Philip Kerr’s Berlin Noir trilogy—featuring the tough, fast-talking, noirish detective Bernie Gunther—is a publishing phenomenon that continues to win new fans more than fifteen years after its initial publication. Kerr has brought Bernie back in a highly anticipated thriller that will delight fans of the original books and attract new attention to the backlist. It is 1949 and—after being forced to serve in the SS in the killing fields of Ukraine—Bernie has moved to Munich to reestablish himself as a private investigator. When the beautiful Frau Britta Warzok hires him for an apparently simple job, Bernie’s suspicions flare but the money is too good to turn down. Soon, Bernie is on the run, because in a defeated and divided Germany, it’s hard to know friends from enemies, the one from the other.
After a ridiculously long break from writing the Bernie Gunther novels (15 years I think) Philip Kerr returned with possibly his best piece of Chandleresque writing to date.
Bernie is a fantastic noir gumshoe; forever down on his luck, somehow always finding himself the subject of affection of countless beautiful women, morally grey at times yet always willing to put it all on the line for the right cause. Not to mention a fantastic voice for narrating a noir story.
The hardboiled dialogue in The One From The Other was so good at times that I caught myself laughing out loud at the big brass set of balls found on our hero, the constant disparaging descriptions of the conquering Americans are a delight to behold and some of the tongue-in-cheek similies are simply brilliant. However the repetitive reference to something being the size of a bowling alley got a little old as did a couple of others (perhaps somebody should buy him an Oxford Big Book of Similies for Christmas?)
The plot took a little while to get going, the 30 plus page prologue didn't help things, epecially as it was essentialy an unnecessary historical addition that doesn't further the plot. This being said I actually enjoyed it as a great Bernie Gunther short story of sorts. More of these collected together and you'd have a damned good book for fanboys like me (anybody know his agent?) Once it starts the pace is relentless, filled with shocking historically accurate facts about post-war Germany and some of the unsavoury behaviour practiced by all sides of the political spectrum. Bernie finds himself in great danger, like all hardboiled heroes should, with at least one eye-wateringly awful sequence ending in a trip to the hospital.
I have one other major gripe with the book; the obvious foreshadowing of future plot points that as a reader you can see coming a mile away just from Gunthers narration yet he was too stupid and too slow to realise until it was too late. It may be that in the previous three books I was too stupid and too slow to pick up on the foreshadowing of events but I would be willing to bet that it is actually the lazier method of storytelling this time round that is responsible.
Very nearly a 5 star book but just missing out. I'm very excited for the 5th book though.
Perhaps the best yet in the series, with more thrills, intrigue and action than previous books, yet still very much retaining the essence of a dark, introspective detective yarn rich with Kerr's superb Chandleresque wit and cynicism. I daresay this is the best detective series I've read, rivaled only by Chandler himself.
The fourth Bernie Gunther adventure takes place a mere 15 years after the first three novels Kerr wrote. Those three novels of called Berlin Noir trilogy while decent enough are show a less likable Bernie Gunther than this new phase 2 Bernie Gunther whose exploits shortly after the war show a post WWII Germany that does not quite fit the general accepted truths. Kerr does quite a good job in showing that with the second great war fone with the good guys did not necessarily did win the war. We have learned already about the braindrain post World war 2 and how both the Allied forces and the Russian raced for the important scientists. How many of us knew that the Germans did fairly quickly wanted to leave the mess that was their lost war behind them and resume business as usual with a notion that preferable everything would be forgotten.
Bernie lives in Dachau at the beginning of this story and runs a hotel. When his wife dies he picks up an activity he is better suited for,namely being a private detective in Munich. Unavoidable he gets some business that gets him into trouble with the Brotherhood of former Nazi thugs. He ends up in hospital. From there he is found into a town called Garmish Partenkirche (well known for the annual new Year ski jumping tournament) were he gets some companionship which then leads him into Vienna and were he gets hunted as a war criminal. At the end of the book he is some illusions poorer and has a digit less.
