Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Man From Berlin

Philip Kerr has written many interesting books since his famous Berlin Noir trilogy, set in Germany before, during and after World War II. But now, with a new Bernie Gunther story – THE ONE FROM THE OTHER – due out in hardcover in September, it seems like a perfect time to revisit the original, a Penguin paperback containing the entire stunning trilogy.

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.