Heinz Werner Höber
Heinz Werner Höber (1931, Bärenstein – 15 May 1996) was a very prolific pulp fiction author who produced many novels about the fictitious FBI-agent Jerry Cotton and eventually sued his publisher because he felt he had been entitled to receive royalties.
Like Karl May, Heinz Werner Höber was born in Saxony. He also had in common with Karl May that he had been born into a rather poor family. His father introduced him to the works of Karl May in order to give him an incentive to improve his reading skills. Consequently the young Heinz Werner Höber started writing early his own Wild West stories, dreaming about having a career like Karl May, who had finally escaped poverty for good once he had published his famous tales about the fictional Wild West pioneer Old Shatterhand and the Native American Winnetou. After the war Heinz Werner Höber befriended a Russian officer and on his way to West Germany he had the opportunity to visit the Karl May museum in Radebeul. According to "Der Mann, der Jerry Cotton war" ("The man who had been Jerry Cotton") the museum had been closed down for an unknown period of time, but the administrator gave him a sightseeing tour anyway after his Russian friend had emphasised that he carried a gun. But before Höber became a published writer he accomplished his school education.
After some futile attempts to thrive as an actor, a comedian or a playwright he started writing pulp fiction. Those were the times when a gret deal of Germans read pulp fiction on a regular basis because there was only one TV programme. Höber gained the attention of Gustav Lübbe when he was looking for somebody who could deliver new adventures of Jerry Cotton. The first author of Jerry Cotton had grown tired of his creation and of writing pulp fiction in general. Höber became his predecessor and led Jerry Cotton to new heights. He worked diligently on the new stories and driven by his ambitions to walk in the footsteps of Karl May he did not only a very big deal of research on the FBI and on New York, but also invented an American Indian sidekick called Zeerokah for Jerry Cotton. But in opposite to Karl May he didn't reach any fame because allegedly the G-man Jerry Cotton wrote all his tales himself. Also Höber received only an all-inclusive fee for each novel, not considering the amplitude of the publisher's profit. So Heinz Werner Höber followed his cherished idol Karl May another time by meeting his own publisher at court. He demanded recognition as the main author of Jerry Cotton and a significant part of the profit. Since he was neither the actual creator of Jerry Cotton nor at any time the only author of this series (although he was considered the probably most productive and certainly most committed of the altogether about 100 writers) and because he had never been promised to get named or to obtain royalties, the trial did not make him rich but ruined him. Still he had eventually reached a high profile, could publish books under his real name and won the highly accredited Glauser Award.
- Jan Eik: Der Mann, der Jerry Cotton war, published by Das Neue Berlin, EAN 9783359007999
- Die Zeit on Heinz Werner Höber
- Focus on Heinz Werner Höber
- Krimi-Lexikon on Heinz Werner Höber
- Obituary by famous German entertainer Harald Schmidt in Germany's magazine Focus