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A German Requiem

(Bernie Gunther #3)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,653 ratings  ·  347 reviews
The third in the late Philip Kerr's universally acclaimed Berlin Noir trilogy, A German Requiem sees detective Bernie Gunther enter the new and terrifying world of post-war Vienna.

In the bitter winter of 1947 the Russian Zone is closing ever more tightly around Berlin. So when an enigmatic Russian colonel asks Bernie Gunther to go to Vienna, where his ex-Kripo colleague
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 29th 2015 by Penguin (first published March 28th 1991)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  4,653 ratings  ·  347 reviews


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Gary
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(SPOILER ALERT)

This is my favourite of the Bernie Gunther books because it is his least misogynist one and the woman are actually explored to some extent as real characters for the first time. Also it shows the stark desperation and poverty and danger of Berlin and Vienna at the time.

With Russian soldiers raping a pillaging and I though he had streotyped all Russian soldiers as barbaric monsters until MVD Colonel Poroshin who tries to recruit Gunther helps rescue Gunther's wife.

An interesting
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Mark
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction
to start this book finishes Philip Kerrs' Berlin Noir trilogy and while the story starts in Berlin 1947, a city under siege by the communist threat, most of it plays in Vienna. So I would label this last book more Vienna Noir than anything.
This whole book was guided by my internal soundtrack of Orson Welles The third man mostly by Anton Karas who played the famous theme on the zither. Which is perhaps not that odd when you consider the story told in this novel and the amount both have in common
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Nigeyb
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With ‘A German RequiemPhilip Kerr has saved the best until last, at least in terms of the original Berlin Trilogy ('March Violets’/'The Pale Criminal’/‘A German Requiem’). Ten years after this original trilogy Philip Kerr returned to the character and, in 2006, started to write more Bernie Günther books. At the time of writing this review in 2016, there are currently 11 Bernhard Günther books.

A German Requiem’ is superb. Echoes of the 1949 British film noir classic 'The Third Man’ directed
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Alex Cantone
1947. In an explosive start, Bernie Günther has returned to Berlin from a Soviet POW camp to find a post-Apocryphal city where food and fuel is in short supply, women clear the streets of debris and people huddle in the basements of bombed buildings, the upper stories unsafe. The former Kripo detective is again making a meagre living as a PI while his wife, a school teacher, works at a cafe frequented by American servicemen where she gains valuable supplies. Günther has a close call with death ...more
Dave
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-borrowed
In Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series, he successfully tells a historical narrative through the means of a hardboiled detective with the dark world of 1930’s Germany forming almost a hardboiled character of itself. The first three books of what later became a dozen novels form what is referred to as the Berlin trilogy, tracing Gunther’s passage through the 1930’s into a dark chapter of evil. The second novel leaves off as Chamberlain loses his last chance to stand up to Hitler and hands over a third ...more
HBalikov
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of you who are not familiar with Kerr or his P.I., Bernie Gunther, I will provide this background. A German Requiem is book three in an ongoing series by Kerr that he started writing about thirty years ago. The series arc begins before World War II and continues long after it. Kerr, unlike many other authors, does not write his stories in chronological sequence. This places a lot of challenge on him to keep the back references consistent and Gunther’s character in line with what he ...more
Ed
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
PI Bernie Gunther of post-war Berlin is a Marlowe-type shamus. Lots of Chandler metaphors, quips, and atmosphere. The hard-boiled element is there. Bernie goes to Vienna where he tangles with the Yanks, Brits, "Ivans", French, and Austrians. Shifty alliances and twists drive the plot. Great, intelligent read with first-rate writing. A must for any PI genre fans.
Jim Harris
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful historical fiction. Kerr transports you to a place and time many of have only heard vaguely about. Nazis, war, recovery, wrapped up in a good mystery. Philip Kerr created an excellent storyteller in Bernie.
Richard White
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Wow! What an amazing series. Part historical fiction with a great protagonist. A must read if your interested in the inner workings of Nazi Germany. Finally a book from the viewpoint of a German during this troubled time in history. Best book on this subject hands down.
James
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent entry in the Bernie Gunther series —#3, set mostly in post WWII Austria.

