A German Requiem

1991 ~ Bernie Gunther Book 3

In the bitter winter of 1947, as the Russian Zone closes around the ruined city, Berliners live on fear and dubiously earned PX goods. So when an enigmatic Russian colonel asks private eye Bernie Gunther to go to Vienna, where his ex-Kripo colleague Emil Becker faces a murder charge, Bernie doesn't hesitate for long. And Vienna is a different world: prosperous, peaceful, the gracious hostess to the Powers' proliferating bureaucracies, her buildings and consciences almost rebuilt. Not the aptest haven perhaps for a black-marketeer and war criminal—but despite Becker's unsavoury past, Gunther is convinced that the shooting of an American Nazi-hunter is one crime he didn't commit.

Gradually, Gunther discovers that Vienna is a mistress of hypocrisy, her smug facades masking the lethal duplicity of another war. Communism is the Americans' new enemy, and with the Nuremberg trials over, some strange alliances are being forged against the Red Menace—alignments that make many wartime atrocities look lily-white by comparison.

Vividly evoking the atmosphere of postwar Vienna, A GERMEN REQUIEM brings all Philip Kerr's pace and mordant wit to the tangle of guilt, suspicion, and double-dealing that laid the foundations for the Cold War.

Critical Praise

"Brings the rich character of Bernie Gunther to life... Kerr's evocations of the chaos of that time and place make this an absorbing novel." ~ Chicago Tribune

"Philip Kerr is the contemporary master of the morally complex thriller… [A GERMAN REQUIEM], set mainly in postwar Vienna, has an affinity with Graham Greene's THE THIRD MAN, but—dare I say it?—equals or surpasses Greene (and the Carol Reed film featuring Orson Welles) because it doesn't shy away from the Nazi-saturated substratum of the Viennese milieu." ~ New York Observer

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