Occupied Paris: April 1941 Desperate to return home from France on the eve of Hitler's anticipated declaration of war, American Addie Bridges realizes her future is anything but certain when she witnesses the brutal murder of German businessman and sweet old raconteur Konni Ritter. Addie is ordered to remain in Paris as a material witness to the murder, threat of war or no. The fragile balance of the occupation's first well-mannered year could careen into violent oppression if it turns out the French engineered Ritter's death. And nothing would benefit the SS more in their desire to wrest control of France from the army. Charged with uncovering the truth, Abwehr major Rolf von Gerz begins to tally the suspects: Was it the spiteful chanteuse at the Club l'Heure Blue? Or the club's crafty Alsatian manager, with well-known ties to the Paris underworld? Ritter's estranged business partner? Or could the recent murder of a French stockbroker somehow be connected? And most troubling of all: Can the beautiful young American be trusted? A riveting murder mystery, spy thriller, and love story, with uniquely colorful characters and a surprise ending, Fall Irmgard is a true page-turner that draws the reader into the high-brow, seductive world of 1940s Paris, a city on the cusp of unraveling.
EDITOR'S CHOICE. HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY
HNS REVIEW FALL IRMGARD
"An American woman, Addie Bridges, accidentally finds herself in the center of a tense power-struggle in Rand Charles’ gripping and tremendously effective debut novel Fall Irmgard.
The year is 1941, and Addie Bridges is in Paris when she witnesses the murder of a popular German businessman, Konni Ritter. The authorities order her to remain in Paris, and Charles complicates things greatly by introducing the fascinating character of Abwehr major Rolf von Gerz and putting him in charge of investigating Ritter’s death.
In classic whodunit fashion, it quickly turns out there are many equally possible suspects, many of them connected with Paris demimonde. Charles does an extremely skillful job of deploying one plot-twist and unforeseen revelation after another, all while filling out his book with atmospheric and well-researched details of life in Paris as it passed into the dark days of Nazi occupation. His characters are well-drawn, and his dramatic pacing maintains an absorbing momentum throughout.
An extremely satisfying (and beautifully designed) book.
Steve Donaghue. US Editor Historical Novel Society
"I love this story, the characters, the way the characters interact, the way the subplots intertwine, the author's sense of Paris and Germany at the time, and his overall commentary on the historical and political issues of the day. Fall Irmgard brings occupied Paris to life, and exposes the rich tapestry of people that lived there."
Rand Charles is a writer of historical fiction who haunts the dusty archives, cozy pubs, and nickel and wicker cafés of Europe; researching, eavesdropping and pounding out copy on his next book. Alternately, he lives a quiet life in the American Southwest with his wife and her sissy little dog. Fall Irmgard is his first full-length novel. Currently, he is working on sketches for a prequel.
Fall Irmgard: Operation Irmgard by Rand Charles is a story set during the Second World War. Its been long since I have come across a complex and involving book such as this and I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed it.
The year is 1941 in German occupied Paris. A German businessman, Konni Ritter, is murdered and the brutality is witnessed by one of his friends, Addie Bridges, an American waiting to return home. She is held back for inquiry by Major Rolf von Gerz, a German army officer who is in charge of the case. Konni was a sweet and friendly person according to all his friends and acquaintances and it comes as a shock when he is murdered on the Alexander III bridge. Along with a Gestapo, Rolf, with Addie as a suspect, set about to find the murderer amidst the cacophony of the war. There are a string of other suspects too, of course. A night club manager, a stock broker, a french gangster and some of Konni's women friends. The trick, as is with every mystery, is to get to the bottom of it all.
Wow! It took me a very long time to finish this book. It is a complex story with so many different characters, that I sometimes found it difficult to keep up, honestly. The book starts off with what happens in one day in the lives of each of the different characters. And only then, the story takes off. I want the readers to make a note here. The book is long and complex but by no means, boring or dull. In fact, it reminded me of one of my favorite classics, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. As many may know, that book has a lot of character building and plot description and then with each passing event, the story falls into place. That is the vibe of the layout in this book too and if you've loved reading A Tale of Two Cities, you'll definitely love this one.
OK, to the technicalities now. As I said, loads of characters, each perfectly described and thought of. Extravagant details of the setting, read occupied Paris, is provided which is absolutely interesting and engaging. The character of Rolf and Addie are linked romantically. Rolf is this stern officer on the outside with a soft heart within. Addie, on the other hand, is charming and bold, an American in love with Paris. The character of Konni Ritter, too, is given enough background before he is killed. Everyone from the rich foreign girls to the club owner is beautifully explained, as if the author has picked these characters from real life.