The surprising issue in this book is how post WWII Germany was hurrying to forget their recent shameful past and that the Allies did not mind. I never knew about these Jewish Dead-squads and was actually not that surprised they did exist. The medical experiments on prisoners has not stopped after this last great war but it was the Nazi's who did take this to the next level. And even then the allies (the good guys) were still most interested in its results.
A great thriller that does also shows a darker version of history through the eyes of a former German Policeman who never was a Nazi but too good at his job to not get involved into terrible situations. This Noirish tale of post WWII Germany & Vienna is well written and easy to read. Well worth your time. And an eye-opener if you like the adventure stories like the ones Alistair Maclean did write in his day. War was never clean.
I did re-edited this review as I found some annoying mistakes in grammar and such. This book will be re-read undoubtedly but that is at a later date
I read The One from the Other a few years ago but the second reading was in response to the very sad news that the very great Philip Kerr died at the relatively young age of 62 a couple of weeks ago.
I can't say much about the Bernie Günther novels that hasn't already been said; superbly constructed plots, sharp and witty dialogue, cynicism, great scene description and brilliant characterisation headed, of course, by Bernie himself, literature's greatest survivor.
Newcomers to these thrilling stories should start with the Berlin Noir trilogy. You'll never put these novels novels down once you picked up the first. Hell, I'm going to miss Bernie Günther.
David Lowther. Author of The Blue Pencil, Liberating Belsen, Two Families at War and The Summer of '39, all published by Sacristy Press.
“Giving people choice was not something Hitler was good at. We all had to do things we didn’t much care for…”
One from the Other opens with a back story of Berlin, September 1937. Gunther, a former KRIPO detective turned private investigator is retained by the SD‘s Jewish Department to accompany two of their men to Palestine, where he is to deposit a businessman’s assets in a bank and set up an account for him. The logic is simple: the enemy is England which controls the Palestine Concession, and by helping wealthy Jews to migrate the SD is creating a de facto German state. But the Gestapo gets wind of it and forces Gunther to spy on the SD men for evidence of corruption. The story becomes more tangled when, first in Palestine and then Cairo, he meets extremists on both the Jewish and Arab side.
The timeline shifts to Munich, 1949. His wife Kirsten in a sanatorium, Gunther is trying to sell his late father-in-law’s hotel at Dachau and start up his PI business again, specialising in missing / displaced persons. He is approached by an attractive woman who wishes to remarry, but being a Roman Catholic, she cannot do so without evidence of the death of her war-criminal husband, a brutal commandant at a labor camp in Poland.
But there are those who do not wish to be found, aligned with a network that will do everything in their power to protect them. Bernie is advised against getting involved by Korsch (a former detective in The Pale Criminal) and now a journalist; ditto by a Roman Catholic priest (whose political views lie some way to the right of Genghis Khan). Inevitably he ignores this sound advice and gets badly beaten up and his little finger docked by some vicious heavies.
After that it became dour and convoluted. Bernie in hospital. Bernie recuperating at a villa in the Bavarian Alps. Nazi doctors who were war criminals. Throw in the CIA. Bernie returning to Vienna, the partitioned city he described in detail in A German Requiem, two murdered women with Bernie to take the fall. One of its few lighter moments is when he seeks refuge in a Benedictine monastery, famous for its beer.
“If you ask me, the whole Reformation can be blamed on strong beer,” he opined. “Wine is a perfect Catholic drink. It makes people sleepy and complicit. Beer just makes them argumentative. And look at the countries that drink a lot of beer. They’re mainly Protestant. And the countries where they drink a lot of wine? Roman Catholic.” - “What about the Russians? I asked. “They drink vodka.” - “That’s a drink to help you find oblivion,” said Father Bandolini. “Nothing to do with God at all.”
