Summer 1942. When Bernie Gunther is ordered to speak at an international police conference, an old acquaintance has a favour to ask. Little does Bernie suspect what this simple surveillance task will provoke . . .
One year later, resurfacing from the hell of the Eastern Front, a superior gives him another task that seems straightforward: locating the father of Dalia Dresner, the rising star of German cinema. Bernie accepts the job. Not that he has much choice - the superior is Goebbels himself.
But Dresner's father hails from Yugoslavia, a country so riven by sectarian horrors that even Bernie's stomach is turned. Yet even with monsters at home and abroad, one thing alone drives him on from Berlin to Zagreb to Zurich: Bernie Gunther has fallen in love.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Prolific British author Philip Kerr delivers a crackling eighth novel in the Bernie Gunther series that will ensnare you whether or not you’re already familiar with the series. This noir tale swirls around the relationship between Gunther—an ex-homicide cop and reluctant agent of the Nazi intelligence service—and a stunning Yugoslavian-born actress hailed as Germany’s answer to Greta Garbo. Kerr took our breath away with his chilling depictions of a hellacious time and an action-packed plot. The Lady from Zagreb proves that Gunther is one of the most interesting and complicated detectives in fiction.
The 10th book in Kerr's Bernie Gunther series (after A Man Without a Breath) is largely set in 1942 Berlin. This time, Bernie, an officer in the SD, begins to serve at the beck and call of Josef Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Truth and Propaganda, whose main interest of the moment is Dalia Dresner, a beautiful young actress he is promoting as "the German Garbo." Dalia enlists the help of Bernie to find her estranged father, who she thinks is in a monastery in Yugoslavia. She wants Bernie to deliver a message to her father asking him to come to Germany to see her. After she and Bernie begin an affair, he agrees to make the trip, traveling across the dangerous countryside and discovering that instead of being a monk, Dalia's father is the cruel, fascist commandant of an infamous Yugoslavian concentration camp. Reader Lee gives the commandant a surprisingly cordial, Austrian-inflected accent, similar to that of Dalia. Lee's Goebbels is outgoing, with more than a hint of smug amusement in his speech. Many of the German officers have a sardonic curl to their conversation, twisting simple statements into smarmy innuendo. Bernie, the narrator of the novel, is Lee's best vocal creation; his crisp British delivery sounds insouciant, sarcastic, and self-effacing a perfect match for Kerr's flippant Nazi- and self-loathing hero. A Putnam hardcover.