Metropolis: a goodbye to Bernie

Long before it was fashionable to write detective fiction set in Nazi Germany, Philip Kerr created his Berlin Noir trilogy. That series established an entire genre and inspired a generation of crime writers to set their stories not in Agatha Christie’s golden age of the English upper class but instead in Berlin’s sleazy backstreets. Unlike…

The Ashes Of Berlin: a shattered society

This is not a book to wolf down in one sitting, nor one you can nibble away at in brief bites. It’s too densely detailed and emotionally intense for that. Like a giant supertanker, The Ashes of Berlin takes quite a while to get going – but once you’re absorbed in the plot and characters…

Prussian Blue: murder at the Berghof

It’s 1939 at the Berghof. A Nazi apparatchik just got shot – on the terrace where Hitler takes his tea! When I picked up the 12th book in the Bernie Gunther series I was fully prepared to report that the modern thrillers aren’t a patch on the original Berlin Noir trilogy. Duh. Wrong again. Overall, Prussian…

March Violets: a philosophical investigation

The very first of Philip Kerr’s WW2 Bernie Gunther investigations arrives as a republished stand-alone ebook (previously it was packaged up with The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem to form the ‘Berlin Noir’ trilogy) with perfect timing, just as the 12th book in the series is launched. It’s a clever move. March Violets is…

The Pale Criminal: back to Berlin Noir

Philip Kerr wrote his original Berlin Noir trilogy nearly three decades ago, and it’s been about that long since I last read them. The Pale Criminal is the second in the series and only its brevity suggests that it’s a much older book than the current, long-running series centred around Bernie Gunther. The popularity of…

Tin Sky: meticulous history; convoluted mystery

Set in a period of peculiar stillness between cataclysmic WW2 battles, Tin Sky is a meticulous historical novel constructed around not one but two locked-room murder mysteries. Deeply scarred after barely surviving the horrors of Stalingrad, career Wehrmacht cavalry officer Martin Bora is assembling a new force in preparation for the coming conflict at Kursk.…

Stasi Child: too many plots

Just one or two of the multiple plot threads in this Cold War thriller, set in East Germany in the 1970s, could have created a gripping Iron Curtain conspiracy. The author obviously racked up heavy time with the history books and the text almost creaks at the seams with the strain of containing all the…