Most annoying is Bernie’s cynical commentary throughout, like a cheap Raymond Chandler novel, and, predictably, it turns full circle to the meeting in Palestine in September 1937. This book is the fourth in the Bernie Gunter series, (the sixth I have read) and I recommend that the first three titles (published under Berlin Noir March Violets, The Pale Criminal, A German Requiem By Kerr, Philip Paperback) are read prior to this one, which I have enjoyed the least.
Bernie Gunther, private investigator, is the literary heir to Philip Marlowe, and that's a good thing. While the plot in this novel feels a bit contrived, the hardboiled dialog is often fun, and after writing four novels about Bernie Gunther, Kerr knows his main man inside and out.
It's the character of Gunther that makes this Chandler-style noir worth reading. He's cynical about religion, amoral when it suits, and German to the core, but he hates Nazis. As a policeman in Berlin before and during the Third Reich, Gunther was conscripted into the SS, where he was correctly suspected of having no love for "National Socialism," but managed to survive among the fanatics. Apart from speaking his native German, he's also believably fluent in Russian and English. All three languages come in handy in the investigation at the heart of this book, which lets author Kerr take a hard look at the "ratline" to South America that helped some Nazis escape Allied justice after Hitler's defeat.
The novel's evocation of the atmosphere in Austria and Germany in 1949 is lovingly detailed, and while Bernie Gunther prefers American occupation troops to Russsian ones for very good reasons, he's not blind to the avarice of the "Amis," either.
A pre-war prologue sheds factual light on parts of history that many people have never heard, and just when it seems that the prologue was nothing more than a chance to introduce Gunther to readers who haven't met him in previous novels, Kerr works that material back into his plot. The end result is a flawed but entertaining clinic in how to write a detective story with literary heft.
I have an abiding interest in 19th/20th Century German culture and history, and have visited Berlin several times, so I really love Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther books, though I had to have a break after reading the first three. The brutality was too much. But having recently read the first of Richard Evans's magnificent books on the Third Reich, which took the reader up to Hitler's coming to power in 1933, it struck me that Kerr had perfectly captured those turbulent times and the kind of criminal activity going on in a desperately struggling Germany post World War One ...
The One from the Other was rich in historical detail, which I am reassured by professional reviewers, is accurate. I found it hard to put down, though some of it was not exactly bedtime reading..
Will most definitely be reading the rest of the series. Top quality stuff. Thank you, Philip Kerr!
This is classic Raymond Chandler/Dashiell Hammett noir featuring a hard boiled, hard luck detective with a smart mouth. But instead of crooked cops and ruthless gangsters hunkered in the dark alleyways of LA we find our protagonist Bernie Gunther in post WWII Germany. He's following his own moral compass, trying to shake off the horrors of the Third Reich.
It's 1949 and Bernie's life as a hotel-keeper has reasonably bottomed out in the town of Dachau. He finds himself assigned to track down a missing Nazi, and the ostensibly simple request explodes into a dazzling, if not somewhat improbable, series of escalating fiascos.
It's filled with the pulpy argot of detective noir that is deliciously distinct. “There was a sort of twinkle in his iris that came off his eyeball like the point of a sword” or “The fog was back. It rolled in like steam from a sausage kitchen on a cold winter’s day.” It's the readerly equivalent of the Sunday TV matinees of my youth that never let any sense of probability get in the way of a rousing tale.
