The Curious Case of the Spy Who Never Was



INFAMY! is the story of a greedy family's 'Faustian bargain' and its consequences world wide. It is a fictional version of the colossal intelligence and investigative failures that drew the United States into World War II. The story is based on actual events. The family at the center of the tale is real, as are the president, his cabinet, some federal officials, military officers and J. Edgar Hoover. All other characters are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

INFAMY!  is a story about what might have been. The characters at the center of the story had the power to change history. Why didn't they?


FROM THE BOOK: "Abruptly, the scratching and clanking of the key to his isolation cell jolts Steiner from his reverie. Hungry, exhausted, bewildered and emotionally drained, he slowly hauls himself to his feet and capitulates to the two soldiers who handcuff and half drag him to the familiar interrogation room. They pass cell after cell of young men, presumably soldiers. He has no idea how long he has been in this place. He figures they question him at least once a day, maybe more, so it has been several days. Maybe He’s lost count.

     The guards deposit him roughly onto a metal folding chair. A bright light blinds him. He has lain in semi darkness for hours on a thin, blue-striped mattress infested with bed bugs. He squints, wanting to rub his watery, itchy eyes, but his hands are cuffed behind the chair, tugging at his shoulder joints. He squirms, seeking relief from the searing pain and light, trying to rub his eyes on his shoulders.

     “All this because I needed money,' he moans."



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READERS RESPOND: "Engaging and well told, a page-turner. It's a story, fictionalized, of course, that few people know, loaded with irony and 'what ifs,' which are always fascinating. History abounds with alternatives, and Infamy! is no exception.


The author offers logical and reasonable suppositions about his characters' choices. Was there ever a more unlikely spy than Rolf Steiner?

Above all, what are we to make of the FBI's ineptitude and Franklin Roosevelt's duplicity. The author challenges us to consider that 'the 'infamous' that fall (1941) were legion.' I found it fascinating to create my list of possibilities. Fox is correct; they were 'legion.'"  — 'Gold Star' - Amazon

Stephen Fox's INFAMY! cleverly mixes fact and fiction ... to bring us the inside story of the days leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. We are introduced to the Steiners, a real life ex-pat German family living in Honolulu, a family with the familiar stresses and foibles common to family life ... What are the Steiners up to? They visit the Japanese Consulate; their nine year-old son takes the long way to school and uses a telescope to study the harbor. They always need money ...

Meanwhile, one of the married FBI agents begins a passionate love affair with a beautiful young woman who unbeknownst to him is the Steiners' daughter ... Why does J. Edgar Hoover insist the Steiners not be taken in for questioning? We know, of course, what happened at Pearl Harbor. What we don't know is what role if any the Steiners played, or what happened to them and the agents who were on their case in the days and years following the attack. In INFAMY! Fox gives us the fascinating details. — Amazon