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A German Requiem (Bernard Gunther, #3)
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A German Requiem (Bernard Gunther #3)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,550 ratings  ·  118 reviews
The disturbing climax to the Berlin Noir trilogy

Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels have won him an international reputation as a master of historical suspense. In A German Requiem, the private eye has survived the collapse of the Third Reich to find himself in Vienna. Amid decaying imperial splendor, he traces concentric circles of evil and uncovers a legacy that makes th
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published October 1st 1991 by Viking Books (first published 1991)
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Oct 14, 2014 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction
to start this book finishes Philip Kerrs' Berlin Noir trilogy and while the story starts in Berlin 1947, a city under siege by the communist threat, most of it plays in Vienna. So I would label this last book more Vienna Noir than anything.
This whole book was guided by my internal soundtrack of Orson Welles The third man mostly by Anton Karas who played the famous theme on the zither. Which is perhaps not that odd when you consider the story told in this novel and the amount both have in commo
Lynne Premo
Mysteries have always been one of my favorite forms of historical fiction because of their ability (when well written) to provide a glimpse of life in another time, place, etc while still being entertaining but not insulting your intelligence. Kerr does so wonderfully here with post-WWII Berlin/Vienna, slipping in additional information about the Soviet POW camps, postwar espionage and hypocrisy among the governmental bodies involved, and the atrocities on all sides that came at the end of the w ...more
PI Bernie Gunther of post-war Berlin is a Marlowe-type shamus. Lots of Chandler metaphors, quips, and atmosphere. The hard-boiled element is there. Bernie goes to Vienna where he tangles with the Yanks, Brits, "Ivans", French, and Austrians. Shifty alliances and twists drive the plot. Great, intelligent read with first-rate writing. A must for any PI genre fans.
This gritty third book in the Bernie Gunther series keeps the noir action coming. The setting in 1948 Vienna is vivid, and the author obviously has done his homework. The threadbare, anxious postwar moment is expertly sketched through characters who must somehow scratch out a life as East and West duel over the spoils of World War II. The plot moves along through cafes, rubble, pensions, prisons, and suburbs the war missed as the constant question of who works for who unfolds. There are lots of ...more
This one felt more like a history lesson than a noir thriller, Bernie Gunther basically behaving like a tour guide through post war atrocities than as a German Marlowe.

There's some kind of convoluted plot involving multiple parties with dubious morals and an elastic sense of who is working with/for whom, there's so much back stabbing and double crossing going on simply serving as a stream of red herrings and the padding out of the book to it's longer than previous entries page count.

The blurb ta
Julie Barrett
The third in the Bernie Gunther series and far less appealing than the first two books. The third book occurs in 1947, nearly 10 years after the second book. That's quite a gap in the narrative. The reader learns near the beginning of the book a condensed version of Gunther's last 10 years - joining the SS under duress, requesting a transfer to the Eastern Front once he realized how sweeping the mass murders of the final solution were, being captured by the Russians & sent to a POW camp, esc ...more
Melinda Seyler
Mar 09, 2013 Melinda Seyler rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melinda by:
Book 3 is "Requiem", which takes place after the war, mostly in Vienna. In many ways it is the least sexist and yet somehow falls flat to me. Again a lot of intricate plotting, but It's not hard to follow. This one moves right into Dashiell Hammett's nameless detective, even referring to various of his books again.
Here's a quote that feels to me much like a rewrite of the end Sam Spade speech from "The Maltese Falcon" where he tells the girl why he has to do things the way he does. This is from
Brian Williams
This is the final book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, and in my opinion it is the best of the three books. It is 1947 and Bernie Gunther is back in the private investigation business after a stint in a Russian POW camp. He is hired by a former Kripo "colleague" who is being held in an American military prison in Vienna on a trumped up murder charge. He thinks Bernie can get him off. Bernie travels to Vienna, leaving his wife behind (I think this is the first appearance for his wife, Kristen) and ge ...more
Now I can say I have read all three of the Berlin Noir books. Apparently this series is a success, or Kerr likes writing them, because detective Bernie Gunther has continued to appear in other books, set in places like South America. But having read the first three, I must confess to thinking that this was the weakest of the pack - which is not saying that it is not a good book. Second rate Kerr is still better than the offerings of most mystery writers. The first two had the advantage of being ...more
Wayne Zurl

