In France, Einhorn has Few Worries

by longformphilly

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Daniel Rubin | Philadelphia Inquirer | December 1999

He has no passport, no driver’s license, no wallet even.

“I am the wallet,” his wife says, looking up from the lamb bourgignon she has been preparing for three hours at Moulin de Guitry, the century-old mill she bought with $100,000 from the sale of her Stockholm apartment.

His last paycheck? “Harvard,” he says. “In 1978. “

Ira Einhorn. Convicted in absentia for murdering his former girlfriend, Holly Maddux. A fugitive from Philadelphia for 16 years. A prisoner, for now, of the French countryside.

Their abundant garden between the rivers L’Argent and L’Or has helped the couple keep their expenses down to $1,100 a month – again, her contribution.

What he provides is “the brain food,” as he calls it. He devours between 300 and 500 pages a day, from as many as 10 books at once. On his night table at the moment: a Mark Helprin novel; a history of psychosomatic medicine; philosopher Henri Bergson; Nabokov in English; Proust in French.

He does most of his reading in bed, lying on his back. He needs little sleep.

His window on the rapidly changing world is the Internet. As part of negotiations with ABC for last spring’s Connie Chung interview, the network bought him a top-of-the-line Dell computer. It allows him to correspond with old allies in the battle for information about UFOs, genetic engineering, drug policies, pharmacology and the environment.

For such an information animal, there are many gaps in the Philadelphia landscaped in his mind. No skyscrapers soar past Billy Penn’s hat in the city he remembers. He is shocked to find Frank Rizzo dead, Edmund Bacon still active.

Ira Einhorn is a bull, a Taurus, charging from idea to idea, while having to stay put. Nothing turns him on more, he says, than when discussions rev up into such a state that friends are firing half sentences at each other.

“I don’t think,” he says. “I’m totally intuitive. “

Writer bio: Daniel Rubin, who teaches courses in Urban Journalism at the University of Pennsylvania, started writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1988. He served as the Inquirer’s European bureau chief, based in Berlin, Germany, from 2000 to 2003.

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