A Quiet Flame (Bernie Gunther Series #5)

A Quiet Flame (Bernie Gunther Series #5)

by Philip Kerr


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In this riveting historical mystery novel from New York Times bestselling author Philip Kerr, Bernie Gunther trails a serial killer in 1950’s Buenos Aires... 

Buenos Aires, 1950. After being falsely accused of war crimes, Bernie Gunther—like the Nazis he has always despised—has been offered a new life and a clean passport by the Perón government. But the tough, fast-talking ex-Berlin detective doesn’t have the luxury of laying low. The local police pressure Bernie into taking on a case in which a girl has turned up gruesomely mutilated. What’s more, her murder just might be linked to a missing German banker’s daughter and a long-unsolved case Bernie worked back in Berlin before the war. After all, the scum of the earth has been washing up on Argentina’s shores—state-licensed murderers and torturers—so why couldn’t a serial killer be among them?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143116486
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/23/2010
Series: Bernie Gunther Series , #5
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 122,822
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Philip Kerr is the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Bernie Gunther novels, two of which—Field Gray and The Lady from Zagreb—were finalists for the Edgar® Award for Best Novel. Kerr has also won several Shamus Awards and the British Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Award for Historical Crime Fiction. As P. B. Kerr, he is the author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Children of the Lamp.

Read an Excerpt



THE BOAT WAS THE SS Giovanni, which seemed only appropriate given the fact that at least three of its passengers, including myself, had been in the SS. It was a medium-sized boat with two funnels, a view of the sea, a well-stocked bar, and an Italian restaurant. This was fine if you liked Italian food, but after four weeks at sea at eight knots, all the way from Genoa, I didn’t like it and I wasn’t sad to get off. Either I’m not much of a sailor or there was something else wrong with me other than the company I was keeping these days.

We steamed into the port of Buenos Aires along the gray River Plate, and this gave me and my two fellow travelers a chance to reflect upon the proud history of our invincible German navy. Somewhere at the bottom of the river, near Montevideo, lay the wreck of the Graf Spee, a pocket battleship that had been invincibly scuttled by its commander in December 1939, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the British. As far as I knew, this was as near as the war ever came to Argentina.

In the North Basin we docked alongside the customs house. A modern city of tall concrete buildings lay spread out to the west of us, beyond the miles of rail track and the warehouses and the stockyards where Buenos Aires got started—as a place where cattle from the Argentine pampas arrived by train and were slaughtered on an industrial scale. So far, so German. But then the carcasses were frozen and shipped all over the world. Exports of Argentine beef had made the country rich and transformed Buenos Aires into the third-largest city in the Americas, after New York and Chicago.

The three million population called themselves porteños—people of the port—which sounds pleasantly romantic. My two friends and I called ourselves refugees, which sounds better than fugitives. But that’s what we were. Rightly or wrongly, there was a kind of justice awaiting all of us back in Europe, and our Red Cross passports concealed our true identities. I was no more Dr. Carlos Hausner than Adolf Eichmann was Ricardo Klement, or Herbert Kuhlmann was Pedro Geller. This was fine with the Argentines. They didn’t care who we were or what we’d done during the war. Even so, on that cool and damp winter morning in July 1950, it seemed there were still certain official proprieties to be observed.

An immigration clerk and a customs officer came aboard the ship, and as each passenger presented documents, they asked questions. If these two didn’t care who we were or what we’d done, they did a good job giving us the opposite impression. The mahogany-faced immigration clerk regarded Eichmann’s flimsy-looking passport and then Eichmann himself as if both had arrived from the center of a cholera epidemic. This wasn’t so far from the truth. Europe was only just recovering from an illness called Nazism that had killed more than fifty million people.

“Profession?” the clerk asked Eichmann.

Eichmann’s meat cleaver of a face twitched nervously. “Technician,” he said, and mopped his brow with a handkerchief. It wasn’t hot, but Eichmann seemed to feel a different kind of heat from that felt by anyone else I ever met.

Meanwhile, the customs official, who smelled like a cigar factory, turned to me. His nostrils flared as if he could smell the money I was carrying in my bag, and then he lifted his cracked lip off his bamboo teeth in what passed for a smile in that line of work. I had about thirty thousand Austrian schillings in that bag, which was a lot of money in Austria, but not so much money when it was converted into real money. I didn’t expect him to know that. In my experience, customs officials can do almost anything they want except be generous or forgiving when they catch sight of large quantities of currency.

