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The Lady from Zagreb (Hardcover)
The latest Bernie Gunther from Phillip Kerr concerns an aspect of WW II history about which I’d never heard – Nazi plans to invade Switzerland and Swiss plans to defend their country. Of course, there’s other things going on in The Lady from Zagreb and Bernie is up to his tunic in trying to stay on the side of the angels and on this side of the grave. Caught up between Dr. Goebbels and a movie star he covets, the book follows Gunther from Berlin to Zagreb and the killing fields of Croatia and back, and into the delicate balance of peace in which the Swiss live.
Unlike some of the past stories, this one unfolds in a fairly short period of time and focuses more on Bernie’s reputation as a detective. The sick center of these books is, of course, that there is so much murder taking place that a policeman’s work is really beside the point. And that is brought up time and again since Bernie is just back from the slaughter in Poland. And as grisly as that job was, what awaits him in Croatia stuns even the hardened Kripo copper.
But investigate murders he does but cause that is his nature. There’s a lawyer coshed with a brass bust of Hitler, there are spies from the US (including one famous one), undercover Gestapo agents, Swiss detectives, a writer of mysteries and, really, a Lady in the Lake ( a sly reference to Chandler’s novel published that same year). And then there is the woman of the title, a lovely, provocative and dangerous dame. And, finally, you’ll learn where his wife came from, the one with whom he ran a hotel after the war.
Kerr writes in the afterward (something always to be read before reading the fiction) that he had thought he’d finished with Gunther but was prevailed to write another one and that there will be another one in 2016.
Oh boy. If you like Chandlerian mysteries and you like fiction laced with historical figures and events, you should be reading Kerr’s Bernie Gunther books. They’re terrific.— JB
From New York Times bestselling author Philip Kerr, the much-anticipated return of Bernie Gunther in a series hailed by Malcolm Forbes as the best crime novels around today.
A beautiful actress, a rising star of the giant German film company UFA, now controlled by the Propaganda Ministry. The very clever, very dangerous Propaganda Minister close confidant of Hitler, an ambitious schemer and flagrant libertine. And Bernie Gunther, former Berlin homicide bull, now forced to do favors for Joseph Goebbels at the Propaganda Minister's command.
This time, the favor is personal. And this time, nothing is what it seems.
Set down amid the killing fields of Ustashe-controlled Croatia, Bernie finds himself in a world of mindless brutality where everyone has a hidden agenda. Perfect territory for a true cynic whose instinct is to trust no one.
About the Author
Philip Kerr is the author of nine widely acclaimed Bernie Gunter novels, most recently The Man Without Breath. Field Gray, the seventh in the series, was a finalist for the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best Novel. Kerr has also been a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best Hardcover Fiction and he won the British Crime Writers Association s Ellis Peters Award for Historical Crime Fiction. Under the name P. B. Kerr, he is the author of the much-loved young adult series Children of the Lamp. He lives in London."