Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Wolfgang Hochstetter, Paul Wexler, Ben Stoltz, Wilhelm Klink, Hans Schultz, Hilda Schindler, Marcus Kringle, Johann Schingelheimer
Fandom: Hogan’s Heroes
Genres: Angst, Drama, Mystery
Rating (this chapter): PG-13
Warnings: Major character deaths; Descriptions of strangulations
Summary: Hogan and his men encounter the Hammelburg Strangler.
Chapter Summary: Hochstetter does some investigating of the Hammelburg Strangler case while Marcus and Johann are discouraged.
Date Of Completion: November 11, 2015
Date Of Posting: February 12, 2016
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Paramount does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1433
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
Sir Malcolm Woodbury
English Hunter And Writer
Major Wolfgang Hochstetter was in a bad mood this morning. His investigation of the latest odd happenings at Stalag 13 had once again yielded nothing. Would that camp ever not be a hotbed of traitors and saboteurs?
He slumped in his seat behind his desk. Sometimes it did just not pay to get out of bed in the morning.
What the Fuehrer does not realize what I put up with for him!
He wandered into the break room and picked up the paper, greeted by an editorial castigating the local police for their failure in solving the Hammelburg Strangler murders. It was not his official concern, of course, but as a person in law enforcement, he was professionally curious. He had kept up with the case, trying to come up with a solution, but none had come to him.
He perused the article as he sat down with a cup of coffee. He had been sorry to learn that one of the latest victims had been the pretty secretary at Stalag 13.
He sighed. Was the war not enough for this killer? Did he have to kill innocent young German women? He was disgusted by the whole mess.
Voices were coming down the hall. Hochstetter would have preferred peace and quiet but you learned things by listening. He put the paper down and pretended to be absorbed in the articles.
Two young men, one typically Aryan with blond hair and blue eyes while the other had brown hair and eyes, entered the break room. They took little notice of Hochstetter in the corner table.
Mistake, young pups.
But it was not his place to school young Gestapo. They would learn soon enough.
The blond, Wexler by name, poured mugs of coffee for him and his companion Stoltz. “The incidents in The Tassel has made the gossip round.”
Stoltz snorted. “How to keep that a secret. Berlin can be a sieve at times.”
“Ja.” Wexler took a sip of his coffee. “Such decadence always makes the rounds.”
Stoltz frowned. “Why would someone want to put themselves in such danger? A nightclub like that with known deviants?”
Wexler shrugged. “Some people are just reckless.”
Like you two talking in front of someone, Hochstetter thought.
“Ja, I suppose so.”
Wexler took another sip. “Mannheim says there is talk about our little town.”
“The Hammelburg Strangler?”
Wexler nodded. “Apparently there is some buzz about our situation.”
“Not surprising. It is an unusual one.”
Wexler agreed. “To be fair, this killer leaves few clues. It must be difficult for the local police to make any progress.”
“Ja, they do not have our reputation for getting people to talk, eh?”
The men laughed and left the room. Hochstetter set aside the paper.
Young fools. They have no sense of their surroundings. I could have overheard any number of secrets.
He noted the duo’s names again. He would not be assigning them sensitive cases any time soon! Instead he thought about the Hammelburg Strangler case.
Maybe I can solve this case while performing other duties.
The thought appealed to him. He decided that a visit to Stalag 13 might be in order. Helga had been a victim. Perhaps a clue could be gleaned from a visit, and besides, there was always funny business going on in that accursed camp. Killing two birds with one stone, as the old saying went, would suit him just fine.
“How nice to see you, Major!” Klink rose from his seat behind his desk.
“Bah, Klink, I am not here to listen to you simper.” Hochstetter waved the gloves he held in his hand. “I wish to know about your secretary?”
Sadness crossed Klink’s face. “She is…well, she became a victim of…”
“I know; I know.” Hochstetter waved impatiently. “Did she say anything unusual that day?”
Puzzled, Klink said, “Nothing out of the ordinary. May I ask why?”
“You may not.” Hochstetter ignored Klink’s resigned expression. The man was a fool. He had no wish to explain himself to Klink, of all people. “I wish to speak to Sergeant Schultz.”