“What’s in the bag?” he asked.

“Clothes. Toiletries. Some money.”

“Would you mind showing me?”

“No,” I said, minding very much. “I don’t mind at all.”

I heaved the bag onto a trestle table and was just about to unbuckle it when a man hurried up the ship’s gangway, shouting something in Spanish and then, in German, “It’s all right. I’m sorry I’m late. There’s no need for all this formality. There’s been a misunderstanding. Your papers are quite in order. I know because I prepared them myself.”

He said something else in Spanish about the three of us being important visitors from Germany, and immediately the attitude of the two officials changed. Both men came to attention. The immigration clerk facing Eichmann handed him back his passport, clicked his heels, and then gave Europe’s most wanted man the Hitler salute with a loud “Heil Hitler” that everyone on deck must have heard.

Eichmann turned several shades of red and, like a giant tortoise, shrank a little into the collar of his coat, as if he wished he might disappear. Kuhlmann and I laughed out loud, enjoying Eichmann’s embarrassment and discomfort as he snatched back his passport and stormed down the gangway and onto the quay. We were still laughing as we joined Eichmann in the back of a big black American car with a sign, VIANORD, displayed in the windshield.

“I don’t think that was in the least bit funny,” said Eichmann.

“Sure you don’t,” I said. “That’s what makes it so funny.”

“You should have seen your face, Ricardo,” said Kuhlmann. “What on earth possessed him to say that, of all things? And to you, of all people?” Kuhlmann started to laugh again. “Heil Hitler, indeed.”

“I thought he made a pretty good job of it,” I said. “For an amateur.”

Our host, who had jumped into the driver’s seat, now turned around to shake our hands. “I’m sorry about that,” he told Eichmann. “Some of these officials are just pig-ignorant. In fact, the words we have for pig and public official are the same. Chanchos. We call them both chanchos. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that idiot believes Hitler is still the German leader.”

“God, I wish he was,” murmured Eichmann, rolling his eyes into the roof of the car. “How I wish he was.”

“My name is Horst Fuldner,” said our host. “But my friends in Argentina call me Carlos.”

“Small world,” I said. “That’s what my friends in Argentina call me. Both of them.”

Some people came down the gangway and peered inquisitively through the passenger window at Eichmann.

“Can we get away from here?” he asked. “Please.”

“Better do as he says, Carlos,” I said. “Before someone recognizes Ricardo here and telephones David Ben-Gurion.”

“You wouldn’t joke about that if you were in my shoes,” said Eichmann. “The soaps would stop at nothing to kill me.”

Fuldner started the car and Eichmann relaxed visibly as we drove smoothly away.

“Since you mentioned the soaps,” said Fuldner, “it’s worth discussing what to do if any of you is recognized.”

“Nobody’s going to recognize me,” Kuhlmann said. “Besides, it’s the Canadians who want me, not the Jews.”

“All the same,” said Fuldner, “I’ll say it anyway. After the Spanish and the Italians, the soaps are the country’s largest ethnic group. Only we call them los rusos, on account of the fact that most of the ones who are here came to get away from the Russian czar’s pogrom.”

“Which one?” Eichmann asked.

“How do you mean?”

“There were three pogroms,” said Eichmann. “One in 1821, one between 1881 and 1884, and a third that got started 1903. The Kishinev pogrom.”

“Ricardo knows everything about Jews,” I said. “Except how to be nice to them.”

“Oh, I should think, the most recent pogrom,” said Fuldner.

“It figures,” said Eichmann, ignoring me. “The Kishinev was the worst.”

“That’s when most of them came to Argentina, I think. There are as many as a quarter of a million Jews here in Buenos Aires. They live in three main neighborhoods, which I advise you to steer clear of. Villa Crespo along Corrientes, Belgrano, and Once. If you think you are recognized, don’t lose your head, don’t make a scene. Keep calm. Cops here are heavy-handed and none too bright. Like that chancho on the boat. If there’s any kind of trouble, they’re liable to arrest you and the Jew who thinks he’s recognized you.”

“So there’s not much chance of a pogrom here, then?” observed Eichmann.

“Lord, no,” said Fuldner.

“Thank goodness,” said Kuhlmann. “I’ve had enough of all that nonsense.”

“We haven’t had anything like that since what’s called Tragic Week. And even that was mostly political. Anarchists, you know. Back in 1919.”

“Anarchists, Bolsheviks, Jews, they’re all the same animal,” said Eichmann, who had become unusually talkative.

