Jim's Reviews > March Violets

March Violets by Philip Kerr
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's review
Sep 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: mysteries
Read from September 25 to 26, 2011

The title of Philip Kerr's March Violets refers to Germans who joined the Nazi party late, pretending they were fervent devotees all along. This novel is the first volume of the author's Berlin Noir trilogy about a private detective in Hitler's Germany, taking place in 1936, right around the time of the famous Berlin Olympiad in which Jesse Owens took most of the track and field awards.

Detective Bernie Gunther is an ex-cop in the strange twilight years before World War II broke out. His specialty is finding missing persons, which is devilishly difficult when so many of the crimes are committed by Himmler's SS and Goering's own enforcers. The canals around Berlin are bobbing with corpses ditched by these two gangs of cutthroats.

A wealthy industrialist named Hermann Six hires Gunther to find some diamonds taken from the safe of his daughter and son-in-law, who were shot and then burned to a crisp as their house was torched. The trail to find the "bells," as diamonds are called in German criminal parlance (of which there is a lot in this novel, giving it an unmistakable touch of authenticity), leads to Goering, the SS, and a criminal gang hired to bust unions.

The plot of March Violets is highly complex, but the action so fast-moving that it carries the reader along through the huge cast of characters, locations, and twistings of the plot. If Kerr can manage to simplify in his subsequent novels in the trilogy, I think he'll bne a force to be reckoned with. In any case, I will read more of his work. It's a hell of a ride.
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09/25/2011 page 139
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message 1: by Anne (new)

Anne Nice review. Makes me want to go back and read it again. I really liked the whole trilogy and, of course, Bernie Gunther.


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