Erdman, Paul E. 1932-2007 (Paul Emil Erdman)

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Erdman, Paul E. 1932-2007 (Paul Emil Erdman)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 19, 1932, in Stratford, Ontario, Canada; died of cancer, April 23, 2007, in Healdsburg, CA. Economist, banker, and author. After working as an economist and banker, Erdman became an Edgar Award-winning author of financial thriller novels. He had many interests as a young man, and earned a divinity degree from Concordia Seminary in 1954. The next year, at Georgetown University, he completed a second degree at the School of Foreign Service. Continuing his studies in Switzerland, Erdman completed a master's degree at the University of Basel in 1956, and a doctorate in theology, European history, and economics in 1958. Armed with such impressive credentials, he was hired as an economist by the European Coal and Steel Community—forerunner of the European Common Market. From 1959 to 1962, he served as economist at the Stanford Research Institute, and for the next three years was executive vice president of Electronics International Capital Ltd. in Bermuda. Not desiring to be an economist his entire life, Erdman set off on his next venture. With backing from financier Charles Salik, he founded the Salik Bank in Basel in 1965 and served as its vice chair. The private bank was purchased four years later by United California Bank. The next year, however, there was a huge scandal when the bank lost fifty million dollars and Erdman was one of several people to be accused of illegal market speculation. Declaring his innocence, he was jailed in 1970, but was released on bail. Erdman then fled the country for the United States. He was tried in absentia and found guilty of fraud. Erdman would have been quickly imprisoned had he returned to Switzerland, so he remained in America. It was while in jail, however, that he began writing his first novel, The Billion Dollar Sure Thing (1973). The book won the Edgar Award in 1974, and it and Erdman's next financial thriller, The Silver Bears (1974), were both turned into movies. Erdman would go on to pen ten novels all together, with the last one, The Great Game, to be published posthumously. Along with these successes, Erdman continued to offer financial advice as an economist. He was a radio host in San Francisco during the 1980s and was a columnist and contributing editor to Manhattan Inc. magazine. From 1998 to 2005 he was also a columnist on international affairs and finance for the online service MarketWatch. Among Erdman's nonfiction works are Swiss-American Economic Relations (1958), Paul Erdman's Money Book: An Investors' Guide to Economics and Finance (1984), and Tug of War: Today's Global Currency Crisis (1996).



Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2007, p. B10.

New York Times, April 25, 2007, p. A29.

Times (London, England), April 30, 2007, p. 51.

Washington Post, April 30, 2007, p. B6.