Fall Irmgard: Operation Irmgard is an intense and complex tale with pleasurable intricacies that make for a wonderful read. With a sophisticated touch of classical writing, it is sure to attract anyone interested in the classical fiction genre, something that is rarely found these days. A perfect blend of history and mystery (wow, that rhymes!), if you're someone who likes historical fiction, you probably shouldn't miss this.
*** This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. ***
I received a free copy of Fall Irmgard: Operation Irmgard in a Goodreads give away in exchange for an honest review. This is Rand Charles' first full length novel and boy was it a good one! The story itself takes place in 1941 in occupied Paris. It is a well written and complex novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
The story begins in German occupied Paris in 1941. The reader meets Addie Bridges, an American woman, desperate to return home to America now that the Germans have taken over Paris. However, on her last night in Paris, before her scheduled departure the very next day, she witnesses the murder of a German businessman, Konni Ritter, on the Alexander III bridge where they had just walked across together. As a result, Addie is denied permission to leave Paris as she had planned to do. Abwehr Major Rolf von Gerz, a Counter-Intellegence specialist and German officer in the German army, is assigned the case. His task is to find out who killed Konni Ritter, the German businessman and friend to many including Addie. Konni's murder comes as a shock to all who knew him. He was a well-liked man with many friends. There are many suspects, including Addie, but Rolf is determined to solve this murder and find the killer, even with the interference from the Gestapo.
This was a book that should not and probably will not be read and finished quickly. Rand Charles took great pains to carefully develop and describe each character in the story with perception and preciseness. Every time I thought I knew who was responsible for Konni's murder, Rand Charles, threw another twist to the story. As the story developed so did a romance between Addie and Rolf, as well. As I have already stated this book is lengthy and quite complex, but as the reader, I was engaged and committed. His descriptions of occupied Paris gave the reader an accurate vision of the economy and daily life of Parisians. It is a very well written book.
Historical fiction is my preferred genre and this one did not disappoint. I really liked the way the book ended. I will not spoil it for you but I would not have predicted it would end the way it did. This is a novel that I highly recommend. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did if you decide to read it.
Wow! Do you enjoy History? Do you like reading historical fiction? You will LIKE Fall Irmgard by Rand Charles.
It's 1941, Paris is teetering ...on the verge of social and economic collapse and even more terrifying, Hitler's army is gathering at the gates. Addie Bridges is less than 24 hours from boarding a plane back to the safety of America when she witnesses her friend Konni Ritter's murder. Major Rolf von Gerz leads the investigation into Konni's murder. By all accounts he was kind, friendly, fun loving and popular with the ladies. The Major puts together a list of possible suspects, including the beautiful American. The very one claiming to be a witness and determined to insert herself into the hunt for her friends killer. Rolf doesn't know for sure if he can trust her. But he does know for sure he has feelings for her.
Whew. Yeah. There's a lot to take in here. This novel is complex, intricately woven, and expertly detailed. (Please do not misinterpret complex as difficult or boring.) The author painted 1940's Paris so vividly it was if he was sharing memories with the reader. The characters are thought out and absolutely believable. I was quickly drawn into their world - I grew to know and care for them. The tempo was consistent and circumstance appropriate. The mystery and budding romance are contradictory in the lives of the characters. However, they compliment each other beautifully for the story. The dialogue often reminded me of the classic style writing of the masters from long ago.
This isn't a one or two sitting read. It took me a long time to finish because like fine wine or aged bourbon, it's meant to be sipped and savored. Fall Irmgard is unique, realistic, and worth every invested minute. Don't miss it!
A riveting tale of many complex characters that twists and turns constantly, keeping you fascinated. Each time you think you have figured out who killed Konrad Victor Johann Sebastian von Stendal der Ritter von der Krumme, a man as loved and complex as his name. and why it was done, new facts come to life. You will meet German Army and Gestapo, French police, nightclub personnel, smugglers, gangsters and a circle of women friends from all countries. Each contributes to the intricacies of this book and stops you from putting it down.
