In his 13th adventure, ever imperiled German detective Bernie Gunther investigates a string of murders in Greece with possible ties to Nazi war crimes.
The year is 1957. The one-time Commissar of Berlin's Murder Comission is now hiding out in Munich as morgue attendant "Christof Ganz," happy to be "far away from Bernie Gunther and everything to do with him." That includes the common (wrong) assumption that since Bernie worked among loathsome Nazis during the war, he was one. After escaping a lethal trap set by a dirty cop from his past, Gunther accepts a job as claims adjuster for a powerful insurance company through influential attorney Max Merten. Sent to Athens to assess the sinking of a ship, he encounters a serious setback when its owner, former Wehrmacht Navy man Siegfried Witzel, is found shot through the eyes. Recognizing the M.O. as identical to the one used by a murderer during the war, a Greek cop named Leventis makes Gunther stay on the case, which points back to the confiscation of valuables from tens of thousands of Jews from Salonika who were sent to Auschwitz. In typical top form, Kerr (Prussian Blue, 2017, etc.) provides valuable insights into the times, exposing the moral failings of Adenauer's amnesty for Nazi war criminals and the widespread hatred of Germans in Greece, which in the face of Germany's so-called economic miracle has yet to receive a penny in reparations. As ever, Gunther's mordant witticisms run through the book. Of a tall, attractive woman offering him her charms, he says, "Her dark brown hair was as long as Rapunzel's and I was seriously thinking of weaving it into a ladder so that I might climb up and kiss her."
Inspired by real people and events, the latest novel by the celebrated author of the Berlin Noir trilogy is a deep but breezy work in which even the most trustworthy characters can harbor dark secrets.