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Austrian Author Johannes Mario Simmel Dies

Best-selling Austrian writer Johannes Mario Simmel died Thursday at the age of 84 in Switzerland, his lawyer said in Hamburg Friday.

Austrian author Johannes Mario Simmel

Johannes Mario Simmel was one of the most successful German-language writers

With 73 million copies of his 35 novels and novellas printed, Simmel was one of the most successful German-language writers.

But critics regarded the prolific novelist and screenwriter as a popular fiction writer, rather than as a creator of serious literature.

Simmel was born in Vienna on April 24, 1924. While his Jewish father fled to Britain from the Nazis, Simmel spent the war in Austria.

After a career as a reporter, his breakthrough came in 1960 with "It Can't Always Have Caviar," a spy novel set in World War II and arguably his most famous book which bought him international recognition. His other works include "The Cain Conspiracy" and "The Berlin Connection."

In his books, which were translated into 33 languages, Simmel dealt with current topics such as the drug trade and genetic engineering.

He died near the Swiss town of Zug, where he had been living in a retirement home.

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