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Item #: BK1173-836
HUSBAND, LOVER, SPY FRITZ STAMMBERGER[Tirich Mir] Janice Pennington 1994 1st ed Hardcover DJ Near Fine [Not Signed]
By Pennington, Janice
Price: $3.95

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Detailed Product Description
Los Angeles, 1994. 271 pp, b/w photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Near Fine.

Fritz Stammberger, a founder of Climbing Magazine and an experienced climber, disappeared on Tirich Mir in 1975. Pennington, his wife, believes that he was CIA and was killed by the Soviets in Afghanistan. 

Pennington, a hostess on the TV game show The Price Is Right, married German mountain climber Friedrich ('Fritz') Stammberger in 1974. The following year, while on an alleged climbing expedition where the borders of Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan converge, he disappeared and was never heard from again. Pennington made inquiries, but , she claims, the CIA informed her that her search compromised national security.

In 1980 she met Carlos de Abreu, a native of Mozambique, and four years later, when Fritz was legally declared dead, they married. To exorcise her first husband's ghost, Pennington and de Abreu continued to investigate his fate. Their quest ended in Moscow, where they found hazy information suggesting that Fritz had been a CIA spy, was dead and buried in Afghanistan.

REVIEW:

Fritz Stammberger found the perfect wife in Janice Pennington: pretty, not overly smart, unquestioning, and willing to marry a foreigner about whom she knew very little after a courtship of mere weeks...The perfect wife for a spy. Even before Pennington suspected her husband of a secret life there was plenty suspect about Stammberger. The guy liked to go off and climb big mountains solo, san oxygen, and when he couldn't get a climbing permit he'd enter sensitive, dangerous areas of the world illegally, hiking in through rough, unpatrolled country to bag peaks.

This alone would (statistics prove) have guaranteed him a life span shorter than the one he actually lived as a captured spy. Pennington's story is poorly written (she's s spokesmodel, what do you expect?) and she doesn't get it that whatever her husband was up to, whether he was a spy or not it was illegal and he WAS NOT a US citizen--being married to one does not count when it comes to risky rescue and investigations.
 
She barely consults her husband's country for help, preferring to spend years (during which Stammberger was apparently still alive) chasing after US intelligence officers who--obviously--couldn't and weren't required to hand over any information about a German national's activities in dicey area of the world.
 
What is surprising is that Pennington gets any resolution at all--really. She reminds me of Gennifer Flowers--tenacious, if a little dim. A weird story that would be much more palatable if Pennington had gotten a ghost author to help her with her 8th grade prose.

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