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Berlin Noir: March Violets / The Pale Criminal / A German Requiem (Bernie Gunther #1-3)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  6,316 Ratings  ·  469 Reviews
Now published in one paperback volume, these three mysteries are exciting and insightful looks at life inside Nazi Germany -- richer and more readable than most histories of the period. We first meet ex-policeman Bernie Gunther in 1936, in March Violets (a term of derision which original Nazis used to describe late converts.) The Olympic Games are about to start; some of B ...more
Paperback, 834 pages
Published 1993 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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The German Genius by Peter WatsonA Woman in Berlin by AnonymousStasiland by Anna FunderThe Wall (Rock Opera) by Roger WatersThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le Carré
304 books — 182 voters
The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Hardboiled PI & Noir
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Helen Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος   Vernus Portitor Arcanus Ταμετούρο   Αμούν Arnum
Χαρακτηρίζεται με επιείκεια ως η επιτομή της νουάρ λογοτεχνίας.
Ευλογημένα ταλαντούχος ο Philip Kerr καταφέρνει να προκαλεί απολαυστική ανάγνωση και κομμένη ανάσα σε αυτό το έπος της τριλογίας του Βερολίνου.

Περιλαμβάνει τρία μυθιστορήματα με χρονική ακολουθία και πρωταγωνιστή τον αγαπημένο μου πλέον ντετέκτιβ Μπέρνι Γκούντερ.
Είναι ένας εκπληκτικά κυνικός και τρυφερός χαρακτήρας. Καταφέρνει ανάμεσα απο ανείπωτες τραγωδίες- αιματοχυσίες σε τοξικούς βωμούς-και την τρομερή βαρβαρότητα του ναζισμού
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was ok

I give up. I simply cannot read another noir cliché like, "Looking around the room, I found there were so many false eyelashes flapping at me that I was beginning to feel a draught." I know that's part of the genre, but I'm well into March Violets and it's going nowhere. These constant Jimmy Cagney comments have pushed me over the edge, and I think they're contagious. I'm struggling to keep my eyes open like a hooker in church on Sunday. Ugh....See what I mean?
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Ότι και να πεις γι αυτό το βιβλίο είναι λίγο. Διαβάζεται χωρίς σταματημό. Από τους πιο συμπαθείς ήρωες βιβλίων. Εξαιρετική γνώση της ιστορίας από τον συγγραφέα που σε βάζει αμέσως στο κλίμα της εποχής.
Jul 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable books on many levels. They're well-researched and create a remarkably vivid portrait of wartime Berlin and post-war Vienna. The mysteries are first-rate hard-boiled stuff, with plenty of fistfights and other manly action, as well as twisting plots full of double-crosses and surprises. They also conjure up a chilling psychological portrait of Germany before and during the war, elevating them beyond pure page-turning crime fiction, for me, into moral literature. And yet, despite the vei ...more
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This omnibus volume contains the first three Bernie Gunther novels by Philip Kerr. Reviews will be submitted separately for March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem.

