Monday, February 26, 2007

Federspiel Found Dead

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) -- Juerg Federspiel, best known outside his native Switzerland as the author of ''The Ballad of Typhoid Mary,'' has died. He was 75. Federspiel had been missing since mid-January and his body was found on Sunday close to the border with France and Germany, local officials in his hometown Basel said. No cause of death was given, but Klaus Mannhart of the Basel safety department did not rule out suicide, saying there were no outward signs of injury.

Born near Zurich on June 28, 1931, Federspiel worked as a journalist, film critic, essayist and fiction writer, publishing over 20 novels and collections of stories. His books were translated into six languages and his best-known work in the English-speaking world is ''The Ballad of Typhoid Mary,'' based on the true story of a woman in early 20th-century New York who refused to accept that she was the source of numerous outbreaks of typhoid fever.

Federspiel was strongly influenced in his work by the prose style of the American short story, and he spent repeated periods of his life in New York. It was not immediately known whether Federspiel, who had been suffering from diabetes and Parkinson's disease in recent years, left behind any family.