“Of course, during the last war, the government issued an order forbidding all Jewish immigration to Argentina. But more recently things have changed. The Americans have put pressure on Perón to soften our Jewish policy. To let them come and settle here. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more Jews on that boat than anyone else.”

“That’s a comforting thought,” said Eichmann.

“It’s all right,” insisted Fuldner. “You’re quite safe here. Porteños don’t give a damn about what happened in Europe. Least of all to the Jews. Besides, nobody believes half of what’s been in the English-language papers and on the newsreels.”

“Half would be quite bad enough,” I murmured. It was enough to push a stick through the spokes of a conversation I was starting to dislike. But mostly it was just Eichmann I disliked. I much preferred the other Eichmann. The one who had spent the last four weeks saying almost nothing, and keeping his loathsome opinions to himself. It was too soon to have much of an opinion about Carlos Fuldner.

From the back of his well-oiled head I judged Fuldner to be around forty. His German was fluent but with a little soft color on the edges of the tones. To speak the language of Goethe and Schiller, you have to stick your vowels in a pencil sharpener. He liked to talk, that much was evident. He wasn’t tall and he wasn’t good-looking, but then he wasn’t short or ugly either, just ordinary, in a good suit, with good manners, and a nice manicure. I got another look at him when he pulled up at a level crossing and turned around to offer us some cigarettes. His mouth was wide and sensuous, his eyes were lazy but intelligent, and his forehead was as high as a church cupola. If you’d been casting a movie, you’d have picked him to play a priest, or a lawyer, or maybe a hotel manager. He snapped his thumb on a Dunhill, lit his cigarette, then began telling us about himself. That was fine by me. Now that we were no longer talking about Jews, Eichmann stared out of the window and looked bored. But I’m the kind who listens politely to stories about my redeemer. After all, that’s why my mother sent me to Sunday school.

“I was born here, in Buenos Aires, to German immigrants,” said Fuldner. “But for a while, we went back to live in Germany, in Kassel, where I went to school. After school I worked in Hamburg. Then, in 1932, I joined the SS and was a captain before being seconded to the SD to run an intelligence operation back here in Argentina. Since the war I and a few others have been running Vianord—a travel agency dedicated to helping our old comrades to escape from Europe. Of course, none of it would be possible without the help of the president and his wife, Eva. It was during Evita’s trip to Rome, in 1947, to meet the pope, that she began to see the necessity of giving men such as you a fresh start in life.”

“So there’s still some anti-Semitism in the country, after all,” I remarked.

Kuhlmann laughed, and so did Fuldner. But Eichmann remained silent.

“It’s good to be with Germans again,” said Fuldner. “Humor is not a national characteristic of the Argentines. They’re much too concerned with their dignity to laugh at very much, least of all themselves.”

“They sound a lot like fascists,” I said.

“That’s another thing. Fascism here is only skin-deep. The Argentines don’t have the will or the inclination to be proper fascists.”

“Maybe I’m going to like it here more than I thought,” I said.

“Really,” exclaimed Eichmann.

“Don’t mind me, Herr Fuldner,” I said. “I’m not quite as rabid as our friend here wearing the bow tie and glasses, that’s all. He’s still in denial. To do with all kinds of things. For all I know, he still holds fast to the idea that the Third Reich is going to last for a thousand years.”

“You mean it isn’t?”

Kuhlmann chuckled.

“Must you make a joke about everything, Hausner?” Eichmann’s tone was testy and impatient.

“I only make jokes about the things that strike me as funny,” I said. “I wouldn’t dream of making a joke about something really important. Not and risk upsetting you, Ricardo.”

I felt Eichmann’s eyes burning into my cheek, and when I turned to face him, his mouth went thin and puritanical. For a moment he continued staring at me with the air of one who wished it was down the sights of a rifle.

“What are you doing here, Herr Doktor Hausner?”

“The same thing as you, Ricardo. I’m getting away from it all.”

“Yes, but why? Why? You don’t seem like much of a Nazi.”

“I’m the beefsteak kind. Brown on the outside only. Inside I’m really quite red.”

Eichmann stared out the window as if he couldn’t bear to look at me for a minute longer.

“I could use a good steak,” murmured Kuhlmann.

“Then you’ve come to the right place,” said Fuldner. “In Germany a steak is a steak, but here it’s a patriotic duty.”

