Bernie Gunther's sixth outing delivers all the hard-boiled, fast-paced and quick-witted action we expect of him. Berlin is preparing to host the 1936 Olympics, and Jews are being expelled from all German sporting organisations.
Bernie Gunther, forced to resign as a homicide detective with Berlin's Criminal Police, is now house detective at the famous Adlon Hotel. Two bodies are found - a businessman and a Jewish boxer, and Bernie is drawn into the lives of various hotel guests. One, beautiful left-wing journalist, is intent on persuading America to boycott the Olympiad. The other, a Chicago gangster, wants to use the Olympics to enrich himself and the Chicago mob.
As events unfold, Bernie uncovers a vast network of corruption and racketeering, led by those who want a slice of the fortune the Nazis are spending to showcase Germany to the world.
Both newcomers and established fans will appreciate Kerr's outstanding sixth Bernie Gunther novel (after A Quiet Flame), as it fills in much of the German PI's backstory. By 1934, as the Nazis tighten their grip on power, Gunther has left the Berlin police force for a job as a hotel detective. His routine inquiry into the theft of a Chinese box from a guest, a German-American from New York, becomes more complex after he learns that the identical objet d'art was reported stolen just the previous day by an official from the Asiatic Museum. The case proves to be connected with German efforts to forestall an American boycott of the 1936 Olympics, and provides ample opportunities for Gunther, whom Sam Spade would have found a kindred spirit, to make difficult moral choices. Once again the author smoothly integrates a noir crime plot with an authentic historical background. Note that the action precedes the events recounted in the series' debut, March Violets (1989).
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interesting perspective and gripping to boot!
This is my first Philip Kerr novel, having been recommended to me by a good friend - definitely worth a read and shines a light on a controversial period of history, not often shown from the perspective of those caught in Country of growing turmoil and corruption. Stick with the time-jump it adds to the suspense and takes you on an unexpected adventure…!