Alistair's Reviews > A Quiet Flame

A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr
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's review
May 08, 2010

liked it

This another Bernie Gunther thwiller . The 4 others that i have read were great, fast paced with crackling dialogue and all set in pre war and post war Germany . Bernie is the detective trying to do the right thing in a vicious Nazi state and after the war trying to dig up the remains and trace the nazis who escaped .
This novel takes him to Peron ruled Argentina which welcomed ex Nazis and gave them a hiding place and a new life . The plot also interweaves an unsolved child murder case of Bernie's in Berlin from 1932 . He suspects that the current case that he has been forced to investigate also involving a young girl may have roots in pre war Berlin . . He is convinced that the killer may be among the Nazi community in Buenos Aires.
This is not up to standard . The link between the 2 cases is weak and the Berlin bits seem to be outtakes from his previous novels . The Argentinian parts are a bit palid . Bernie is tired and suffering from cancer . the writing seems to reflect this . The dialogue does not quite snap and the exposure of the hidden lives of the Nazis and their link to Peron's governemnt is all rather half hearted . The short affir with the young jewess is silly and the emotional tug of war at the end artificial .
Perhaps Bernie Gunther is due for retirement . He had a brilliant career.

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