bernie günther polisiyelerini özlemişim. aslında bu kadar uzun bir ara vermeden devam etmek lazım sanırım çünkü serinin dördüncü kitabı “biri ve öteki” üçüncü kitapla da epey bağlantılı tarihsel olarak. kitabın başında 1937’de geçen bir prolog var. açıkçası kitabın asıl kısmıyla o kadar alakasız gibi ki bir an acaba yanlışlıkla mı karıştı dedim ama philip kerr açık kapı bırakmayacak kadar usta bir yazar. sonda ilk bölümle birlikte halka tamamlanmıyor. kitabın asıl olayları 1949’da başlıyor. almanya ve avusturya çeşitli ülkelerin yönetimi altında, savaş suçluları sözde yargılanıyor, bernie 3. kitaptan sonra karısına miras kalan oteli işletmeye çalışıyor. karısı hasta ve bir süre sonra da ölüyor ve bernie sevdiği işe geri dönüyor. olaylar çok fazla, takibi zor ama sona yaklaştığımızda bernie günther’in nasıl salak bir koyun gibi güdüldüğünü anlıyoruz. başına gelenlerden sonra arjantin’e kaçacak muhtemelen. seri oradan devam edecek. ama philip kerr’in bize aslı anlatmak istediği dünyanın ne kirli bir yer olduğu. 1937’de israil kurulmasın diye müslüman büyükbaşların soykırımı onaylaması, almanya’nın filistin’e göç karşılığı zengin yahudileri soyması, neler neler… 1949’da ise işlenen savaş suçları, karşılaştığımız her alman kadın karakterin defalarca ruslar tarafından tecavüze uğraması, aynısının alman askerler tarafından rusya’da kadınlara yapılmış bulunması, stalin’in yahudileri kıran yahudi birlikleri, alman bilimadamlarının ve askerlerin cazibesine kapılmış yahudiler, koca katolik kiliselerinin tüm avrupa’da nazi savaş suçlularını latin amerika’ya kaçırmak için organize olması, alman bilimadamlarının korkunç deneylerinin amerika’da devam edebilmesi için amerikalıların yaptıkları… yani allah kahretsin diye diye bitirdiğiniz bir roman. ve işin acısı kerr’in sonda verdiği bilgilere bakınca hepsi gerçek. bu savaşın sonucunda kaç nazi kaç ss gerçekten cezasını çekti, kaçı latin amerika’da iskoçya’da sefasını sürdü belli değil. olan yine en çok kadınlara ve çocuklara olmuş, her savaşta olduğu gibi. her şeye rağmen philip kerr’in muzipliğini, bernie günther’in espri anlayışını, önüne gelen kadınla yattığı bu kara polisiye tarzını seviyorum. anlatılanların acılığını bit nebze unutturuyor. çeviri iyi ama dipnot eksik bence. bunca başharfli kısaltma kimdir nedir, kafa karıştırıyor.
All conflicts have at least two sides. Most have more than two and some have elements that are not as clear, are unexpressed, disguised, even unknown to holders and/or observers. Philip Kerr’s “The One From The Other” forces readers who may have long-held beliefs that WWII was fought for clear right vs. wrong reasons and that actions by forces on either side were also clearly right or wrong, to re-examine that belief. That is not to say that readers will or even should reverse their belief in the correctness of their “right or wrong” opinions, but that they would be well advised to recognize that the actions of all individuals and groups have unexpressed and even unrecognized underpinnings.
Kerr’s story is compelling. The protagonist and his persecutors (who subjected him to persecution because of his likeness to one of the primary antagonists) are believable characters. The book clearly leaves open sequels. Although I know that there were three preceding books, “The One From The Other” stood solidly on its own. I will seek out both earlier and later Kerr volumes and believe that I will eventually wait anxiously for new Bernie Guenther stories.
I like the style of the author, the adventures of the ex german police officer Gunther and all the after the war German setting. Yeah, the plot it`s quite predictable, Bernie looks like a fool sometimes, but for me, hasn`t spoiled the entertainment from this one.
No one thought for a moment that our living space could only be created if someone else died first. p1
They say that insanity is merely the ability to see into the future. And if we knew now what we'll know then, it would probably be enough to make any of us scream. In life, the trick is all about keeping the two separate for as long as possible. p53
Fifteen years after the conclusion of his Berlin Noir series, PK has brought back the iconoclastic private investigator Bernard Gunther, who, in 1949, two years after we last met him, is trying his best, despite some spectacular setbacks, to adapt to the times. Better writing, fewer terrible metaphors, and major twists and surprises make the long wait worthwhile.