A fairly long and quite complex mystery set in occupied France during early part of WW2. Very well written evoking the tenor of the situation and times, not only between the french and the germans but also between the various factions of the german militia as well - and both these elements to the Jews. I tend to read in short daily bursts so found it to be a little bit of a challenge to keep up with what was happening to who and to keep the many characters clear in my mind (frequently having to refer back to the 'list of characters' in the front of the book). A spoiler warning - the notes on the back of the book, and the L of C give away the main event of the book. I always avoid reading the synopsis of books as far as possible as I wish to allow the book to reveal itself to me in real-time without any fore-warnings. Reading the L of C before I started the book spoiled the shock impact of the main event for me and I regretted the disappointment of that. The issue of keeping up with characters and events clearly in my mind is my fault, not the author's (although many other reviews allude to this difficulty) - I would have fared better, I think, if I had read it in longer sessions, close together. I am left wondering who the 'tiny man' fished out of the water in a sack on page 410 is? - have I missed something here - it leaves me feeling a little unfullfilled that I have this gap in my knowledge but too much of a chore to read the whole book again at this stage to find out. I have written to the author on this point and perhaps he will direct me to the appropriate pages where this character appears earlier. However, as an intricate mystery, told in an interesting and absorbing style and encompassing the strange and difficult times in France during those events of recent past, with very well drawn characters - I found it an enjoyable and informative good read. I 'won' this book as a 'Giveaway' and am more than pleased to supply this honest review.
I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways and have chosen to give my honest opinion about it. If I'm honest, I'm not usually the craziest about historical books, which is why I may not have liked this as much as I could have. That being said, I did love being thrown into the world, even though there were a bit too many people introduced (who as quickly came as they went, so they became irrelevant). I found myself not fully grasping certain parts of the book, or finding it a bit dull, but the reason this deserves 4 stars is because I finished the novel feeling quite satisfied, and the hook into the novel was also impressively irresistible, and when the story did pick up at times, it was quite interesting.
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. It was a somewhat enjoyable story, although way too many characters to fully keep track. It became so convoluted because too many people were introduced. Also, i had a hard time understanding how the two main characters could have fallen in love, especially after such a short time. The story simply loses credibility when the character Addie has so few redeeming qualities. As far as I could tell, she was pretty, had nice clothes, and was almost cartoonish in how manipulative she was. Maybe that worked in movies made in the 1940s, movies where the female lead was very one dimensional, but it doesn't work in a book that was written in the 21st century.
I won this boom in a Goodreads giveaway and in exchange is my honest review below:
"Operation Irmgard" was most certainly an interesting read. I must admit that it took me a bit to really get into it and I had a difficult time following the cast of characters, but that is more likely just my inability to focus due to a slower beginning than the author's actual writing throughout the book. There were quite a few delectable twists and turns in this book tha y kept it interesting and going and I thoroughly enjoyed the last few pages where he makes mention of the songs he wrote about in the book. You can tell that there was research and creative liberty, but not in an unjustified sort of way. Good read!
FALL IRMGARD is the complete novel. The heroes are intelligent and honorable; the villains are cunning and intriguing; the lovers are lovers and they are all participants in a story of crime, mystery, and romance in occupied Paris. In 1941 France has capitulated after a relatively brief struggle with NAZI Germany and is occupied by the German Army. An aristocratic German army office, Rolf von Gerz is assigned the task of determining who is responsible for the murder of a German businessman, possibly avoiding a political problem. An interesting explanation is revealed at this point and that is the disdain felt by the German Army for the NAZI party with its Gestapo and SS Corps. Fortunately for Rolf his investigation leads to an encounter with a beautiful American woman who becomes politically blocked from returning to America. Much of the investigation involves the rich cast of characters that emerge from the Club L'Heure Blue, the club manager, the exotic singer, a stock broker, and the murdered mans' partner. This is a really good read. The characters become real and interesting and the plot, though complicated, is consistent. I look forward to Mr. Rand's next work. He is a real talent.
I received my copy of Fall Irmgard: Operation Irmgard for free through a Goodreads giveaway.
It is a twisty turny story set in German occupied France. Characters are French and German with one American thrown into the mix. It took me longer than usual to read this novel due to life, so that is, perhaps, why I had trouble keeping the characters and story lines straight. Or is it there were too many characters with too little character development, so I lost focus. Hard to tell.
A few sections of the novel really involved me emotionally.
Well written, dialog natural, descriptions aided the scene, not detracted.
It took me a long time to read this book. There are so many characters to keep up with, and I found myself going back to reread passages to be sure I had the right fellow! Perhaps my shortcoming rather than a flaw in writing? I did enjoy the book with the mystery, romance, espionage, and a bit of history/geography to keep me on my toes. I received the book free through Goodreads, and I look forward to more of Rand Charles' writing.
this book was very complex and intricate. it has many characters and suspects which made it difficult at times to keep everyone straight. knowing more about the history of this time before reading this may have helped. after two months of reading it was still not able to see the different spies or black market operations.
This was an intriguing book, one that keeps you guessing. With each turn there is another connection with another character and you really have to pay attention. The relations of Konni Ritter are so complex. The setting of the club of Bruno and Sabina is a great meeting place of all the characters. The epilogue is good in that it ties up all the loose ends and you discover what happened to many of the remaining characters. Many will like happy endings, and while some is happy, some is not. This was a good read.