Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crime Fiction Masters: Berlin Noir: Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther Novels

Philip Kerr is the author of many novels, but perhaps most important are the ones featuring Bernie GuntherA Quiet Flame, The One from the Other, and the Berlin Noir trilogy (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem). Kerr lives in London and Cornwall, England, with his family.

The Philip Kerr Bernie Gunther  mysteries are exciting and insightful looks at life inside Nazi Germany -- richer and more readable than most histories of the period. We first meet ex-policeman Bernie Gunther in 1936, in March Violets (a term of derision which original Nazis used to describe late converts.) The Olympic Games are about to start; some of Bernie's Jewish friends are beginning to realize that they should have left while they could; and Gunther himself has been hired to look into two murders that reach high into the Nazi Party. In The Pale Criminal, it's 1938, and Gunther has been blackmailed into rejoining the police by Heydrich himself. And in A German Requiem, the saddest and most disturbing of the three books, it's 1947 as Gunther stumbles across a nightmare landscape that conceals even more death than he imagines.

The Bernie Gunther novels:

March Violets. London: Viking, 1989.
The Pale Criminal. London: Viking, 1990.
A German Requiem. London: Viking, 1991.
The One From the Other. New York: Putnam, 2006.
A Quiet Flame. London: Quercus, 2008.
If The Dead Rise Not. London: Quercus, 2009.
Field Grey. London: Quercus, 2010
Prague Fatale. London: Quercus, 2011

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