We were still driving through the dockyards. Most of the names on the bonded warehouses and oil tanks were British or American: Oakley & Watling, Glasgow Wire, Wainwright Brothers, Ingham Clark, English Electric, Crompton Parkinson, and Western Telegraph. In front of a big, open warehouse a dozen rolls of newsprint the size of hayricks were turning to pulp in the early-morning rain. Laughing, Fuldner pointed them out.

“There,” he said, almost triumphantly. “That’s Perónism in action. Perón doesn’t close down opposition newspapers or arrest their editors. He doesn’t even stop them from having newsprint. He just makes sure that by the time it reaches them the newsprint isn’t fit to use. You see, Perón has all the major labor unions in his pocket. That’s your Argentine brand of fascism, right there.”


Excerpted from "A Quiet Flame"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Philip Kerr.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Quiet Flame (Bernie Gunther Series #5) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Tigerpaw70 More than 1 year ago
Book 5 in the Bernard Gunther series This fiction examines Directive 11, a secret order issued in 1938 that bared Jews from entering Argentina and the consequences that derived from it. It also explored the rumour and the strong possibility that a concentration camp existed in a remote part of the country. At the time thousands of Argentina's Jewish citizens had simply disappeared, never to be seen again. Coincidently, in later years, Argentina became a safe haven for Nazis in hiding. " A Quiet Flame ", opens in 1950 with private eye Bernie Gunther, now in fine form getting off the boat in Argentina. He is not alone; one of the other passengers is Adolf Eichmann. Both have changed their identities to avoid the consequences of their past and are trying to start a new life in a new country. It didn't take long before Bernie was fingered by President Peron's secret police, it turns out they had a file on him and knew about his past activities. They felt he could assist them in the political investigation of a child abduction and murder. Knowing he had no choice but to accept, he used the opportunity to gain medical treatment for his thyroid cancer. After reviewing the case he notices many similarities with unsolved cases he worked on back in early 30's Berlin, once again he finds himself forced to tread a delicate path. Gunther's work attracts the beautiful Anna Yagubshy who is desperately looking for help in finding her Jewish relatives who have disappeared; he is immediately drawn into a horror story that rivals everything from his past. The Peron period of Buenos Aires holds terrible secrets within its corrupt halls of power, one never knows whom to trust and danger is waiting at every corner. The stories move back and forth in time from Bernie's past early 30's Berlin to the turbulent time of post war Buenos Aires 1950. The depiction of the two eras is fascinating and captivating, it also gives a unique and intriguing view into the Nazi haven created during the time of President Peron. The characterization is superb and the players have depth. I like Gunther particularly; he is a compelling protagonist, an ex-SS "collaborator" with strong ethics. This novel never lags for thrilling and chilling suspense; it will grip you from the start. The sub-plots are as powerful as the main plot and contain many dead-ends and red herrings blended seamlessly creating a well-crafted work of fiction. I started with this novel and find it could easily stand alone but was left so intrigued and entertained by the protagonist adventures I feel impelled to read the author's previous works.
Muggsy More than 1 year ago
Bernie Gunther goes to Argentina shortly after WWII ended to escape war crimes prosecution. Of course Bernie was framed. Nevertheless he winds up fleeing with other famous Nazis to Peron's Argentina - a truly safe haven where Nazi are welcome. I did not realize the extent to which Argentina identified with the Nazis, or even supposedly carried out their own small scale (relatively) program of Jewish extermination. Kerr mixes in historical fact and a fictional detecting plot to put Bernie to work and in contact with all the top historical players from Eva Peron to Adolph Eichmann. This is a good mystery, a load of fun for Bernie Gunther fans, and great historical sidebars as well.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Bernie Gunther is at it again in this 5th Bernie Gunther series novel! This famous Berlin homicide detective is investigating a 1950 case in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that's intimately connected to one large and several connected cases in 1932 Berlin. The cases in both countries are ripe with terror and information that could end Bernie's career and life. Bernie, a sleuth well-respected by his Berlin peers, is asked to investigate the murder of a young girl found with her internal pelvic organs surgically and carefully removed. It's a vicious death, commonly referred to as a "lust" murder and it's not the first one Bernie's heard about. In fact, there's an amazing amount of child prostitution, abortion and these connected murders happening, a sign to Germany's up and coming Nazi party that Germany is in need of Adolph Hitler's political victory. In fact, Bernie seems throughout the novel to go out of his way to demonstrate how deeply he despises the Nazi party tactics of brutality and death against Jews, Communists, Gypsies, homosexuals and disabled men and women, even before Hitler takes power as the leader of Germany. That seems