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Bora is ordered to investigate the murder of Walter Niemeyer, a dazzling clairvoyant, a star since the days of the Weimar Republic. For years he has mystified Germany with his astounding prophecies. Bora’s inquiry, supported by former S.A member Florian Grimm, resurrects memories of the excessive and brilliant world of Jazz Age cabarets and locales. Around them, in the oppressive summer heat, constant allied bombing, war-weary Berlin teems with refugees and nearly a million foreign laborers. Soon Bora realizes that there is much more at stake than murder in a paranoid city where everyone suspects everyone, and where persistent rumors whisper about a conspiracy aimed at the very heart of the Nazi hierarchy. Could the charming Emmy Pletsch, who works for Claus von Stauffenberg, be a key to understanding what is going on? Bora eventually meets with Stauffenberg, facing an anguishing moral dilemma, as a German soldier and as a man. The 20 July plot and its dramatic implications as never told before.
In Pastor's intelligent if somewhat labored seventh Martin Bora mystery (after 2019's The Horseman's Song), the gentlemanly German army officer, who has returned to Berlin from the Italian front in July 1944 for a funeral, receives a summons from Arthur Nebe, the chief of the Criminal Police. Many pages pass before Bora actually meets with Nebe, who wants him to investigate the murder of the enigmatic Walter Niemeyer, who went under a variety of aliases, one of which was the Weimar Prophet, a high-society clairvoyant who flourished in the decadent years before the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933. Bora learns that Niemeyer was able to convince many of his extrasensory gifts, including high-ranking members of the Third Reich. Filled with period details, the narrative dwells on Bora's complex family dynamics as well as encounters with such historical figures as Claus von Stauffenberg, a principal in the July 20 plot to kill Hitler. The author's fine style compensates only in part for the slow-moving mystery plot. Fans of the late Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series may want to give Pastor a try.