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If The Dead Rise Not (Bernard Gunther, #6)
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If The Dead Rise Not (Bernard Gunther #6)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  2,139 ratings  ·  203 reviews
Berlin 1934. The Nazis have been in power for just eighteen months but already Germany has seen some unpleasant changes. As the city prepares to host the 1936 Olympics, Jews are being expelled from all German sporting organisations - a blatant example of discrimination. Forced to resign as a homicide detective with Berlin's Criminal Police, Bernie is now house detective at ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 3rd 2009 by Quercus (first published January 1st 2009)
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30th out of 191 books — 263 voters
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14th out of 79 books — 21 voters

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Community Reviews

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Do Germans actually have pantomimes in the same way the British do?

Is the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie” one which exists in German as well as English?

Philip Kerr’s novel inadvertently raises these questions. It’s something which – I suppose – is always possible when an English author writes a first-person narration from the point of view of a character from a completely different cultural tradition (in this case an ex-cop in Nazi Germany). Firstly, our hero notes that he and his companion are a
After six Bernie Gunther mysteries, I've moved him into the realm of detectives I know and love and would follow anywhere, guys like Donna Leon's Commisario Brunetti or Mankell's Wallender. Gunther is funnier (or rather Kerr's narration is funnier), even while dealing with serious issues like the backwash of Nazism over the 20th Century landscape, the moral ambiguity of survival, the impossibility of love across the decades, and the persistence of evil. This episode is both a prequel and a seque ...more
Good, but I preferred the first half over the second, and the ending was a bit lazy - Kerr is far too good to wrap things up with the standard two page exposition of whodunit as for some reason he did here. Still, well worth the read. Some classic Kerr Guenterisms: "[s]he went back to her hometown of Danzig, which was either a city in Poland or a free city in old Prussia, depending on how you looked at it. I preferred not to look at it, just like I preferred not to look at a lot of things in the ...more
It's easy to believe that the appeal of the Bernie Gunther series resides in its sincere imitation of Chandlerian noir. In the early novels, that was perhaps its only virtue, but Kerr proved in A German Requiem and The One From the Other that he was not only capable of assimilating other influences (notably Graham Greene) into his work, but also exploring the fascinating moral dilemmas of the Nazi and post-war worlds with great success.

At the end of the fourth novel, Kerr had Gunther flee Europe
Philip Kerr alia o policial à história e transporta-nos para a Alemanha de Hitler, em plena azáfama pela realização dos Jogos Olímpicos que serão realizados em 1936.

Na pele do protagonista, Bernie Gunther, vivenciamos o clima que antecede a Segunda Guerra Mundial, espelhando já nessa altura o ódio pelos judeus e por pessoas de “raça inferior”, ou seja, todas as raças que não sejam a ariana.

Gunther, também ele judeu em 4º ou 5º, despede-se como policia, por não se rever nas regras da polícia daqu
It almost hurts to give a Philip Kerr novel three out of five stars, but given how much I have liked the other novels in the Bernie Gunther series, it was harder still to give this book a higher rating.
And it all boiled down to two major issues I had with this novel.
The book was divided into two parts. The first part takes place in 1934 in Berlin and finds Gunther dealing with American gangsters, a beautiful journalist, corrupt Nazis, oppressed Jews and washed up boxers. The story rattles along
Darrell Reimer
Those of us who prefer our Galahads well-bloodied can't do much better than Philip Kerr's Nazi-era Berlin gumshoe, Bernie Gunther. I've read all the books, but the litany of torment is so extensive I've lost track of what happened when. Has Gunther survived the deaths of two wives, or only one? Certainly a veritable harem of girlfriends awaits him in Purgatory. Not that he's troubled by such a prospect. Surviving the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, including a short stay in Dachau and the sordid ...more
Heerlijk ont- spannend. 19-6-2014: herlezen. De eerste acht delen 2 x gelezen.De hele reeks is heel geschikt voor ontspanning én het krijgen van een goed (historisch) beeld van de jaren 1932 -1954. Duitsland tijdens de Republiek van Weimar, tijdens de Hitlerperiode en vlak na de oorlog. Verder: Wenen, Cuba, Argentinië, Koude Oorlog. Het allersterkst is Kerr naar mijn mening in twee opzichten. De cynische humor van de hoofdpersoon Bernie Gunther en daarmee samenhangend het schetsen van morele dil ...more
Margaret Sankey
Back in 1934, shortly after being ejected from the KRIPO by incoming NAZIS, Bernie Gunther was hanging on in Berlin as a hotel detective at the Adlon. A beautiful American reporter got him involved in investigating the crooked construction of the Olympic stadium and the NAZI takeover of sports, as well as a cover-up to save her life. Now, it's 1954 and Bernie is attempting to live quietly in Havana when not only the dame and her daughter, but a ferocious American gangster and Cuban rebels surfac ...more
After finishing the sixth book about Bernie Gunther I have to say I really have enjoyed this series of books by Philip Kerr. One thing is the crime story and the plot which is exciting and at times complex to follow. But the one thing that has fascinated me the most is the historical aspects of the story. Europe before, under and after the war and how life could have been for a police man and later private detective, is intriguing to read. And when the last stories brought us to Argentine and Cu ...more
Barbara Barna
I'm not sure how I stumbled upon Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series of detective/historical fiction novels but I'm so glad I did. Similar to Alan Furst, Mr Kerr mines often little known (and unknown) historical episodes, in this case from Germany 1931-1954 (that's as far as I've gotten) with some Argentina and Cuba thrown in. There are no good guys. Just less bad guys including the series' lead actor, Bernie Gunther, a Berlin cop turned private detective turned SS Hauptmann turned...his moral a ...more
This is a bit subpar for Kerr's series of novels about Bernard Gunther. This one is in two parts, the first taking place in Berlin in 1934, a year or so after the Nazis came to power, and the second part in Havana in 1954.

