Start this book by reading the 'Afterward' which helps to anchor parts of the plot in real history. I am always profoundly touched when I read a Phillip Kerr novel. He reminds me how society can so easily blame the 'other' when things are not going well. In this plot Kerr buries a critique of fallibility of the German Banking System which helped to drive pre WWII Germany into financial depression.
This is a great stand-alone novel for readers who are not familiar with Kerr and his protagonist, chief inspector Gunther. Yes Gunther is sarcastic and sometimes vulgar but the character is authentic and conflicted in a dystopia where there is so little he can do to help vulnerable citizens.
(The eighth book in the Bernie Gunther series)
Bernie Gunther, former homicide detective for Kripo---the criminal investigative branch within German police forces---and later P.I. in pre-WWII Berlin, has been sent home from the horrors of the eastern front and installed as an intelligence agent in the Nazi SD. He is summoned to Nazi-occupied Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1942 to serve as something of an investigative bodyguard for the cruel 'Reich Protector' of the new German provinces of Bohemia & Moravia: Reinhard Heydrich. While there in the SS officer's castle headquarters he becomes involved in a murder investigation that stabs towards the heart of the Nazi mythos, threatening its destruction. A scurrilous cast of Nazi characters are interrogated, but the real culprit is the very last one suspected. And the reasons: as vile in their disregard for human life as their party line is for human decency. Bernie is lucky to get out with his life---before the real BIG crime hits the Obergruppenführer, a sick man in a crumbling castle in the forsaken Czech capital.
-Himmel Library staff
Bernie's incessant sarcasm wearied me.
Very different than the other ones in the series. Weaving the usual Bernie Gunther stuff with an Agatha Christie style whodunit and the historical overtones. It is difficult to write a book set during WWII and keep the realism intact (not succumbing to black and white) but I think Kerr achieves it.
Bernie is the best. Treat yourself and start at the beginning with March Violets and work your way to this one. Which is masterful writing about a fascinating character.
Another gripping Bernie Gunther story. Just finished reading Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, so all of the names have more of a context now. Can't wait to see what Kerr puts this fellow through next.
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