Book 3 in the Berlin Noir trilogy takes us to Berlin in 1947. Bernie Günther is finished with the SS, the Whermacht, and police service in general. He’s back in the private investigations business and business is good. Thanks to the war there are many missing persons to track down. But Bernie is in poor health. Food is scarce, the leg injured while a prisoner of war hurts like hell, his wife is being unfaithful, and his old clothes fit like a fifty pound bag on twe
Bernie Gunther is a smart-mouthed, sassy, hip private detective who exercises his speciality in the Nazi and post-Nazi Germany. If he is the star of Philip Kerr’s series of novels, Germany in the wake of Hitler’s rise,reign, and ruin is the co-star and creates the moral and cultural setting for Gunther’s life and work. The tensions are all there, how to live in a death dominated society, the practice of integrity in the midst of a lawless culture, the look of authenticity when the pursuit of sur ...more
Margery Marcus
This is the last and darkest of the Bernie Gunther Berlin trilogy. The war is over, the Allies are dividing up Berlin, and Gunther has been recruited to find evidence to help a former friend charged with murder. Berliners are starving and freezing, innocent people fall victim to torturous deaths (think wine press), and no one is who he claims to be. Bernie attempts to make his way through a labyrinth of conflicting stories, red herrings, and political intrigues, often unsuccessfully. The writing ...more
Matti Karjalainen
Philip Kerrin "Saksalainen sielunmessu" (Atena, 2014) on järjestyksessään kolmas Berlin Noir -sarjan osa, ja sekin tuli ahmaistua joulunpyhinä. Kovaksikeitetyssä dekkarissa seikkaillaan tällä kertaa Wienissä vuonna 1948. Bernie Gunther saa huomata olevansa nappulana kuolemanvaarallisessa pelissä, johon ovat sekaantuneet niin Neuvostoliiton kuin Yhdysvaltain tiedustelupalvelut sekä entiset SS-miehet.

"Saksalainen sielunmessu" jaksoi viihtyttää koko kestonsa ajan ja saattoi olla sarjan toistaiseksi
"A German Requiem" is as great as the two previous books in the original trilogy, "March Violets" and "The Pale Criminal", although there's a nine year gap between books two and three, WWII has come and gone and the whole of Europe has been smashed to pieces. It's a twisting, dark story set in the ruins of Berlin and Vienna, with a fantastic gallery of German, Austrian, American and Russian characters of which hardly anyone turns out to be who they're supposed to be. In the story, Carol Reed’s T ...more
Maria João Fernandes
"- O mundo está podre.
- Sim, mas não digas a ninguém, está bem?"

O detective privado Bernhard Gunther envelheceu onze anos, sobreviveu à 2ª Guerra mundial e casou-se com uma mulher, de quem no momento desconfia que o trai com um soldado americano. Nesta história, que tem lugar no pós-guerra, a intriga politica sobrepõem-se às personagens.

"Têm de haver alguns valores humanos consensuais mesmo em tempo de guerra."

Gunther, movido pelo dinheiro que lhe faz falta, tenta provar a inocência de um amigo
"These days, if you are a German you spend your time in Purgatory before you die, in earthly suffering for all your country's unpunished and unrepented sins, until the day when, with the aid of the prayers of the Powers - or three of them, anyway - Germany is finally purified.

For now we live in fear. Mostly it is fear of the Ivans, matched only by the almost universal dread of venereal disease, which has become something of an epidemic, although both afflictions are generally held to be synonymo
This preface to the book gives me goosebumps every time.

It is not what they built.
It is what they knocked down.
It is not the houses.
It is the spaces between the houses.
It is not the streets that exist.
It is the streets that no longer exist.
It is not your memories which haunt you.
It is not what you have written down.
It is what you have forgotten, what you must forget. What you must go on forgetting all your life.
From 'A German Requiem', by James Fenton

I love his over-the-top descriptions
Jim Leffert
It’s 1947 and with the Nazis being defeated, the now married Bernie Gunther has gone back to being a private detective in Berlin. (Assigned to the SS during the war, Bernie quickly requested a transfer to a combat unit. This action was taken at some personal risk, since the SS heads considered this a form of desertion, but his request was granted.) In this entertaining third volume of Philip Kerr’s series, a Soviet colonel hires Bernie to go to Vienna to look for evidence that can free Emil Beck ...more
The third of the series featuring Bernie Gunther. WWII has now been lost, and miraculously Bernie has survived -- miraculously because, having been co-opted into the SS, he was able to escape having to participate in that organization's crimes only by volunteering for combat. Now, a PI in Berlin once more, he's wondering if his wife is giving blowjobs to occupying Americans for money and gifts when he's hired by a Russian officer to try to produce the evidence that will save a convicted murderer ...more
This is the third installment of the Bernie Gunther mysteries. A decade has passed and WWII is over. Bernie's back story of his involvement in the war is displayed seamlessly over the story of his latest investigation.

Berlin is in ruins in 1947, and people are doing whatever they need to survive. Bernie has married, and his relationship with his wife hasn't recovered from the effects of their separation during the war. When a job is offered in Vienna, he jumps on the chance to make some money, g
J. Michael
The third of Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels is set after the Second World War, amidst the rubble of Berlin and Vienna. The language is less noirish than the first two books but the plot holds together better than either of them does.