In the first part, Gunther is a German homicide detective who is opposed to the Nazis and trying to survive in the new Nazified Germany. We know that he is anti-Nazi because Kerr makes sure that Gunther expresses his feelings on nearly every page of the first part. I found this
According to, the best bernie of the whole serie...
Andrew Lee
This 6th book in this amazing series is another strong addition. After the last book, I had been a little concerned with the passage of time and how Bernie's travels to South America was leading the series further from its Berlin Noir roots. Kerr seems to have sensed this too because this novel and the last appear to be moving around in time.

The novel starts in 1934 against the backdrop of the Nazis preparing for the 1936 Olympic Games. What I've loved about this series is that glimpses into eve
Richard Nessfield
This was my first Bernie Gunther thriller, and I'm now kicking myself for not reading Philip Kerr's books previously. The plot develops at a cracking pace, and I failed to predict most turns. Most of the characters are totally believable. The one exception, surprisingly, is the protagonist Bernie Gunther. I suppose, given the setting, he has to "get lucky" to escape his tight corners, but I can't help feeling anyone caught in his environment would have been a bit more diplomatic when talking to ...more
Tracy Terry
A 'Bernie Gunther' mystery. A self contained story with just enough hints about the main characters background to make it work well as a standalone novel. The sixth book in a series currently numbering nine its the first I've read.

A book of what to me felt like two stories, the main one set in 1930's Berlin, the other in 1950's Cuba. Whilst the two are connected they don't really sit well together, the pre-Castro Cuba element of the novel in many ways feeling more like a novella than part of a
Donald Luther
The first thing I should note is that this completes the Bernhard Gunther books thus far published. I'm sure there will be more.

Once again, Kerr creates parallel stories, but this time it's the characters who tie the two sections together. One is the true love of Bernie's life (who, strangely, has not been mentioned in other stories) and one is corrupt American who moves pretty freely between criminal and legitimate worlds.

We begin in 1934, when Bernie is working as the hotel detective at the Ho
Some reviewers seem to have set themselves against this sixth Bernie Gunther detective yarn. All I can say is that it worked for me, both in the split locations - Berlin and Cuba - and the split time periods - 1934 and 1955. Unlike other readers too, I found both plot twists satisfyingly well-handled. Gunther is a mass of hard-boiled clichés: it is his situation that sets him up as something different. From being a Republic-sympathiser during the inexorable rise of the Nazis in the build up to t ...more
Tough one for me, I wish you could give 1/2 stars because I'd give this 3.5. Without spoiling it, this book is really in two parts. The first part takes place in the early days of Nazi Germany. This part of the book I clearly give 4, if not 5 stars. Interesting, well written, moves at a great pace. Not a WW2 novel as such, no battles or soldiers or anything like that, but more of a detective novel. Really different, worth a read. The second part (I won't tell where it takes place, etc.) was a dr ...more
Bernie Gunther would be your standard-issue world-weary detective were it not for the fact that he just killed a Nazi. Gunther has no love for the Nazis, who took power in his beloved Germany a year ago, and have in the year 1934 managed to reduce it to a joyless place for those who enjoy fast talk and loose women. Gunther is especially fond of both. Having quit his position in the police department to avoid having to fuss with the cretins in power, Gunther became the house detective of Berlin’s ...more
Mary Warnement
I admit, I was more eager to read the first part in 1934 Berlin than the last third in 1954 Havana, but Kerr made me glad I took the trip. He combines place with plot in an effective way. Bernie seems real. Has he changed? No, he's the same man he was before drafted into the SS; he's suffering from survivor's guilt and won't give himself a break. Haven't we all made choices? No, we haven't all been faced with such extremes, but would we all do what's right? We know from history that many, or mos ...more