The essence of deception is not the lie that's told but the truths that are told to support it. p362
Perhaps the only thing more noir than pre-war Nazi Germany is post-war Germany at the dawn of the Cold War. So it makes sense that ex-cop, ex-SS-member, and full-time cynic Bernie Gunther makes his return in this dark and cynical tale of war criminals, CIA agents, deception, murder, and historical whitewashing.
Gunther, a private investigator, has moved to the barely de-Nazified Munich of 1949 to scratch out a living chasing down missing people. There are still millions of vanished people four years after the end of WWII -- some gone through circumstance, others by plan. When a pretty young frau enlists Gunther to make sure her Nazi-war-criminal husband is really dead, he thinks little of it. Of course, he discovers that nothing is as it seems.
The strengths that Kerr demonstrated in Berlin Noir are repeated here: his Furstian command of setting, the sights and sounds of a city chaotically rebuilding, the streetcar system, the newspapers, the flash and sizzle of the occupying Americans, the veiled brooding of the defeated Germans. Gunther inhabits Munich in the same way he inhabited Berlin, with knowing references to the districts and landmarks, the streets and bars and brothels. It's all atmosphere all the time. The wised-up dialog remains as crisp as a new Deutschmark, full of period slang and sounding just so coming out of 1949 mouths. It also captures the coded language once used to slip past the Nazis and now turned against the occupiers. The plot ably keeps the twists and turns coming (though some aren't as opaque as the author likely intended).
In this story, Gunther is even more obviously the German edition of Marlowe. His world-weariness and drollery is interchangeable with Chandler's smart-assed, cynical private dick; if you switched characters in midstream, it might be a while before the readers notice. He insists on provoking people who can do him serious harm and ends up paying the price for it over and over, but it's hard to sympathize. It's once again a lost opportunity to show us how a P.I. might operate in a society that isn't our own and in circumstances far different from those of 1940s Los Angeles.
In my review of Berlin Noir, I wished that Gunther would end up with a Nazi true-believer as a client so he'd have to deal with someone whose thinking was alien to him. I got my wish, in spades: Gunther is virtually wallowing in war criminals in this story. Don't look for a good or admirable character here because there aren't any, not even our hero. When they die (as many do, and that's not a spoiler), we feel relief more than regret or outrage. We end up in Gunther's corner mostly because he's the least-bad figure in the story, not because we especially admire him or hope he wins.
If you come to this book after the Berlin Noir: March Violets / The Pale Criminal / A German Requiem omnibus, you already know what you'll get, plus some. If you don't, go back to Berlin Noir and start from there; characters and events from the previous three novels come back to haunt Our Antihero in this one, just as the past keeps coming back to haunt Kerr's Germany.
The One from the Other doubles down on the darkness and cynicism of the previous three installments, to its detriment. Its world is so black, corrupt and hopeless that it leaves the reader with hardly anyone to root for or much satisfaction in its resolution. For the story alone I'd give it 3.5 stars, but the virtuosity of the prose hoists it up half a star.
Το βιβλίο κυλάει εύκολα σα νεράκι κι αυτό κατά κύριο λόγο χάρη στο κυνικό χιούμορ του ντετέκτιβ Gunther. Όμως τα καλά νέα δε σταματάνε εκεί. Ο Κερ έχει κάνει τρομερή έρευνα και αποδίδει την ατμόσφαιρα στη μεταπολεμική Γερμανία εξαιρετικά. Πραγματικά εντυπωσιάστηκα από το πλήθος ιστορικών αναφορών σε πρόσωπα και συμβάντα και όλο αυτό έγινε με την άρτια ενσωμάτωση των ιστορικών γεγονότων στη μυθοπλασία της υπόθεσης. Μιλώντας για την υπόθεση, θα πω ότι ήταν ενδιαφέρουσα αν και λίγο υπερβολική σε κάποια σημεία. Σε γενικές γραμμές το απόλαυσα αν και αυτή η εμμονή του συγγραφέα με το να προσθέτει ντε κ καλά τουλάχιστον δύο ξεπέτες του πρωταγωνιστή σε κάθε βιβλίο πρέπει να σταματήσει. Κάπου ώπα βρε αδερφέ, εν μέσω πολέμου και κατοχής όλοι το σεξ είχαν σαν προτεραιότητα?