That language isn't necessary because the setting almost overwhelms one with the sense of cynicism, world-weariness, and despair that noir thrives on. Surrounded by bombed out buildings and the brutal occupation of the Red Army (as well as the less brutal but equally
So Bernie Gunther is back! Hooray! After finishing "The Pale Criminal" a while ago and loving that so much, I was really excited about returning to this series. But, of course, I had to wait. I can blame my literature teacher for that. But, with the school year coming to a close I was able to return to this series. It's 1948 and World War Two is over. Gunther barely survived it, having been sent to a Russian POW camp, where the risk of surviving is about one in a thousand. He returns to Germany ...more
Interesting crime novel that manages to transcend mediocrity by using Nazi Germany as the background setting. The way Kerr portrays the third Reich, or in this case it’s remains, is brilliant as it gives us a clue of how life might have been back than (something most history books fail to do as they are too preoccupied with the bigger characters and not the common people). If you don’t have some slight knowledge of Nazi Germany however or are eager to learn about it, the novel loses much of its ...more
Helluva gritty finale in Kerr's Berlin Noir trilogy. Set in 1948 Germany and Austria, just before the Russians blockage Berlin, this tale is as hard-boiled and full of violence as the first two . . . and the moral universe Bernie inhabits is nearly as desolate and full of cruelty as the one he did private detection before WWII. This is a gut-wrenching tale about what it was like to be a German on the losing end, just before the iron curtain goes up and the cold war begins. Visceral.
Nice concept. Ex-Nazi, Gulag survivor. An ordinary private detective in way over his head in international espionage. Setting: right after WWII.

Very talented writing; strong metaphorical descriptions and nice humor popping up throughout the general gloom.

My problem is the plot, which is a not terribly original runaround. And the bad guys are rejects from James Bond casting calls.
A well written and solid detective story, set amidst the grim and harsh world of post-war Germany and Austria. Our hero is now a former Russian POW, eking out a marginal existence in the ruins of Berlin as, again, a private detective. Suddenly, he is offered a small fortune to prove that a former associate did not in fact murder a US officer. This case leads Gunther to Vienna, and a mess of intrigue, between the US and the Soviets, and his fellow Germans.

The story does suffer just a tad from th
Pc Rice
Final book in the Berlin Noir trilogy. This one takes place after the war in occupied Berlin and Vienna. It's an intriguing conspiracy theory that Kerr puts forth and Bernie Gunther continues to be an enjoyably cynical P.I. with a stubborn streak of morality and a conscience that won't let him turn his back when he should for his own good. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series, which, I understand, jump around chronologically, in and out of the war years.
Doug Newdick
An interesting conclusion to the Berlin Noir trilogy of Bernie Gunther detective novels from Philip Kerr. A very interesting change of scene from Berlin to Vienna, and the interesting backdrop of the 4 powers division of Germany and Berlin. But some parts of the story didn't ring true in this complex story of spies, betrayal and ex-Nazis.
Another excellent spy mystery/thriller featuring private investigator Bernie Gunther. This third book skips forward several years--the past book was in 1936, before WWII...this one is in the late 40's. Bernie, now married and living in war-ravaged Berlin in his bombed-out house, is approached to travel to Vienna to investigate a murder and attempt to clear one of his former police colleagues. The money is definitely right, so he does so, and ends up in a long and twisted plot--or several plots-- ...more
Geo Forman
Another really good historical mystery by Kerr using his private investigator, Bernie. This time, Germany has been defeated and Bernie's home turf is now occupied by the allies of WWII. The Soviets are, in some ways, worse than the Nazis but at least the Americans have brought food to the city. Many of the occupiers are profiting in the black market as are former Nazis. Bernie gets tangled up in the murder of an American colonel who hunts war criminals but is nit above feathering his own nest. I ...more
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Kerr has published eleven novels under his full name and a children's series, Children of the Lamp, under the name P.B. Kerr.

More about Philip Kerr...

Other Books in the Series

Bernard Gunther (9 books)
  • March Violets (Bernard Gunther, #1)
  • The Pale Criminal (Bernard Gunther, #2)
  • The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4)
  • A Quiet Flame (Bernard Gunther, #5)
  • If The Dead Rise Not (Bernard Gunther, #6)
  • Field Gray (Bernard Gunther, #7)
  • Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8)
  • A Man Without Breath (Bernard Gunther, #9)
Berlin Noir: March Violets / The Pale Criminal / A German Requiem March Violets (Bernard Gunther, #1) The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4) Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8) Field Gray (Bernard Gunther, #7)

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