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Berlin 1934. The Nazis have been in power for just eighteen months but already Germany has seen some unpleasant changes. As the city prepares to host the 1936 Olympics, Jews are being expelled from all German sporting organisations—a blatant example of discrimination.
Forced to resign as a homicide detective with Berlin’s Criminal Police, Bernie is now house detective at the famous Adlon Hotel. The discovery of two bodies—one a businessman and the other a Jewish boxer—involves Bernie in the lives of two hotel guests. One is a beautiful left-wing journalist intent on persuading America to boycott the Berlin Olympiad; the other is a German-Jewish gangster who plans to use the Olympics to enrich himself and the Chicago mob. As events unfold, Bernie uncovers a vast labour and construction racket designed to take advantage of the huge sums the Nazis are prepared to spend to showcase the new Germany to the world. It is a plot that finds its conclusion twenty years later in pre-revolution Cuba, the country to which Bernie flees from Argentina at the end of A Quiet Flame.
It’s 1954 and Bernie has tired of his increasingly dangerous work spying on Meyer Lansky for Cuban Intelligence. He secretly buys a boat and sails to Florida, where he’s arrested, sent back to Cuba and imprisoned in the Isle of Pines. There he meets Castro, and a French intelligence officer…
September 1941: Bernie Gunther returns from the horrors of the Eastern Front to find his home city of Berlin changed, and changed for the worse. The blackout, rationing, the RAF, the S-Bahn murderer and Czech terrorists are all conspiring to make life very unpleasant. Now back at his old desk on Homicide in Kripo HQ, Alexanderplatz, Bernie starts to investigate the death of a Dutch railway worker, while starting something—of an entirely different nature—with a local good-time girl. But he is obliged to drop everything when his old boss, Reinhard Heydrich of the SD, the new Reichsprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, orders him to Prague to spend a weekend at his country house. It’s an invitation Bernie feels he would gladly have been spared, especially when he meets his fellow guests—all of them senior loathsome figures in the SS and SD.
The weekend turns sour almost immediately when a body is found, in a room that was locked from the inside. Now the spotlight falls on Bernie to show off his investigative skills and solve this seemingly impossible mystery. If he fails to do so, he knows what is at stake—not only his reputation, but also that of Reinhard Heydrich, a man who does not like to lose face.
Philip Kerr returns with his best-loved character, Bernie Gunther, in the fifth novel in what is now a series: a tight, twisting, compelling thriller that is firmly rooted in history.
A Quiet Flame opens in 1950. Falsely fingered a war criminal, Bernie Gunther has booked passage to Buenos Aires, lured, like the Nazis whose company he has always despised, by promises of a new life and a clean passport from the Perón government. But Bernie doesn’t have the luxury of settling into his new home and lying low. He is soon pressured by the local police into taking on a case in which a girl has turned up dead, gruesomely mutilated, and another—the daughter of a wealthy German banker—has gone missing. Both crimes seem to connect to an unsolved case Bernie worked on back in Berlin in 1932. It’s not so far-fetched that the cases might be linked: after all, the scum of the earth has been washing up on Argentine shores—state-licensed…[more]
Germany, 1949: Amid the chaos of defeat, it’s a place of dirty deals, rampant greed, fleeing Nazis, and all the intrigue and deceit readers have come to expect from this immensely talented thriller writer. In The One from the Other, Hitler’s legacy lives on. For Bernie Gunther, Berlin has become too dangerous, and he now works as a private detective in Munich. Business is slow and his funds are dwindling when a woman hires him to investigate her husband’s disappearance. No, she doesn’t want him back-he’s a war criminal. She merely wants confirmation that he is dead. It’s a simple job, but in postwar Germany, nothing is simple-nothing is what it appears to be. Accepting the case,Bernie takes on far more than he’d bargained for, and before long, he is on the run, facing enemies from every side.