I can remember seeing the name Phillip Kerr a lot in the Nineties, he wrote these technological thrillers which amassed a great deal of publicity, even if they didn’t seem to get huge readership. Well, it seems that Mr Kerr has dropped the technological, and is now writing thrillers set in the past – more specifically, post-war Germany.
Setting a detective story in Germany after the war is actually a really good idea, as there are lots of potential clients with great secrets which can then become huge conspiracies. Even a simple missing person’s case can really mean something in the world. (In this novel, the detective also goes to Vienna – bringing to mind the city streets Harry Lime once roamed around.) Earlier books in the series appear to be set before the war, when all of the above was true and things may have been even more dangerous. I might just seek them out.
Bernie Gunther is the name of the detective, and he is your rumpled – yet seemingly irresistible to the ladies – gumshoe, with a chequered past. He was never a Nazi himself, but there are things in his history he is less than proud of. He’s pitched somewhere between Phillip Marlowe and Mike Hammer: like both those men he is no respecter of authority; but he takes the code of vengeance from Hammer and the witty one-liners from Marlowe. (Although the latter can take a little getting used to, a sentence like: “It took me a whole minute to climb the steps to the front door, where a fellow dressed to go cheek-to-cheek with Ginger Rogers was waiting to take my hat and act as my scout across the marble plains that lay ahead.” seems somewhat more incongruous in dreary bomb-struck Munich than in glamorous California.)
It���s a pleasingly convoluted mystery and an entertaining read, even if it does finish with a whimper when it should end with a bang.
Historical fiction mysteries don't get much better than this. Provides a quick colorful education into the vagaries of Nazi Germany during that time, as well. This is a book you look forward to resuming, as soon as you put it down for a break.
1949-ieji, Vokietija. Pasaulis jau niekada nebebus toks, koks buvo, bet Bernardas Guntheris bando sugrįžti prie savo senojo verslo. Jis – privatus detektyvas. Prieš karą dažniausiai specializavosi dingusių žmonių paieškose. O žmonės tuo metu Vokietijoje turėjo įprotį netikėtai dingti. Ypač žydai. Karas šį bei tą pakeitė, bet žmonės dingsta ir toliau. Tik dabar dažniau – karo nusikaltėliai. Nors jų ieškančių nestinga ir be Guntherio. Štai ir naujoji jo klientė prašo surasti jos vyrą, buvusį SS karininką. Bent jau sužinoti, gyvas jis ar ne. Ir Bernie imasi darbo, nė neįtardamas, kad žaidime, į kurį veliasi, jis viso labo pėstininkas, kurį didmeistris jau partijos pradžioje suplanavo paaukoti. Gal tik neįvertino, kad Bernie – iš tų pėstininkų, kurie labai jau nenoriai miršta, kabinasi į gyvenimą iš paskutiniųjų, braunasi iki tolimiausio lentos krašto. Ir juk gali taip nutikti, kad partijos pabaigoje pavirs visus kertančia karaliene. Atmosferiškas, tipiškai noir stiliaus detektyvas. Su privalomu cinišku ir nestokojančiu gero humoro jausmo herojumi. Ir daug daug istorinio fono. Neapsiribojančio vien pokariu – flashback‘ai papasakos ir šį bei tą apie bjauriąją karo pusę (tarsi būna kitokių). O į įvykių sūkurį įsitraukia ne tik besislapstantys naciai. Savas partijas čia žaidžia ir amerikiečių žvalgyba, ir Vatikanas, ir žydų-keršytojų organizacijos. Ir galiausiai tampa sunku atskirti vienus nuo kitų. Nes visi kerta mišką, nepaisydami lekiančių skiedrų. Bene stipriausias iki šiol skaitytas ciklo romanas. Tai labai tvirtas ketvertas iš penkių.