like an amazingly large agenda for the Nazi Party but it looks like Bernie's wishes aren't going to happen. He is repeatedly warned that in the coming days his attitude could make or break his police career. A few very violent and devastatingly intimidating experiences in the course of his investigative work foreshadow what Germany will be like in the not too distant future. When Bernie gets very close to solving the mystery, he is removed from the case and thinks it's time for him to consider other career options. But years later in 1950 Argentina, Bernie's in a different situation altogether. He's been forced to join the Nazi exiles in Peron's Argentina as a purported SS officer criminal whom the Allies would love to find, bring to trial and punish. That scenario, however, seems highly unlikely, although Bernie hints at unspeakable acts he was forced to commit as a member of the SS squad. However, his fame has followed him and he is asked by President Peron and his wife, the notorious Evita, to find out who committed a similar murder to that of the Berlin case and to find a missing young girl. Bernie knows the cases are linked but doesn't realize the extent of the obstacles that will be set to thwart his search and the complications arising from other requests to find missing persons. A Quiet Flame never lags for thrilling and chilling suspense that grips the reader's attention steadily and consistently. Philip Kerr is a writer who knows precisely how to build a case, provide subplots that are minor yet just as powerfully plotted as the main conflict, and present characters with enough depth of personality that is as much of a mystery as the events under investigation. It's a rare writer who can keep this balancing act moving and vibrantly credible. Philip Kerr does all so very, very well. This is a novel you absolutely must not miss and will want to share with family and friends for sure! Superb!!! Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on April 2,2009
silencedogoodreturns More than 1 year ago
Another great Bernie Gunther read. Highly recommended. I found this one to be much starker and more depraved than even his earlier books. Nazi influences in Argentina post WWII, detective work in Berlin on the eve of Nazi takeovers, a love interest and a betrayal. Highly entertaining and provocative.
bookbilly More than 1 year ago
Not the Argentina of Evita! A Quiet Flame is the 5th in the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr. If you've read the previous books, you won't be disappointed in this noir style detective novel featuring the wise cracking, irony quoting, anti-Nazi Bernie providing the atmospherics of both 1932 Berlin and 1950 Buenos Aries. You'll also know why he's now in Argentina. Chapters mostly alternate between the two periods, with the linkage being a murder supposedly committed in an identical manner in both locales. Why and how this manners is the basis for the twists and turns characteristic of this genre. Here, however, those plot twists unfold while we witness the impending disintegration of the Weimar Republic and the complicity of Argentina, and especially Juan and Evita Peron, with the Nazi cause. You'll gain new insights into those periods, especially that of Nazi haven Argentina, by an author who certainly knows his history.
Tom_Real More than 1 year ago
Like Mr. Kerr's earlier books, this one gives you another chance to hear a Nazi war criminal justify their war time crimes. And, as you would expect, criminals are criminals whether they are at war or during peace. A good read.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating novel taking place as Hitler rises, and then following up after the war with life in Argentina. Bernie Gunther proves to be an adept detective, finding the real bad guys, as he struggles to save his own hide. Highly recommended.
BruderBane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oscillating between Buenos Aires 1950 and Berlin 1932 Philip Kerr¿s ¿A Quiet Flame¿ is a solid hard-boiled novel. Mr. Kerr has a knack for capturing not just the grandeur of a city and time but its seamier edges as well. One of the aspects I love the most about Mr. Kerr¿s novels is his research and compelling intensity to detail. This characteristic becomes readily apparent when you begin to investigate Mr. Kerr's myriad of Stygian characters. Hopefully, the future is replete with an abundance of Bernie Gunther novels.
lgep on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The action shifts from 1938 Berlin to 1950 Buenos Aries. It was fascinating to learn about all the Germans who landed in Argentina and all the bad things many of them did there. Especially new to me was the creation of death camps in Argentina, and also the glimpse into the personalities of Eva and Juan Peron. Bernie Gunther is the detective.
ehines on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Philip Kerr first came to me attention as the author of the Berlin Noir trilogy, where he masterfully created an atmosphere and a set of characters that felt appropriate to Weimar and Nazi Germany.Later he went on to produce a number of poor-man's Critchton novels before returning to Germany & his Berlin Noir protagonist Bernie Gunther in 2005 or so.Kerr seems to be recovering his knack for the Gunther series. He's dialed sown the wisecracking: although a reader new to the series will still immediately remark upon the snappy dialogue, it doesn't beggar credulity as it had in the last novel in the series.The dark vision of the long-suffering protagonist recalls Martin Cruz Smith's Renko, and sometimes in this novel it seems as if Kerr might be capable of the kind of depth of observation Smith has been able to achieve in his Renko series. But the airport novels that are also a big part of Kerr's legacy pull pretty palpably in another direction. This novel, at least, achieves some sort of balance between those forces.
