Bernie Gunther is the ideal narrator for Philip Kerr's bleak tale of the dirty deals made by victors and vanquished alike in post-war Germany. Having learned that there's no way to distinguish 'the one from the other', the cynical P.I. has the moral clarity to see through the deceit and hypocrisy of both friend and foe. Munich, 1949: Amid the ...Read MoreBernie Gunther is the ideal narrator for Philip Kerr's bleak tale of the dirty deals made by victors and vanquished alike in post-war Germany. Having learned that there's no way to distinguish 'the one from the other', the cynical P.I. has the moral clarity to see through the deceit and hypocrisy of both friend and foe. Munich, 1949: Amid the chaos of defeat, it's home to all the backstabbing intrigue that prospers in the aftermath of war. A place where a private eye can find a lot of not-quite-reputable work: cleaning up the Nazi past of well-to-do locals, abetting fugitives in the flight abroad, sorting out rival claims to stolen goods. It's work that fills Bernie with disgust - but it also fills his sorely depleted wallet. Then a woman seeks him out. Her husband has disappeared. She's not looking to get him back - he's a wanted man who ran one of the most vicious concentration camps in Poland. She just wants confirmation that he's dead. It's a simple enough job. But in post-war Germany, nothing is simple...Read Less
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Read this and be amazed. Kerr's pre and post war Germany detective stories show complete mastery of "tough" and humorous diction of classic noir mysteries and wear incredible depth of knowledge, if not erudition, easily. If you can tolerate a few instances of extreme violence, well within bounds for the time and place, you will find these engrossing and rewarding reading. Kerr piles on fascinating details and keeps the plot moving, while developing a highly unusual protagonist convincingly. This could be his best effort to date, as it delineates the links between the Nazi extermination of Germany's Jewish population and forces that are still very much alive in the Middle East today. This is far more than a good story; it shows that forces contributing to Hitler's "final solution" are still a factor in the world today.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-07-24 Set in 1949, Kerr's excellent fourth novel to feature Bernhard Gunther (after 1991's German Requiem) finds the erstwhile PI managing a failing hotel about a mile from the site of the Dachau concentration camp. After the death of his wife, Kirsten, in a mental hospital, he calls it quits and opens a private detective agency. A series of missing-Nazi cases sets Bernie on a course that becomes increasingly complicated until he's beaten to a near pulp, had his little finger chopped off and is sent to a mysterious private estate to recover. There he's drawn into a nightmare involving the American occupation and the CIA, and soon his life hangs in the balance. Kerr's stylish noir writing makes every page a joy to read ("The little mouth tightened into a smile that was all lips and no teeth, like a newly stitched scar"). Perfectly plotted, the book builds to a satisfying conclusion. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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