A Novel by Ed Brodow

The Facts

Women From Venus
Four Short Novels

Harry Wolkof, who inspired the novel Fixer Most of the incidents in Fixer are based on true events. The novel was inspired by the colorful life of the author's grandfather, Harry Wolkof, a larger-than-life New York City politician and humanitarian.

Wolkof served as Chief Clerk of the Gates Avenue Municipal Court in Brooklyn and was standard bearer of the Harry Wolkof Association, a philanthropic organization dedicated to tolerance. He was born to extreme poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1884 and died in 1961 in the psychiatric ward of Brooklyn State Hospital. Harry was fortunate enough to witness most of the extraordinary changes – electric power, automobiles, airplanes, radio, television, antibiotics – that made the 20th Century so remarkable.

Harry Wolkof lived in the Machiavellian world of New York City politics, eventually emerging as the power behind the throne in Brooklyn Democratic circles in the 1920s and 30s. As a power broker, his passion was helping those less fortunate than himself, especially immigrants and minorities who were taken advantage of by a corrupt justice system. The association that bore his name was a magnet for political and business bigwigs in the borough of Brooklyn for twenty years.

William Kushakow (Curly Murphy) in the Marines during World War I.One of the main characters in Fixer is Willie Malakow (Curly Murphy), Harry Leonnoff's brother-in-law and psychotic serial killer. Willie is based on the author's great-uncle, William Kushakow, who served as sergeant in the Sixth Machine Gun Battalion, Fourth Marine Brigade.

Uncle Willie fought with distinction at Belleau Wood, Chateau Thierry, Soissons, St. Mihiel, and every other World War I action in which the U.S. Marine Corps participated.

The real Curly Murphy came home in 1919 with a chest full of medals, including the Croix de Guerre from the French government. Sadly, a burglar appropriated all of Willie's medals from the author's New York apartment.


Fiorello La Guardia, Mayor of New YorkThe main antagonist in Fixer is Fiorello La Guardia, the "Little Flower" (his nickname based on the English translation of "Fiorello"). La Guardia was the first Italian-American to serve in Congress and, with the possible exception of Peter Stuyvesant, the most famous of all New York City mayors.

La Guardia's three-term tenure as mayor (1934-1945) is notable for two primary reasons: he all but destroyed Tammany Hall, the corrupt Democratic political machine that ruled the city for a hundred years, and he built public housing, bridges, tunnels, hospitals and other public works that brought New York into the modern era. One of New York's airports and a Broadway show (Fiorello) were named after him.

The Lower East Side

The Lower East Side, site of Harry Leonnoff's Dickensian childhood, was ground zero for what has become known as the "melting pot" of New York City. Hordes of immigrants lived here in horrendous conditions that are described in Fixer.

The Manhattan Bridge

The Manhattan Bridge is the scene of Fixer's exciting climax. The author was accosted on this bridge at the age of 13 by two thugs brandishing hunting knives. They wanted a quarter for passage across the bridge. Fortunately, the author acquiesced or there would be no Fixer. Harry Leonnoff is accosted on the bridge by his pistol-toting brother-in-law, Willie Malakow (Curly Murphy).

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