The short version: read this series. The setting is ideally suited for the darkest roman noir. Bernie Gunther, who left the Kriminal Polizei because of politics taking precedent over justice, is the tough, wise-cracking P.I> who thumbs his nose at Hitler and his henchmen. However, not even Gunther can avoid being em
May 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Echoes of Doblin and Hammett resonate in this opening trilogy in Kerr’s ongoing Bernie Gunther series. The cartoony image of a wise cracking shamus in Nazi Germany soon fades from your mind as Gunther’s journeys into pre and post war Germany becomes a chamber of horrors. The jaundiced world view and the cynical humor make it palatable while the seriousness of what is at stake is retained. Before the war the Nazis and after the war the United States and the Soviet Union act as deux ex machina in ...more
Infada Spain
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ναι, καλή η τριλογία, μα για κάποιο λόγο μου φάνηκε πιο αληθοφανής και πειστική η παρουσίαση της κατάστασης της Γερμανίας μεταπολεμικά στο τρίτο βιβλίο-Γερμανικό Ρέκβιεμ- κι όχι προπολεμικά...γι'αυτό ίσως και μου άρεσε περισσότερο απ'όλα το Ρέκβιεμ. Είναι το μόνο από τα τρία βιβλία που μ' εκανε να θέλω οπωσδήποτε να διαβάσω τη συνέχεια της ιστορίας του Μπέρνι Γκούντερ.
Jun 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
In one big paperback you get the complete Berlin trilogy: March Violets; The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem. This is noir at its best. Taking his cues from Chandler but making them its own, Kerr takes us into Berlin, 1936. Summer Olympics. Bernhard Gunther, ex-cop, now a private detective mostly finds missing persons and there are lot of them in Nazi's Berlin. Murder, politics and a very nice twist makes March Violets a very good start to a wonderful ride thru this dark part of history. The ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Η τριλογία ξεκινά στο προπολεμικό Βερολίνο του 1936 και ολοκληρώνεται περίπου 11 χρόνια αργότερα στη πληγωμένη από τον πόλεμο Βιεννη. Αν και όχι λάτρης του είδους διάβασα το βιβλίο αυτό απνευστί. Εξαιρετικά ατμοσφαιρικά, με τις απαραιτητες δόσεις χιούμορ και τις έξυπνες μεταφορές, τα τρία βιβλία δίνουν μια διαφορετική οπτική της γερμανικής κοινωνίας στα χρόνια ανελιξης του εθνικοσοσιαλισμού, της Γκεσταπο του Χίτλερ αλλά και των οικονομικών, κοινωνικών και συναισθηματικών ερειπίων που άφησε ως κα ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: panost
Απολαυστικό βιβλίο που μου κράτησε συντροφιά στις μεταπασχαλινές μου διακοπές στο χωριό.
Απολαυστικό αλλά ασήκωτο...
Ήταν ανάγκη να κάνουν 3 βιβλία σε ένα;
Στον καναπέ κόντευε να με πλακώσει, ο καρπός μου έπαθε θλάση και ο αγκώνας μου πιάστηκε.

Η πρώτη ιστορία είχε ωραίο τίτλο. "Οι βιολέτες του Μάρτη" και είναι ουσιαστικά η εισαγωγή στον εφιάλτη του ΓΡάιχ. Διαδραματίζεται το 1936 στο Βερολίνο. Μου άρεσε η μετάφραση, είχε μια σπιρτάδα. Από την άλλη όμως θα έπρεπε να έχει αρκετές επεξηγήσεις για λέξει
Lewis Weinstein
Hard boiled detective, Berlin style, 1936.

Bernie Gunther faces the world of Nazi violence and duplicity as an outsider, a former cop who is now a private detective, mostly looking for missing people. His work pulls him into the Nazi vortex, which is not unusual, since the Nazis are the main cause of people going missing. The pace is rapid, and there is not much depth to the characters; I guess these aspects of Kerr's writing complement each other.

Another aspect is less pleasing. I would call K
Vasilis Kalandaridis
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Το ξεκινάς,χίλιες εβδομήντα σελιδούλες τις κανεις μια χαψιά και μετά κάθεσαι ευχαριστημένος και χαμογελάς.Και μετά από λίγο θες κι άλλο.
Baxevanidou Faye
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Πρώτη μου επαφή με Philip Kerr Αν και δεν είμαι θιασώτης του είδους πρόκειται για ένα πολύ καλογραμμένο βιβλίο που σε βάζει στην ατμόσφαιρα του αμέσως
Στα συν του βιβλίου - Ο Μπένι Γκούντερ είναι ένας εξαιρετικά συμπαθής χαρακτήρας Προσωπικά το τρίτο βιβλίο της τριλογίας το γερμανικό ρέκβιεμ μου άρεσε περισσότερο από όλα Θεωρώ ότι η περιγραφή του μεταπολεμικού Βερολίνου και γενικότερα της όλης κατάστασης ιστορικά ήταν πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα
Στα μείον του βιβλίου το σύνδρομο καρπιαίου σωλήνα που κόντεψ
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: diehard fans of noir
Like cheap detective fiction? On a recent trip to the library, I saw that they were having a donated book sale - five for a dollar. Since they had the Josephine Tey I recently reviewed (worth the dollar by itself), I was incentivized to pick out another four books and this single-bound trilogy by Philip Kerr caught my eye. I had fallen into Philip Kerr by way of his Wittgenstein-inspired bit of serial killer detective sci fi, A Philosophical Investigation. Thanks to the built-in philosophy, the ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
readathon17 book 11: a crime book

I would give 4.5 stars.
This is actually 3 books, where the main character is a private investigator, living in Berlin.
The three cases he deals with are interesting and I liked him as a character (he is not so "destroyed" as main characters of crime novels usually are).

