March Violets (Bernie Gunther Series #1)

March Violets (Bernie Gunther Series #1)

by Philip Kerr
3.1 36

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

March Violets (Bernie Gunther Series #1) by Philip Kerr

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.

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: 63,358
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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. 36 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.
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
If you are a child of the Second World War, this will grab your imagination.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love old school Noir - films and novels. Kerr gets the standard roles and lingo right. He has a true gift for simile, many of which are hilarious, mist if which are highly creative. The story is fairly typical for the form, if a bit convoluted. All Noir tropes are present and accounted for. Kerr's hero is markedly different from the Spades and Marlowes of the genre in that he is operating in the perilous environment of the Third Reich, the dark horror which is tightening it's grip on Berlin as the series begins. No gumshoe in 1930s LA, had to worry about winding up in a Gestapo interrogation room in addition to dealing with gangsters, scammers, bent cops, corrupt politicians, greedy executives and femmes fatales. This adds a very real undercurrent of tension, as well as a fascinating look at the madness of the era and the bewildered despair of the average citizens who realize their own culpability in ignoring the danger of Hitler's rise to power. The ev geniune, relentless fear permeates everyday life resulting in the gradual dehumanization of an entire nation. This a aspect alone makes thisa series worth reading because it provides the reader with an education about the times which cannot be felt or understood by the vast historical materials with we which we are most familiar; the equivalent personal perspectives we get are I overwhelmingly from non-German sources and active enemies of the Reich, both German and not. Bernie offers the insight of a passive enemy of the wrongness in his country, his own and that of others who feel powerless to take bold action, but who consistently try to resist becoming mindless drones for evil.
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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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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.