With every page I was deeply impressed with the late Philip Kerr’s ability not only to realistically set his story in the world that existed in 1947, but to get the reader invested in characters who were, at a minimum, witness to unspeakable barbarism, if not actual participants.

Marty Fried
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes place just after WW2, mostly in Vienna. Bernie is now a private detective, living in Berlin. He gets hired to try to prove that an old associate of his did not kill some American, fighting against the clock to save him from the death penalty, coming up fast. A lot of things come up along the way, and it's never certain just who's in charge, who's the vilain, and who's going to die. But as usual, Bernie seems to be one of the few who finds all the answers.
Pamela
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-other
Bernie Gunther takes on an assignment in Vienna, where a former colleague from the Kripo is facing a death sentence for the murder of an American soldier. Gunther soon concludes that both his colleague and the American were involved in shady dealings, maybe the flourishing black market or perhaps some kind of espionage, but the further he digs, the more loose ends and contradictions he uncovers.

I found this book less enjoyable than the previous two in this series (originally a trilogy which
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Toby
Feb 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
This one felt more like a history lesson than a noir thriller, Bernie Gunther basically behaving like a tour guide through post war atrocities than as a German Marlowe.

There's some kind of convoluted plot involving multiple parties with dubious morals and an elastic sense of who is working with/for whom, there's so much back stabbing and double crossing going on simply serving as a stream of red herrings and the padding out of the book to it's longer than previous entries page count.

The blurb
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Frank
Finished the third and final book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, A German Requiem. This one, in my opinion, was probably the best of the three and definitely the most complex. It takes place in 1947 and 1948 in post-war Berlin and Vienna. Bernie had managed to escape from a Russian prison camp where he spent the last part of the war and he and his wife are trying to eke out an existence in the war-savaged Berlin of 1947. Not only is the city almost totally destroyed but it is also being held ...more
Melinda
Mar 09, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melinda by: newleaph@gmail.com
Book 3 is "Requiem", which takes place after the war, mostly in Vienna. In many ways it is the least sexist and yet somehow falls flat to me. Again a lot of intricate plotting, but It's not hard to follow. This one moves right into Dashiell Hammett's nameless detective, even referring to various of his books again.
Here's a quote that feels to me much like a rewrite of the end Sam Spade speech from "The Maltese Falcon" where he tells the girl why he has to do things the way he does. This is from
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Wendy Ballard
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know, I know, I'm breaking my own reading rule again. I did not read the Bernie Gunther books in order, but frankly, I don't think it's inhibited my enjoyment. I love Kerr's writing (and yet another favorite author of mine is gone now...). I haven't been to the cities he uses as settings, but I hope his descriptions are accurate enough that my imagination isn't too deceived.

The storyline in the synopsis is adequate so I won't rehash. Kerr has created Bernie Gunther. He is not perfect and
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Kim
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I shouldn't have listened to the 3 origin books all at once. I found I was getting a bit tired of Bernie Gunther's style and modus operandi. I also experienced Nazi fatigue as the plots all fell within the WW2 theatre. However, all that being said, I did enjoy getting to know Bernie and I have no doubt that I'll continue on with the Gunther series once this malais towards him runs it's course.