I started Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series with A Man Without Breath. It hooked me immediately. Kerr has brought together the two elements that I like most – a good mystery and history as a backdrop. And what better historical background to have than the rise of Nazism and Second World War? Add to this Bernie Gunther, the perennial supporter of democracy in a country that dwindled in no time on all parameters of a civilised nation and we have a heady co
This is a gripping detective story set in Berlin in 1934. The Nazis are in power and Germany is experiencing rapid change. The hero, Bernie Gunther, is a former cop who is now working as a hotel detective. He is investigating two deaths: one which took place in his hotel, and one which a police friend has asked for his assistance on. It's a complicated and skilfully constructed plot which encompasses corruption in the preparation for the Berlin Olympics, the possibility of a US boycott of the Ol ...more
Carmelo Militano
This the third Bernie Gunther P.I. I have read and it is very good. The last 40 pages are especially gripping but what stands out over & over again is Kerr's ability to capture the atmosphere of Berlin in the 30's and Havana in the 50's. His the master of the surface texture of life and Gunther is droll and funny in the darkest of the dark situations. Its got Philip Marlowe stamped all over its scowling mug and tough guy straight talk from the hip to moll, gangster, or head of the secret pol ...more
Andrew Salmon
One of the highlights of Kerr's Bernie Gunther series is that you never know, book to book, what you're going to get. While other bestselling authors find a winning formula and stick with it, Kerr stirs the pot every chance he gets. The series began in linear fashion with the first three novels moving from 1936 (MARCH VIOLETS) to 1938 (THE PALE CRIMINAL) to 1947 (A GERMAN REQUIEM) in chronological order. Returning to the series years later, Kerr decided to mix things up and jump around in the li ...more
An early James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, that's what I'm reminded of by the latter part of "If the Dead Rise Not" (book #6 in the Bernie Gunther series). There's the 1954 Havana setting, the cars, gangsters, casinos, booze, cigars, women, revolutionaries, military, guns and especially the extended description of the backgammon game.
The original Bernie Gunther trilogy (“March Violets”, “The Pale Criminal”, “A German Requiem”) was published between 1989 and 1991. All three books played out in 193
Toni Osborne
Book 6, in the Bernie Gunther series

The readers are carried deeper into Bernie’s saga in this terrific story that flips from 1934 Berlin into the rapidly changing world of 1954 Havana. The blend of madness and murder mixed with the Nazi and the Batista era creates an action packed backdrop for an exciting read and Mr. Kerr knows how to spice it up and to deliver it well.

1934, Germany is preparing to host the 1936 Olympic Games.

The action begins when Bernie, the house detective of the Hotel Adlon
I heard about this, the latest Bernie Gunther mystery, on NPR. The author, Philip Kerr, has a great hook: Bernie's a German, investigating crimes in Berlin during the rise of the Nazi Party. I immediately thought of the great novels of Alan Furst and Martin Cruz Smith. When Alan Furst's characters set out to spy on, frustrate, and impede the Germans during the 1930s and 40s, or when Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko gets involved in a politically sensitive criminal investigation in Moscow during ...more
Jim Leffert
This book actually gets 3 1/2 stars from this reader. I went straight from the third Bernie Gunther novel to the sixth and most recent volume, bypassing, four and five, for now. Here’s another morally complex noir crime story involving the former Weimar-era homicide detective, who played along with the Nazis—but only up to a point--to survive. This book actually tells two connected stories. The first (similar to the first novel, March Violets) takes place in the early days of the Nazi regime, in ...more
This is the sixth of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series (to date there are a total of 7 books in the series). Gunther is a terrific creation, a decent if hard-boiled German detective, an independent thinker who refuses to toe anyone's line, yet consistently manages to survive a variety of intrigues and frame-ups. Gunther fought in and survived WWI, watched the Nazis come to power in pre-WWII Germany, steadfastly refused to join the party as it took control of his homeland, yet by staying 10 ste ...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 (10 books)
  • March Violets
  • The Pale Criminal (Bernard Gunther, #2)
  • A German Requiem (Bernard Gunther, #3)
  • The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4)
  • A Quiet Flame (Bernard Gunther, #5)
  • Field Gray (Bernard Gunther, #7)
  • Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8)
  • A Man Without Breath (Bernard Gunther, #9)
  • The Lady from Zagreb (Bernard Gunther, #10)
Berlin Noir: March Violets / The Pale Criminal / A German Requiem March Violets The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4) Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8) Field Gray (Bernard Gunther, #7)

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“The living always get over the dead. That’s what the dead never realize. If ever the dead did come back, they’d only have been sore that somehow you managed to get over their dying at all.” 0 likes
“About thirty centimeters high, the figure appeared to be dancing a tango with a rather scantily clad girl who reminded me a lot of Anita Berber. Anita had been the queen of Berlin’s nude dancers at the White Mouse Club on Jägerstrasse until the night she’d laid out one of the patrons with an empty champagne bottle. The story was he’d objected to her pissing on his table, which used to be her shtick. I missed the old Berlin.” 0 likes
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