March Violets (Bernie Gunther Series #1)

March Violets (Bernie Gunther Series #1)

3.1 35
by Philip Kerr
     
 

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Hailed by Salman Rushdie as a “brilliantly innovative thriller-writer,” Philip Kerr is the creator of taut, gripping, noir-tinged mysteries that are nothing short of spellbinding. The first book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, March Violets introduces readers to Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he’d seen everything on the streets of

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Overview

Hailed by Salman Rushdie as a “brilliantly innovative thriller-writer,” Philip Kerr is the creator of taut, gripping, noir-tinged mysteries that are nothing short of spellbinding. The first book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, March Violets introduces readers to Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he’d seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin—until he turned freelance and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture. Hard-hitting, fast-paced, and richly detailed, March Violets is noir writing at its blackest and best.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Echoes of Raymond Chandler but better on his vivid and well-researched detail than the master." —Evening Standard

"Taut, brutal, coarse, believable and gripping stuff." —Sunday Telegraph

"Kerr’s complex intrigue allows space for brilliantly provoking political asides." —Sunday Times

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The brutality and corruption of Nazi Germany serve as the backdrop for this impressive debut mystery novel. Scottish-born Kerr re-creates the period accurately and with verve; the novel reeks of the sordid decade that saw Hitler's rise to power. Bernhard Gunther is a hard-boiled Berlin detective who specializes in tracking down missing persons--mostly Jews. He is summoned by a wealthy industrialist to find the murderer of his daughter and son-in-law, killed during the robbery of a priceless diamond necklace. Gunther quickly is catapulted into a major political scandal involving Hitler's two main henchmen, Goering and Himmler. The search for clues takes Gunther to morgues overflowing with Nazi victims; raucous nightclubs; the Olympic games where Jesse Owens tramples the theory of Aryan racial superiority; the boudoir of a famous actress; and finally to the Dachau concentration camp. Fights with Gestapo agents, shoot-outs with adulterers, run-ins with a variety of criminals, and dead bodies in unexpected places keep readers guessing to the very end. Narrator Gunther is a spirited guide through the chaos of 1930s Berlin and, more important, a detective cast in the classic mold. Kerr is at work on a sequel to this sparkling and witty tale. (July)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142004142
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/27/2004
Series:
Bernie Gunther Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
95,761
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.77(h) x 0.46(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Echoes of Raymond Chandler but better on his vivid and well-researched detail than the master." —Evening Standard

"Taut, brutal, coarse, believable and gripping stuff." —Sunday Telegraph

"Kerr’s complex intrigue allows space for brilliantly provoking political asides." —Sunday Times

Meet the Author

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

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March Violets (Bernie Gunther Series #1) 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Now I have read all of the Philip Kerr Bernie Gunther novels. March Violets proves to be the weak one in the pile, as I guess that Kerr was just trying to thresh out the character that he later made into such an intriguing and fascinating detective. The time frame for the novels, usually in the Hitler days or shortly thereafter is informative and seemingly historically accurate. In March Violets I felt that the story and character of Bernie Gunther had not been as well fleshed out as it later is. It was also disappointing that Gunther used, as an interrogation tactic, the threat to turn a person over to the "queer squad," knowing full well that the interrogee was not gay, and that the sick squad would make short order of him anyway. Gunther is later presented as a man with more integrity, and this episode is a stain on his record.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kept picturing Bogart playing Bernie in the movie of this novel. I don't agree with these who are critical of the 'homophobia'. This is set on the late '30s and that is the way it was in these times. Good story, great character.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Film noir mood. Characters vividly drawn. Added bonus = descriptions of Berlin and Berliners as Germany succumbs to National Socialism. Rather too gritty for fans of MC Beaton I'ed suggest, otherwise should be appealing to those who enjoy a sense of place along with their mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are a child of the Second World War, this will grab your imagination.
DaveAzBc More than 1 year ago
This was a good mystery which I found interesting throughout. The protagonist, a cynical ex-cop, is now a private eye in 1936 Berlin. His anti-authority attitude keeps it entertaining for the reader, albeit dangerous for his own safe survival. The author makes use of frequent metaphors in describing things and in the characters' dialogs...perhaps more often than I have encountered in real life! There is also a lot of unknown slang coming from the characters' mouths. Using the context, I could usually figure out what they meant. I still don't know if this is supposed to be 1936-era slang, German slang, or British slang (the author is British). I may try another Bernie Gunther mystery in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It started off really good. The lead character, Bernie Gunther, had some great laugh out loud lines. Love the WWII era and thought this would be a great new series. Too many characters to keep track of and by the middle of the book i was losing my interest. Lots of profanity also which I don't care for. Ended up being a pretty mediocre read for me and would not bother with the rest of the series. Disappointing.
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BETKAT More than 1 year ago
Author is a good story teller and it had some good surprises. Often reminded me of the old "Mike Hammer" detective. Taking place in a very troubled time in Germany. Author wove factual accounts and people into his novel. This character, Bernie Gunther, is sharp and interesting and invites you to follow his next adventure. It was a good read.
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Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
March Vio­lets by Philip Kerr is the first in a series of noir nov­els about Bernie Gun­ther, an ex-policeman who turned pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tor. March vio­lets refers to Ger­mans who went along with the Nazi vio­lence mindlessly. Bernard Gun­ther is a Berlin detec­tive, an ex-cop, who spe­cial­izes in track­ing down miss­ing per­sons, espe­cially Jews. A wealthy indus­tri­al­ist asks Bernie to track down the mur­der of his daugh­ter and son-in-law who were killed dur­ing a robbery. The inves­ti­ga­tion is any­thing but sim­ple and Bernie is soon thrown into a world of polit­i­cal scan­dals involv­ing art­work, Goer­ing, Himm­ler and the upper Ger­man class. Before he knows it, Bernie finds him­self watch­ing Jessie Ownes make a mock­ery out of Aryan racial supe­ri­or­ity the­ory, fight­ing Gestapo agents, shoot outs and as a pris­oner in Dachau. I read a few Bernie Gun­ther books before this one, but after I read the first one I ran out (mean­ing inside) to the store (Inter­net) and browsed (searched) for used copies of the series. Being a sin­gle minded Nean­derthal, as my beloved wife can attest to, I decided to read March Vio­lets first because… well… it’s first. The novel has a murder/mystery aspect but even more fas­ci­nat­ing is the sense of cop­ing with Nazi hor­rors on a daily base. The sense of the Nazis tak­ing over and destroy­ing souls feels very real in this novel and is an under­ly­ing hor­ror which is present on every page. The book’s psy­cho­log­i­cal aspect (intended or not) of just how Ger­mans went along numb­ingly with the Nazi atroc­i­ties is fas­ci­nat­ing and disturbing. Gun­ther is an inter­est­ing pro­tag­o­nist, a gray man who uses humor and sar­casm to cope with the end­less bureau­cracy, over­bear­ing admin­is­tra­tion, crim­i­nal ele­ments (both within and out­side the law) and the bru­tal­ity of the times. Gun­ther is never the smartest or strongest man in the room, but some­how he always man­ages to survive. The writ­ing is very good, but I have a feel­ing Mr. Kerr tried a bit too hard to make it a noir book and some­times sim­i­les stretch for a few sen­tences which make the read­ing labo­ri­ous. The overuse of sim­i­les and metaphors actu­ally takes away from the excel­lent and rich sto­ry­line. March Vio­lets by Philip Kerr is a clas­sic hard-boiled detec­tive story with a fast plot and bru­tal vio­lence. I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing the rest of the series which I know will become better
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Love Bernie Gunther and this trilogy is brilliant.
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