shayrp76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Berlin detective, Bernie Gunther, flees Berlin for Argentina after being falsely accused of war crimes. Since he has the reputation of a great detective he is recruited there to find a missing girl before it is too late for her. He is reminded in the course of investigating of the old unsolved brutal murders he worked on in Berlin before the war and finds that this missing girl¿s case could be linked with the past. After all, Argentina is harboring many men that tortured and murdered ruthlessly during the war. I have wanted to read something by Philip Kerr for awhile now, so I was happy when I won this giveaway. I enjoyed this plot and getting to know Bernie. There was so much mystery and suspense that I gave up trying to figure it out and just went with the flow. I appreciate that in a novel as I tend to figure stuff out quickly, which can lead to feeling deflated at the end. My only complaint would be that the transition between the past and present wasn¿t smooth for me. I would forget if I was reading about Berlin or Argentina every once in awhile. Otherwise this story was an enjoyable experience and I will happily recommend it.
sworsnup on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is movie worthy! Exciting with excellent writing, I felt like I was watching a movie.
tottman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had read and enjoyed Phillip Kerr¿s work before. Thrillers like Esau and The Second Angel among my favorites. For some reason, I had avoided his Bernie Gunther series, probably because I am often disappointed when an author excels in one genre, but disappoints in another. A Quiet Flame proves me wrong, at least as far as Philip Kerr is concerned. This is an excellent noir mystery.Bernie Gunther is a well fleshed-out and complicated character. The events of A Quiet Flame span Berlin in the time of Hitler¿s rise to power and 1950 Argentina, with a thread connecting both timelines. Kerr does a magnificent job of bringing both pre-war Germany and post-war Argentina to life, but particularly Argentina. I was completely immersed in the setting which let the mystery unfold naturally. Gunther wrestles in both timelines with his own conscience and guilt all while doggedly pursuing answers. The viciousness of the Nazis and those who conspire with them both during their rise to power and in their exile after the war is laid out with brutal frankness through the eyes of a man who recognizes their evil but also recognizes his own will to survive.There is a certain beautiful brutality in the Kerr¿s descriptions. There is also a recognition of the impossibility of true justice for those who commit such atrocities. The depiction of the coverups involved after the fact reflect more an attempt to evade justice than any sense of remorse. The depiction of the Peron government also shows a willingness to look the other way and in many ways, act as despicably as the Nazis in pursuit of political power. The crimes Gunther investigates both in 1932 Berlin and 1950 Buenos Aires are interesting in their own right, but it is the settings and the characters around these crimes that make this a truly wonderful book. I was fortunate to receive a copy of this book through Goodreads. Highly recommended.
daynagayle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
historically informative of politics leading to Hitler's reign of terror and Argentina's history of terror, humor, detective realism,glad I'm only reading this stuff and not living it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book series is well written, has great history, and I highly recommend it! Wish the romantic part of the plot wasn't as predictable over the course of the series. Otherwise no complaints!
BETKAT More than 1 year ago
the Bernie Gunther series are wonderful reads. do yourself a favor and read them all, kerr is a fabulous mystery writer and I wish the next was being written. I would be first in line to buy it.
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shayrp76 More than 1 year ago
Berlin detective, Bernie Gunther, flees Berlin for Argentina after being falsely accused of war crimes. Since he has the reputation of a great detective he is recruited there to find a missing girl before it is too late for her. He is reminded in the course of investigating of the old unsolved brutal murders he worked on in Berlin before the war and finds that this missing girl’s case could be linked with the past. After all, Argentina is harboring many men that tortured and murdered ruthlessly during the war. I have wanted to read something by Philip Kerr for awhile now, so I was happy when I won this giveaway. I enjoyed this plot and getting to know Bernie. There was so much mystery and suspense that I gave up trying to figure it out and just went with the flow. I appreciate that in a novel as I tend to figure stuff out quickly, which can lead to feeling deflated at the end. My only complaint would be that the transition between the past and present wasn’t smooth for me. I would forget if I was reading about Berlin or Argentina every once in awhile. Otherwise this story was an enjoyable experience and I will happily recommend it.
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