Post-World War 2, Bernie Gunther investigates the murder of an American Nazi-hunter amongst the ruins of the Third Reich in this riveting thriller in Philip Kerr's bestselling historical mystery series.
Vienna, 1947. Bernie Gunther had his first brush with evil as a policeman in 1930s Berlin and came to know it intimately as a private eye under the Nazis, when each case drew him deeper into the enormities of the regime. Now the war is over and Bernie is in Vienna, trying to clear an old friend and ex-Kripo colleague of the murder of an American officer. Amid decaying imperial splendor Bernie traces concentric circles of evil that lead him to a former head of the Gestapo and to a legacy that makes the atrocities of the war seem lily-white in comparison...
In the wreckage of postwar Berlin, PI Bernie Gunther--in his third appearance--accepts coal for payment and reluctantly takes on a case for Russian Col. Palkovich Poroshin, one of the despised ``Ivans.'' Asked to prove black marketeer Emil Becker innocent of the death of U.S. Counterintelligence Corps Capt. Edward Linden, Gunther leaves Berlin (and his unfaithful wife) for Vienna, where the incarcerated Becker insists he had been set up while delivering SS files to Linden at the behest of a stranger named Konig. Gunther's search for Konig attracts the attention of the CIC's John Belinksky, who also believes Becker was framed. After saving Gunther from some drunken Russians, Belinsky asks Gunther to infiltrate the ranks of a super-secret group of ex-Nazis whose leader may be former Gestapo head Heinrich Muller. Obviously, the Nazi-hunting CIC wants Muller badly, but Belinsky drops a bombshell that brings into question his own role in the investigation. Unleashing a series of stunning revelations, Kerr ( The Pale Criminal ) discloses the reasons for the Russians' interest in Linden and for the many deaths involved in Gunther's case. Rooted in historical details, driven by a powerful narrative, this atmospheric novel traces a frightening course amid a multiplicity of ironies.