But the big plus of this book is the WHEN. The first book take place in 1936: Hitler is on the rise, people like him, there are some weird laws, Jewish people are slowly trying to flee the country.
Dec 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Just finished reading the whole trilogy in a row, which was a little more hard-bitten verbiage than I was prepared for. A few gems:
--"Don't make any sudden moves. I scare easily and then get violent to cover my embarassment."
--"With Jeschonnek's gun safely in my coat pocket, I bent down to take a look at him. You didn't have to be an undertaker to see that he was dead. There are neater ways of cleaning a man's ears than a 9 mm bullet."

If you enjoy Raymond Chandler, you'll like Philip Kerr. More
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5 αστεράκια. Απ' τα καλύτερα νουάρ που έχω διαβάσει. Παρόλο που για μένα δεν είναι και τα τρία βιβλία ισάξια (με σειρά αξίας 3,1,2) έχει τα πάντα: Ατμόσφαιρα κυρίαρχη, ιστορικά και γεωγραφικά στοιχεία, σφιχτή πλοκή με ανατροπές, χαρακτήρες, πολιτικό και κοινωνικό σχολιασμό. Ό,τι περιμένεις δηλαδή για να πεις ότι ένα στυνομικό βιβλίο είναι καλό βιβλίο και όχι απλώς καλό αστυνομικό. (Να μην τα ξαναλέμε για το Νέσμπο...).
Άξιζε τον κόπο, τις ώρες που του αφιέρωσα και τα πρωϊνά που βρέθηκα να κοιμ
Oct 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Υπέροχο!!!Αν και λόγω έλλειψης χρόνου άργησα πολύ να το τελειώσω είναι μια εξαιρετική τριλογία που πέρα της νουαρ αισθητικής περιέχει πολλές ιστορικές λεπτομέρειες. Ο κεντρικός χαρακτήρας είναι τέλειος και είναι δύσκολο να μην τον αγαπήσεις. Από τα τρία βιβλία ξεχωρίζω το τελευταίο, το οποίο και τελείωσα σε σχεδόν μια ημέρα. Μετά από αυτό νομίζω θα διαβάσω όλες τις ιστοριές του Μπερνι!
Vassiliki Dass
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Όλη η τρίλογία είναι ένα αριστουργηματικό ιστορικό νουάρ. Το τρίτο μέρος, το Γερμανικό Ρέκβιεμ, είναι κατ'εμέ το πιο αδύναμο αλλά τελειώνει με ένα πονηρό χαμόγελο αισιοδοξίας
Πάνος Τουρλής
Μια εκπληκτική τριλογία, τρία χορταστικά αστυνομικά μυθιστορήματα σε ένα. Μη διστάσετε να βυθιστείτε στη μαγεία ενός καλογραμμένου και ταυτόχρονα καλά δομημένου αστυνομιικού μυθιστορήματος που θα σας ταξιδέψει από τη γερμανική αισιοδοξία του 1936 στην αμφιβολία του 1938 και την ήττα του 1947. Δεν μπορούσα να το αφήσω από τα χέρια μου! Στα συν του κειμένου η γρήγορη αφήγηση, οι απολύτως απαραίτητοι διάλογοι, οι απίθανες μεταφορές και παρομοιώσεις (βλ. χαρακτηριστικά αποσπάσματα κατωτέρω) και ο ασ ...more
Danielle Parker
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: Berlin Noir by Philip Kerr
Penguin, 1991
ISBN 978-0-14-023170-0
835 pages
I’ve been “off” reading science fiction and fantasy for a while for a simple reason. I wanted some really good writing. And that’s hard to find in the genre.
Now, that’s an incendiary statement, even to me. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid. The first two science fiction authors I read were Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton. I still love them. I can name half a dozen science fiction and fantasy authors I have so muc
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mysteries-noir
Couldn’t finish.

