Monday, December 26, 2016


This is the tenth novel in Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series of detective novels.  It's the first Philip Kerr novel I've read.

The thing which immediately distinguishes this series from just another "hard boiled" detective series (the jacket proudly proclaims that "Philip Kerr is the only bona fide heir to Raymond Chandler") is the setting of the books in Nazi Germany.

Bernie Gunther used to be a real police detective, now he's just another German trying to survive World War II.  The police have now become a part of the SS, and Bernie is on special assignment for the Nazi Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels.   There is a beautiful actress, Dalia Dresner, that Herr Goebbels has the hots for.  She wants to know whether or not her father in Croatia is still alive and Goebbels wants her for his movies and his bed.

Philip Kerr

Bernie has a real tendency to leave a body trail behind him.  Bernie also likes beautiful women and they like him.  A recipe for a ripping good yarn and a painless history lesson.  As an SS officer in the Third Reich, Bernie has learned that ordinary murders don't mean much when nations are engaged in genocide.  Written in the first person "hard boiled" style, Kerr is skilled in letting his German Sam Spade tell the tale.

It did feel to me like the novel was somewhat padded and overlong.  If  it was about two hundred pages shorter, it would have been a five star novel.  As it is, the Bad Catholic gives it three and a half Sherlock Holmes hats.

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