersdorf) and the address books website helpfully allows one to search by address. Which yielded this.... A widow, R. Goose living at Hohenzollerndamm 91.
Berlin address book entry for Hohenzollerndamm 91, Schmargendorf, Berlin with entry for R. Goose, widow
1936 Berlin address book entry for Hohenzollerndamm 91, Schmargendorf, Berlin
with entry for R. Goose, widow
I jumped forward to 1939 and had a look at Hohenzollerndamm 91 but... no Goose at that address for that year. Searching by last name yielded this:
1939 Berlin address book entry for Goose, Rose, widow, living at Kronbergerstrasse 26
1939 Berlin address book entry for Goose, Rose, widow, living at Kronbergerstrasse 26
This could be Kurt Goose's mother again, Rose Goose, a widow living at Kronbergerstrasse 26 (just around the corner from Hohenzollerndamm 91). She is a Generaldir[ktor?]. [I've had an email subsequent to this blog being posted, from Traugott Vitz, who suggests that as a widow, Rose would have kept the title of her husband (Generaldirektor) as it would have been quite extraordinary for that time period if the title referred to Rose].

Another version of a Berlin address book from Ancestry, has this entry for 1938:
1938 Berlin address book entry for Rosa Goose
1938 Berlin address book entry for Rosa Goose
Likely the same woman given the address. However, in the 1939 address book available on Ancestry, it looks like Rosa has moved to Grunewald. And continued to lived there in 1940 and 1941. The phone number stayed the same:
1939 Berlin address book for Rosa Goose (from Ancestry)
1939 Berlin address book for Rosa Goose (from Ancestry)
But... by 1942... there is no Rosa Goose listed in the Berlin address books. And a search by street name yields no Goose living at Egerstrasse 1 in Grunewald
1942 Berlin address book for surname Goose
1942 Berlin address book for surname Goose
The trail runs cold... at least for Rosa Goose.

Another form of digging, this one for Kurt Goose, yielded the following gold nuggets of information from the University of California, Register 1936-37, Volume II.

On page 137, there is an entry for Kurt Karl Goose, in the list of graduate students for U.C. Berkeley.

Extract from list of Graduate Students at University of California (Berkeley) 1936-1937, page 137
entry for Kurt Karl Goose
On page 414, of the same volume, there is a supplementary list which has his name again.
Extract from Supplementary List of Students at University of California (Berkeley) 1936-37, page 414  entry for Kurt Karl Goose
Extract from Supplementary List of Students at University of California (Berkeley) 1936-37, page 414
entry for Kurt Karl Goose
It would seem that this is pretty good proof that our friend GANDER was Kurt Karl Goose, born in Berlin, who studied Geology at the University of California (likely Berkeley). One mystery solved...

[Thanks to Traugott Vitz for contributing some suggestions on Rose Goose and her address book entries!]

25 February 2019

Media Review - Nazi Murder Mysteries - Yesterday Channel - Hermann Goering (2018)

Yesterday Channel - Nazi Murder Mysteries
Yesterday Channel - Nazi Murder Mysteries
The Yesterday Channel (UK) aired a six-part series entitled "Nazi Murder Mysteries" late last year.

The fifth episode aired in early December.

Episode 5 - Hermann Goering
I have to say, I really didn't know a lot about Hermann Goering prior to watching this episode.

I knew that he was head of the German Luftwaffe and that he escaped the hangman's noose after the Nuremberg War Crimes trials by taking a cyanide capsule, but that was about it.

Episode 5 - Hermann Goering - Nazi Murder Mysteries
The truth, however, seems far more complex and interesting! He was apparently a drug addict and managed to give quite a capable defence at the war crimes trials.

This episode of Nazi Murder Mysteries obviously focuses on the mystery of Goering's death. The American investigation concluded that Goering had had the pill hidden on his person. But that conclusion simply raises more questions. How did Goering manage to hide a cyanide capsule from his captors for so long? Surely the Allies knew about the Nazi penchant for hiding cyanide capsules in false teeth? For years, rumours have swirled that one of the American guards smuggled a capsule to Goering. Was there any truth to those rumours?

Interesting episode which opened up the question of Goering's suicide.

4.5 out of 5 - well done.

20 February 2019

Sad News

This blog schedule has been a bit disrupted of late. I normally try to have things pre-posted several weeks in advance but... circumstances sometimes intervene.

A few weeks ago, Josef's last surviving child, my father, Raymond Jakobs, passed away at the age of 86 on the west coast of Canada. My Dad lived a long, full life and was extremely excited about my book on Josef. Raymond was only 9 years old when Josef left on his espionage mission and never really knew what happened to him. We had hoped that my Dad might make it to May and see the book in print, but such was not to be.