Klink called the guardhouse and the sergeant arrived, a bit apprehensive. “Yes, Herr Major?”
“Sergeant, I wish to ask you about Fraulein Helga.” Schultz’s sadness impressed Hochstetter. Helga had obviously been well-liked. “Did she say anything unusual about her date that night at Hilda’s Hofbrau?”
“Nein, sir. She was very happy about meeting her boyfriend that night.”
“Hmm, all right, danke, Sergeant.”
It had been a longshot, but Hochstetter had no urgent cases. Perhaps a little more detective work would suffice.
“Why’s Hochstetter interested in poor Helga?” Newkirk asked.
“Good question,” Hogan said as Kinch shut off the coffeepot.
“It is never good to have the Gestapo sniffing around,” said LeBeau.
“That’s an understatement,” Newkirk agreed.
“Hopefully it’s just Hochstetter on a fishing expedition.” Hogan readjusted his cap. “We have a mission to prepare for. LeBeau, Newkirk, let’s get started.”
Marcus entered the warmth of Hilda’s Hofbrau. There was a good crowd here tonight. Despite the murders, people were still going out.
I wonder if the war has anything to do with it. People are refusing to stay home because of a killer when so many are dying, anyway.
He hung his coat up on the rack, taking a seat at the bar. “Gudenhaben, Frau Schindler.”
“Ah, Detective Kringle. Still on duty?”
“Actually, no. So could you get me a beer, bitte?”
“With pleasure.” Hilda drew the beer on tap and set the mug before him.
“How about a refill, Beautiful?” asked a uniformed man sitting at the end of the bar.
Marcus realized that the man was the Kommandant of Stalag 13. The man shamelessly flirted with Hilda, who enjoyed his attentions. She was certainly a handsome-looking woman, around forty, he would guess. She was blond and had a good figure. A man could do a lot worse.
From what Hogan had told him, Klink was harmless. As long as Hilda had no objections to his flirting, he would leave them alone.
“So nice to see you, Wilhelm.”
“Ah, Hilda, I have thought of you all day!”
“Oh, are you the charmer, ja?”
Klink puffed up like a peacock. Marcus took a sip of his beer. He could see how vain and silly Klink was, just as Karl had indicated. Little wonder that Hogan and his men could run their complex operation from Stalag 13.
Klink was bad at flirting. Why Hilda put up with it was a mystery, but maybe she was a soft touch when it came to men.
The bells above the door jingled and Johann sauntered in. Marcus moved to a table in the corner and signalled for beers. Johann took the empty chair.
“How did it go with the Muellers?”
Johann sighed. “As you might expect. Hans Mueller was shaken up by finding the body. So was his wife.”
“What about the son?”
Hilda arrived with the beers and they smiled at her. Once she was gone Johann spoke.
“Peter is still in mourning. He is blaming himself for letting Helga walk home alone that night.”
Marcus sighed. “Can you blame him?”
“No.” Johann slumped in his chair. “Do we have any progress to speak of, Marcus?”
“Not a lot.” Marcus rubbed his eyes. “We still have to check out watchmakers.”
“All right. Guess we have to get busy tomorrow.” A high-pitched cackle pierced the general laughter of the crowd. Johann looked over at the bar. “Who’s that?”
“TheKommandant of Stalag 13, Colonel Wilhelm Klink.”
Johann snorted. “This is a camp kommandant?”
“Hard to believe, isn’t it?”
“Hmph, Frau Schindler must be hard up.”
Marcus chuckled. “You may be right.” He sipped his beer. “Hmm, trouble in paradise.”
Johann looked over at the bar. “He must have said something to set her off.”
Hilda looked cross as she ignored Klink’s entreaties. Maybe she would give the silly fool the boot, Marcus pondered. He turned his attention back to Johann to discuss the case.
The next morning, Johann called from Heidelberg to eagerly inform Marcus that he had found Otto Strauss’s shop. Even though Strauss had retired in 1924, his nephew had taken over and kept his uncle’s records.
“And on August 1, 1914, a Herr Martin Burger had bought this particular watch, courtesy of the serial number.”
“Marcus, is something wrong?”
“There’s been another murder.”
“And this time it’s a man.”