These novels by Philip Kerr appear in fact almost like historical novels, with the mysteries solved (or not) taking a back seat to the reconstitution of what Berlin was like, for this kind of man anyway, immediately before the second world war, and so under the rising nazi regime, and then afterwards during the allied occupation and the struggle for power in a wasted Europe between Soviets and Americans. And, as an aside on this third novel, Kerr is totally realistic, as the English and the French occupiers are almost totally absent from the contest!
|Scottish author Philip Kerr|
The sheer detail of places, political and police organisation, and the events that set the framework for these novels makes me think that Kerr might have a training as a historian. Maybe. In any case I have not learnt as much about this period of German history since reading the wonderful and utterly revealing "Diary of a German" by Sebastien Haffner, which was published postumously.
The three novels have been republished in a single volume:
Berlin Noir" "Bernie Gunther" trilogy, republished 1993 by Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-023170-0.
In order of appearance, and in their time sequence, their titles are:
March Violets. London: Viking, 1989. ISBN 0-670-82431-3
The Pale Criminal. London: Viking, 1990. ISBN 0-670-82433-X
A German Requiem. London: Viking, 1991. ISBN 0-670-83516-1