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New Bernie Gunther: The Lady from Zagreb
Can't wait to see what kind of trouble Bernie gets into in this one!
Oh..this looks like it's going to be great
It does indeed. Can't wait to sink my teeth into this one.
This is really good news, I'm not particularly interested in reading any of his "non Bernie" books, and I had feared that Philip somehow thought that Bernie was " holding back his creative juices."
I completely agree with galahad. The non-Bernie books read like they're written by someone else. The author of the the Bernie books is the best that I've read. The other guy not so much. I'd rather read Martin Cruz Smith than him.
The new book, perhaps inevitably, is a typical mid- to late-series instalment: Like the later Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels it feels a little jaded and painted-by-numbers, especially Bernie's dialogue with Dalia on the one side and Goebbels on the other. Bernie's sardonic asides sound rehearsed at times - perhaps it's just that the novelty has worn off. The time-jump story frame set on the Riviera is a bit old hat, but I guess it still works. Of course there are familiar flashes of brilliance as well - as before, Kerr is at his best describing the harrowing and haunted atmosphere of the Balkans in wartime, and the degrading effect of routine atrocities on the men living through them. A crucial scene where Bernie comes close to being executed by the Gestapo is resolved by an ingenious if desperate stunt last seen on YouTube. We finally get to discover how Bernie got hooked up with Kirsten. And the entire plot line involving him with the Lady from Zagreb is straight out of Raymond Chandler, if not even Dashiell Hammett. As usual, some of the villains (Schellenberg, Leuthard) are shown to have a likeable side, and the obscure military history kernel at the heart of the Swiss episode is - almost unbelievably - actually true. So, all in all, a solid effort even if nowhere near the high points of the series. And, perhaps best of all in light of galahad's concerns (which I share), Kerr has announced another instalment called "The Other Side Of Silence" due out in 2016 which will hopefully serve to knit up a few more of the holes in Bernie's life story to date.
I've just finished reading this latest Bernie Gunther masterpiece. It's an absolute classic which I could not put down until the last page. Congratulations Mr Kerr on producing another thoroughly enjoyable read. Please don't give up on dear old Bernie, he's such an endearing character with a superb mix of good and just enough wickedness to make the stories really interesting. I don't like my heroes to be paragons of virtue, much too dull to capture the imagination. Please keep the Bernie novels coming, I for one can't get enough of this wonderful character.
Hey! Just read the bestseller Look Who's back--Bernie sounds much more cynical and clear about the Nazis in Lady from... As it feels like Philip is tired of people who just don't get it that Bernie on many levels represents Germany. And Timels is telling us in Look... That hitter would do great in modern Germany on social media and people just not listening. So listen up! Bernie uses a baseball bat on us about the Nazis. So does Timels. Are both writers telling us Cassandra like that hitler is just waitin rebirth?
And Kerr writes great books without the Nazis. A Philosophical Investigation is brilliant in the not to distant dystopian future and Sir Isaac Newton as a detective--pure genius!
Did anyone else wonder if Dalia really killed her mother and that she was jiving Bernie all along about accidentally killing Dragan's real daughter as part of a complex vengence scheme ? Sure she didn't shoot with the gun on safety but would such a cunning woman not know about safeties and when they were on or off ? I think Bernie got conned into getting her out of Germany,failing to recognize a woman every bit as devious and dishonest as Josef Goebbels is.Bernie goes to the Russian front feeling like a Teutonic knight after a superb con job by a beautiful woman.A comment on the German people believing in the Nazi's and the 3rd Reich ?
Bernie's women so often die nobly so I have been expecting one rotten to the core.
Wow - I just loved this book! It's a welcome return to form after a bunch of uninspired Gunther books. My full review on Goodreads:
To be honest, I never could figure out how much was the "real" Dalia and how much was acting. It never occurred to me that she would have killed her mother, but as for the rest of her motives - it's a mystery!
Reading TLFZ is inspiring me to go back to the beginning of the series. I've only read them in library editions, perhaps I'll start collecting my own copies. I'm glad that PK is carrying on with Bernie, the true successor to Philip Marlowe, and more consistently well written. In my opinion the student has surpassed the master in this series. Nothing beats Chandler at his finest but PK has produced the finer body of work.
Sad to say, Chandler had many personal problems, and alcoholism. This would have hampered his productivity.
loved the book! living in zurich, i must say that kerr's research was okay, but not stellar :-) for instance he describes zurich's police headquarter as "disproportionally large, semi-castellated bilding with a big central clock and two white-painted wings" (p. 306). in the 1940s the described building was still used as swiss army barracks (hence the "enormous parade ground to the rear". the actual police HQ is a much smaller building to the left of the barracks. here's an old view of both buildings:
; this is how it looks today
the main building has not been used by the swiss army since the early 1980s.
Enjoyed the book and polished it off very quickly. As with Chandler the twist, turns and reveals of the story are not my main reasons for reading. Rather it's the journey, meeting the characters and travelling through their world which holds me and LoZ delivered these, a return to form n my opinion.
Of course I do have a grumble; Bernie's first meeting Dalia annoyed me, here's a man that talks of surviving through knowing to keep his mouth shut, walking into a situation he realised has been staged and then spilling all his true feelings about the Nazis. Even allowing for his having twenty of cupids arrows in his bank, I couldn't buy that, a few snide comments maybe but not to the extent told in the book.
I enjoyed the book as much as the others before it. PK's writing and plot development are still there.
Did I miss the explanation of the "huge" jeweled ring on the finger of the "Lady of the Lake"? Dalia explains the killing of Dragan's daughter quickly and Bernie believes her, but the curious finding of the gem on the dead girl's finger is not explained and seemed to be an important detail.
Smooth & delightful plot, liked this book a lot. Just a minor detail or nitpick: in Zürich Bernie checks in to the hotel "where Finnish Marshal Mannerheim has just negotiated armistice with Russia, furiating Hitler".
In real life that happened a year later, autumn 1944...
Just read The Lady from Zagreb and cannot wait to read the full series bu I shall read them from the beginning of the series.I have already converted one fried into a Bernie fan.
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THE PALE CRIMINAL
A GERMAN REQUIEM
THE ONE FROM THE OTHER
A QUIET FLAME
IF THE DEAD RISE NOT
A MAN WITHOUT BREATH
THE LADY FROM ZAGREB
THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE
Philip Kerr's Other (Non-Bernie) Books
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