Good cop and confirmed Nazi-hater Bernie Gunther (Field Gray, 2011, etc.) lands in the middle of a homicidal riddle.
September, 1941, and here’s Bernie back in Berlin from the Eastern Front, where he’s seen enough horror to preclude easy sleep for the rest of his life. More than ever he despises everything the Nazis stand for, and just as much as ever he’s under their thumb. The good news is, he’s out of the army and once again a Kripo homicide detective, but the job is far from what it was in the days before Germany became Hitler’s, a time when Bernie relished the work and took justifiable pride in his hard-earned expertise. And of course the bad news is, Kripo is now controlled by that arch villain, and boss of the SS, Reinhard "the Hangman" Heydrich, meaning that an investigation is only what Heydrich wants it to be. Suddenly that’s precisely the kind of dubious investigation Bernie finds himself conducting. From Hradschin Castle in Prague, where the newly appointed Reichsprotector holds court, has come a summons to appear immediately. It seems someone has attempted to poison Heydrich; that being the case, Bernie, the designated Reichsprotector’s detective, is required to nail the brazen culprit. At the moment, 39 high-ranking Nazis are guests at the castle. Knowing how little love is lost among those prominent in Hitlerian circles, Bernie figures he’s got 39 prime suspects, though it strikes him as a bit on the foolhardy side that the attempt should be made in the Hangman’s own stronghold. And yet, he decides, in a house “full of murderers, anything is possible.”
Bernie’s voice—ironic, mordantly funny, inimitable—reflects a world-weary journey. Still—and this is the entertaining heart of the matter—readers are never permitted to forget that survival is his religion.