This being the final book in the original trilogy it is still a remarkable accomplishment by the
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Brian Williams
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the final book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, and in my opinion it is the best of the three books. It is 1947 and Bernie Gunther is back in the private investigation business after a stint in a Russian POW camp. He is hired by a former Kripo "colleague" who is being held in an American military prison in Vienna on a trumped up murder charge. He thinks Bernie can get him off. Bernie travels to Vienna, leaving his wife behind (I think this is the first appearance for his wife, Kristen) and ...more
Lynne Premo
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany, wwii
Mysteries have always been one of my favorite forms of historical fiction because of their ability (when well written) to provide a glimpse of life in another time, place, etc while still being entertaining but not insulting your intelligence. Kerr does so wonderfully here with post-WWII Berlin/Vienna, slipping in additional information about the Soviet POW camps, postwar espionage and hypocrisy among the governmental bodies involved, and the atrocities on all sides that came at the end of the ...more
Razvan Banciu
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a slight difference between this novel and the former ones, as the action has more density and Bernie (almost to the end) makes fewer jokes. The interpenetration reality-fiction makes the book more interesting, characters are alive,the style is pleasant, there was some research work done by Mr. Kerr, all of these facts taken together make quite a fine book.
Darwin8u
Sep 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
An obvious homage to Greene's The Third Man. It was good Nazi noir, just not amazing.
Mal Warwick
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s 1947. Berlin is a shambles. The meager amount of food available is rationed, leaving the surviving German population on the verge of starvation while the occupying forces eat their fill. The city is sharply divided between the eastern, Soviet-occupied zone and the rest governed by the three Western Allies. In the western zone, German women known as “chocoladies” sell sex for food, cigarettes, and alcohol. In the east, rape by Russian soldiers is nearly inescapable. As Bernie Gunther ...more
David Lowther
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A German Requiem is the third Bernie Günther story and was part of Philip Kerr's trilogy Berlin Noir. It's the second time I've read it and I was not disappointed. Bernie finds himself in Vienna, employed by the Russians to find out who murdered an American captain. Accused of the murder is Bernie's old colleague Becker whom our hero remembers with no fondness at all. However, he needs the money and becomes involved a plot which, despite its twists and turns, unfolds brilliantly with surprise ...more
Denise
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2020
It's 1947, the war is over, and Bernie Gunther has made his way back from a Russian POW camp to the ruins of Berlin when he is offered a new case: A former colleague has been arrested in Vienna for the murder of an American Army captain and wants Bernie to prove his innocence before he is put on trial and likely executed.

Black market deals, war criminals, spy games and murder in post-war Vienna - hands down the best book from the original trilogy for me.
Judy
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
O dear! I just can’t continue with this book. I really wanted to like this series—the time period, location both should make it one I would like. I can’t figure out why, but it seems so dark and hopeless. I think that is much the way life was like then; so maybe in that sense it is realistic. For me, there are too many peripheral characters to keep up with, and the plot moves along so slowly. So I give up. I’m glad others find it good reading. It’s just not for me.
Jim Mullin
This is the third book in the Philip Kerr “Bernie Gunther” acclaimed series; and the best so far. To date the series takes place in pre WW2, during WW2 and shortly after WW2 Germany. The books makes it very interesting with regards to day to day life of the Germans coping with victory, defeat, chaos, holocaust guilt. As far as the “mystery/thriller the plot in this book was the top of the three.
Bret Mills
I was a little disappointed having read other books of the series before coming back to #3. I felt the story was over worked and become unnecessarily complex. I did like the setting of post war Berlin and Austria and did enjoy reading another one Phillip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther stories as it revealed another aspect of Bernie’s life.
Diana Babii
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not my personal preference.
Mr. Gottshalk
It's the summertime. I want to read books that are fast, interesting and not overly confusing. This book was none of those things. It's one of those reads that requires you to pay attention to every line of text, every character, every double-meaning and all that. So it was tough for me to get into this very dark story about the search for someone in postwar Germany and Vienna, where lots of Nazis are blending in to the neighboring country of Austria, changing their names to become someone ...more
Palmreader
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kerr knows how to tell the story. Just enough to keep you wanting more. Dark and scary and taut. Love this series.
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Philip Kerr was a British author. He was best known for his Bernie Gunther series of 13 historical thrillers 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.

Other books in the series

Bernie Gunther (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • March Violets (Bernie Gunther, #1)
  • The Pale Criminal (Bernie Gunther, #2)
  • 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)
  • The Other Side of Silence (Bernie Gunther, #11)
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