I read and enjoyed the first three Bernie Gunther novels a few months ago as included in the Berlin Noir trilogy. This novel was written several years after the Noir trilogy and takes place in 1949 with a few flashbacks of what happened to Bernie during and preceding the war. As the novel begins, Bernie is running a hotel near Dachau left to him when his wife is committed to a mental institution. But Bernie decides that he is meant to be a detective not a hotelier. So he sets up shop in Munich and gets some clients who are looking for missing persons. Then a woman approaches him who wants to find out if her war-criminal husband is dead so that she can remarry and be sanctified by the Catholic Church. Bernie takes the case but must go through an organization helping Nazi comrades to find out what happened to the husband. As a result, Bernie gets a really severe beating by the former Nazi group and actually has one of his little fingers cut off! He then gets treated by a well-meaning doctor and is taken to a place in the mountains where the doctor is working to come up with a vaccine for malaria. But all is not as it seems. Bernie ends up in a nefarious plot where his life is in great danger and he ends up being pursued by a Jewish death squad...
This was really a good noir novel taking place in post-war Germany when the repercussions of the war are still much in evidence. Gunther uses humor and moxie to keep from getting killed and his character reminded me of other hard boiled detectives in fiction such as Mike Hammer and Travis McGee. In addition, the novel provided a lot of historical information about the war and its aftermath. Overall, I would highly recommend this and I'll be reading more in the series…
Heard about this author on NPR and became interested in this strange genre of early aftermath of war Germany mystery and thriller literature. I couldn't get the more famous Berlin Noir series by the author at any local bookstores so gave this one a try.
I wanted to quit about half way through. The Gunther character is so painfully implausible.
The necessity to have the dry sarcasm in almost every exchange is what we might expect from a detective in a Law & Order episode or Han Solo, but seemed so bizarre for a character of Gunther's background.
I also got tired of him reminding the reader (via dialog with every character he meets) how the former Waffen-SS detective is not an anti-Semite and disapproved of the many atrocities of National Socialism. It was as if the character felt obligated to stop the action and turn apologetically to the reader periodically.
The book is well written and well researched, but most of the characters felt like they belonged in 1920s Chicago instead of 1945 Germany. The plot of this one wandered and the final setup so suddenly unraveled and implausibly assembled that I feel no compulsion to read any more of Kerr's Gunther works.
Quarto episodio delle (dis)avventure del detective privato Bernie Gunther a zonzo per l'Europa centrale del primo dopoguerra. Il personaggio in se' si conferma simpatico e piacevole e pone sempre degli interessanti spunti su quella che e' stata la notte totalitaria del secolo scorso, risente a mio parere in questo episodio, di un eccesso di "americanizzazione". Il riferimento e' palesemente l'hard-boiled statunitense, ma che un tedesco degli anni 40-50 ragioni e parli come un losangeliamo crea a volte un effetto straniante un po' fastidioso. A tutto cio' va aggiunto nello specifico, una trama non particolarmente efficace e troppo arzigogolata, o forse piu' semplicemente non si aveva ben presente dove si voleva andare a parare.
Ίσως η καλύτερη ιστορία από τις περιπέτειες του Μπέρνι Γκούντερ.
Την πρώτη φορά που είδα την ODESSA, (Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen στα Γερμανικά - Οργάνωση Πρώην Μελών SS στα Ελληνικά), μεταφρασμένη στα Ελληνικά "οργάνωση ΟΔΗΣΣΟΣ", άφησα το βιβλίο στην άκρη για 5 λεπτά και γέλασα μέχρι δακρύων. Όλες τις επόμενες φορές απλά χαμογέλασα. Μία απλή αναζήτηση στο google ήταν αρκετή.
Για τα τυπογραφικά και την επιμέλεια θα πω μόνο ότι αρκετά λάθη με μια προσεκτική ανάγνωση θα μπορούσαν να αποφευχθούν.
