March Violets

1989 ~ Bernie Gunther Book 1

Bernhard Gunther is 38 years old, a veteran of the Turkish Front, and an ex-policeman. He's also a private eye, specializing in missing persons, which means that he's a very busy man. Because this is Berlin 1936, and people have a nasty habit of disappearing in Hitler's capital.

A cluster of diamonds sets Bernie off on a new case—diamonds and a couple of bodies. The daughter and son-in-law of Hermann Six, industrialist millionaire and German patriot, have been shot dead in their bed and a priceless necklace stolen from the safe. As Bernie pursues the case through seedy Berlin nightclubs, the building sites for the new autobahns, and even the magnificent Olympic Stadium where Jesse Owens is currently disproving all the fashionable racist theories, so he's led inexorably into the cesspit that is Nazi Germany, travelling the murky paths from the police morgue where missing persons usually end up to, finally, Dachau itself.

MARCH VIOLETS is a vivid and unusual first novel. Stylishly written, powerfully evocative, it offers a convincing picture of life in Nazi Berlin, as well as a private eye in the great tradition of Hammett and Chandler.

Critical Praise

"Exceptionally good... the best first crime novel of the year" ~ The Times of London

"Catches the nasty taste of the jackboot era and the wisecracking flavour of the pulps... An impressive debut" ~ The Guardian

"Different, distinctive, and well worth your while" ~ The Literary Review

"Kerr not only provides a wonderfully sharp and satirical Philip Marlowe in his laid-back, wise-cracking Berlin shamus, but also a plot that is highly original." ~ The Times of London

"Fast-paced, laconic, unpredictable, and witty… MARCH VIOLETS does not contain a dull page." ~ The Evening Standard

"Beautifully written, tangy with atmosphere" ~ The Scotsman

"Truly amazing first novel" ~ 20/20 Magazine

"Dark, complex, and relentlessly witty—a nearly perfect marriage of threatening background and twisted plot to a German Philip Marlowe" ~ Kirkus Reviews

Honors and Awards

1993

2011

Reviews

Seattle Post Intelligencer
Kirkus Reviews
Goodreads
Lizzy's Literary Life
Publishers Weekly
Crime Scraps
B.Morrison
Mount Benson Report
Margot Kinberg: Confessions of a Mystery Novelist
Nigel P. Bird


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