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by Philip Kerr

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-670-83516-1
Publisher: Viking

 Bernhard Gunther, who's aged over ten years since his first appearance in 1936 Berlin--he's now lived through a hellish war and has settled down warily with a wife who's cuckolding him with one of the occupying Americans--is cast as a less witty but equally mordant detective in this postwar tale of murder and political intrigue. Persuaded by a Russian officer to try to clear his unscrupulous old comrade Emil Becker of the murder of an American officer in Vienna, Bernie follows a trail from Becker to resurrected Gestapo chief Heinrich MÃ…ller--all the while sinking into a Graham Greeneish landscape of casually willing women, men willing to sell anything to survive and exonerate themselves, and occupation forces, both Soviet and American, who alternate between hunting down Nazis and recruiting them into their own intelligence forces. As in March Violets and The Pale Criminal, Bernie's widening investigations steadily deepen the sense of political evil--except that now, unsettlingly, the Nazis have no monopoly on institutional terror. Though not as elaborately horrifying as Bernie's first two adventures, this one, lacking the Reich as automatic villain, is even bleaker--and, in its depressing way, even richer in ironic insight.