Let me explain: I’m not a devoted fan of the mystery genre though I’m thankful to GoodReads for introducing me to some worthy authors in that field that I would otherwise never have read. In the normal course of affairs, I probably would not have picked this book up even though the premise – a detective working in Nazi and post-war Germany – was promising. However, I work with a woman who likes this sort of thing and I keep my eye open for books to recommend or get for Xmas gifts
Sep 05, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a difficult review to write. The subject German National Socialism and the periods covered: 1936 (Olympics in Germany), 1938 (Sudetenland crisis), and 1947 (emerging cold war in Berlin and Vienna) are disturbing to many and difficult to think of in connection with Noir Fiction. However, Philip Kerr has managed to create an interesting trilogy out of it. The biggest drawback to the books is the over the top use of Noir cliches and characters. He might have done better to forego the langua ...more
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Kerr creates excellent mood and draws the scenes vividly without monologuing about history. March Violets especially reads like a Chandler or Hammett classic without any irritating obscenity worries (a lot more sex and Gunther's lewd thoughts than the old masters would have been allowed to write), with the convoluted plots made moot by the dark, ominous mood that permeates the story.
Unputdownable - I read the whole thing in a matter of days.
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've read several books this year that are set in the same time period as this one and that deal with Hitler's rise to power. In Kerr's novel, Bernie Gunther, a private investigator and former police detective finds himself entangled with the Kripo, the Gestapo and just ordinary thugs as he tries to solve a double homicide and burglary. Kerr does a great job with sense of time and place in this character-driven and atmospheric mystery.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Α well written noir, Kerr must have done his research about the time and the place. Although in the first book the end was easy to guess, the other 2 surprised me. A must read if you like detective stories
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
5/23/17: Finished the first book of the trilogy, March Violets. I quite enjoyed this first book in the Bernie Gunther series and I will be looking forward to the other two in this trilogy. I also have a few of the other books in the series that I will be reading. March Violets takes place in Berlin in 1936, the year the Olympics were held there. The term March Violet refers to a German who joins the Nazi party late in the game to gain favor from the party and take advantage of being a Nazi. Bern ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I bought this book a long time ago - I think it had just come out in paperback. I never read it beyond the first few paragraphs - some books are like that; they attract your attention with a seductive wink and come-on covers but when you open them... well... you're just not in the mood and they go on the shelf. And there they stay. Every now and then you feel you ought to read them but not right now and then, after a while they just become part of the furniture...
Then I read Lehter Station and w
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Chandler like noir in a pre and post war Germany. Historical villains woven into the fabric of the novels. A tough guy private eye functioning in that world. It's a good recipe for a noir fan.
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
My weakness for Acceptable But Ultimately Regrettable Historical Fiction is, I feel, well-documented on Goodreads -- generally an absurdly picky consumer of books, when the mood strikes I will read a seed catalogue if it is set in interwar Europe. I'm so happy, then, to have discovered this non-guilty pleasure to squirrel away for moments when only nicotine-stained fingers clutching guns and schnapps will do. The cover blurb, a patently ridiculous sentence, ranks Phillip Kerr with Alan Furst and ...more
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The Patrick Hamil...: "Berlin Noir" trilogy by Philip Kerr 45 20 Jul 25, 2017 11:17PM  
please add book cover from amazon 1 6 May 24, 2015 11:59AM  
  • Dark Voyage (Night Soldiers, #8)
  • Stettin Station (John Russell, #3)
  • Rosa (Berlin Trilogy, #1)
  • The Good German
  • A Small Death in Lisbon
  • Second Violin (Inspector Troy, #6)
  • The Oppermanns
  • A Coffin for Dimitrios
  • A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel, #1)
Kerr has published eleven novels under his full name and a children's series, Children of the Lamp, under the name P.B. Kerr.

Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
More about Philip Kerr...

Other Books in the Series

Bernie Gunther (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • March Violets (Bernie Gunther, #1)
  • The Pale Criminal (Bernie Gunther, #2)
  • A German Requiem (Bernard Gunther, #3)
  • The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4)
  • A Quiet Flame (Bernie Gunther, #5)
  • If The Dead Rise Not (Bernard Gunther, #6)
  • Field Gray (Bernard Gunther, #7)
  • Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8)
  • A Man Without Breath (Bernie Gunther #9)
  • The Lady from Zagreb (Bernard Gunther, #10)
“I didn’t know you were interested in politics,’ I said. ‘I’m not,’ he said. ‘But isn’t that how Hitler got elected in the first place: too many people who didn’t give a shit who was running the country?” 9 likes
“Compared with the person who had decorated and furnished the place, the Archduke Ferdinand had been blessed with the taste of a troupe of Turkish circus dwarves.” 3 likes
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