Outstanding story woven in and out of real historical figures and happenings, a real illuminating look at the post-war scramble to gather up useful SS men and Nazis by the allies, while trying the less useful as war criminals. Detective Bernie Gunther, himself an ex-SS man, though unwillingly, is tossed through misery as he sets up shop as a private detective once again. Meeting various shady types and wholesome friends, he soon discovers who are the shady ones, and who are not. A great look into the mechanics of Nazi smuggling, Jewish vengeance units, and post war Europe.
Set in post-World War II Germany, The One from the Other brings Bernie Gunther, protagonist of Philip Kerr’s “Berlin Noir” novels, back for another adventure. Bernie is a former Berlin cop (“a bull from the Alex”) who became a PI and then joined the SS (because the Kriminalpolizei was amalgamated into that organization) but retained a conscience that wouldn’t let him participate in mass killings, so he ended up serving on the front-lines, being captured by the Russians, released and finally arriving back in Germany. Whew! Got all that? Good, because that’s just the beginning.
The One from the Other opens with a flashback to 1937, in which Gunther accompanies two SD agents – one of them Adolf Eichmann – on a trip to British Palestine during the course of which Hajj Amin, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, gives Eichmann the idea for the Final Solution.
Then we flash forward to Munich in 1949, where Bernie’s wife mysteriously dies, and he’s hired by another woman to prove that her husband is dead, which leads to a complicated mystery plot involving the CIA, Nazi medical experimentation, the Vatican’s complicity in hiding war criminals, and opportunities for angst and wise-cracking galore. It’s an enjoyable – though sometimes rather preposterous – read, but I had a couple of problems with the novel as a whole:
First of all, Bernie Gunther is a bit of an enigma to me – he seems to be supernaturally au courant on the state of pop culture in America, but at the same time, despite being apparently disgusted by the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews, he’s incredibly gullible when it comes to his former comrades from the SS. Um, you meet two doctors, both from the SS, who are doing medical experiments, and supposedly one of them is being nursed by a Jewish concentration camp survivor, and NOTHING seems suspicious to you at all? Some kind of a cop!!
Plus, his wisecracking rings a little false to me in this setting, frankly. I guess Kerr is telling us that Bernie’s still full of that trademark Berliner Schnauze, but for me, it was a little too much. (Though I do like Kerr’s ability to weave in German slang words into the English like “spinners” and “bulls” and make it sound quite natural.)
Secondly, I find the entire idea that Eichmann only came up with his plans for the mass murder of European Jewry because of a meeting with the Grand Mufti equally preposterous. I mean, yes, Hajj Amin was a murderous, anti-Semitic nutball, but there are reams of research devoted to the origins of the Final Solution, and most of those works give that (dubious) credit where it’s due: to the ideological underpinnings of Nazism and to the willingness of Germans from Himmler on down, to treat their neighbors, friends and subjects like so many insects to be crushed out of existence. They didn’t need a crazy Arab guy to give them ideas.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This is a relatively early entry in this series and, in my opinion, not one of the stronger ones I've read. Set in around 1948-9, it does provide an interesting view of post-war Germany and Austria, the Allied occupation and the effort to hide and facilitate the escape of Nazis.
Part of my problem with the book is that Kerr has written it in the classic (and somewhat tired) style of the hard-boiled detective story, with a lot of sarcastic dialogue and comments from Gunther. I don't recall that being the style of the other books in this series that I've read and it doesn't really sit well. In addition, the real mystery of the story doesn't surface until 2/3 of the way through the book, although there are certainly hints along the way.
This is the fourth book read in my quest to read the entire Bernie Gunther series by Phillip Kerr. To date it is the best and meets my expectations to ascertain why the series has been so widely acclaimed. Once again Kerr’s explanation of German Holocaust history during and after WW2 is immensely interesting and better presented than most history books. In this book the plot is engrossing and compelling.