Bernie's demise

edited August 2014 in Root
Have just finished my final Gunther novel (Berlin Noir). In terms of Bernie's chronological life I've pretty much read them in reverse order as I was introduced to the books when a friend lent me Field Gray.

I sometimes find myself speculating on Bernie's final days. I see him back in Berlin, living modestly on limited means. The cigarettes, booze and conditions he's endured preclude a long life, perhaps he just about makes it to 1970. Despite his liberal leanings he was still born in the Victorian era and I doubt he has any love for the concrete buildings going up around him. The counter culture? Part of him should celebrate it's arrival but I'm not sure sure he would. I'm afraid I see his well worn cynicism developing into bitterness.

A melancholy view of the end of his life, apologies if this runs counter to anything stated in the novels, it's been a while since I read Field Gray


  • I hope you're wrong. Patrick O'Brian, who wrote the popular Master and Commander series of historical fiction, extended the timeline of his hero 'creatively'. What might reasonably have been expected to only be 10 books ended up as 20. I hope PK comes to his senses, and continues this series into the Cold War. How awesome would that be?
  • Well, if he holds on until 1992 (admittedly unlikely) he can see Erich Mielke finally go on trial - and get convicted 2 years later - for the 1931 murders of Anlauf and Lenck. A rather nice piece of historical and poetic justice, that.
  • There is still room for more of Bernie's adventures during the last part of WWI and also during the various uprisings and street wars of the German 1920s. We still have not really heard about how or why he became a cop in the first place.
  • Following on from "A man without breath", I hope there is more to come on him/Canaris/ the bomb plot.
  • Prequels are all the rage now. I can see a trilogy based around Bernie's wartime service in Turkey where he arrives as some sort of clerk with a rifle administering supplies but by accident or circumstance gets in with Germany's "Oriental Bureau" or whoever they had specializing in Turko - German relations etc.
    Somewhere between a spy story and a crime thriller? Bernie can bounce off some of the big players of the time and place like Mustafa Kemal and Lawrence of Arabia. He can go looking for an old German archaeologist / geologist who's got the sole copy of a report about oil prospects in the Turkish Empire; or, spirit away an Egyptian who has proof of the Sykes / Picot Agreement. Bernie's nemesis here could be some nasty British intelligence types - they'd be perfect substitutes for the Nazi's.
    Istanbul and Jerusalem could stand in for Berlin. You could even have the stories as a "game of two halves" like some of the existing Germany / Latin America novels except that this time we'd have Bernie as a journalist or salesman in the early sixties rocking up in the Middle East to see what a mess the Brits made of things.
  • I don't want to see Gunther die in a hospital, gasping out his last moments. Rather, to die gallantly, serving one last good purpose. Something that makes up for his past failures, something that gives him a few last moments of redemption. Daring, dangerous, dashing, a beautiful woman (of course), and perhaps saving the life of his daughter.
  • edited November 2015
    Bernie will live forever! Although, as a heavy smoker, he should have gasped his last by now, Traveller! Let's just all enjoy living back in the 20th century & not worry about the 21st :-) Sad to say, but I don't enjoy PK's sci-fi stuff anywhere near as much as his BG novels!
  • I have not read any of PK's SF. Should at least take a look.
  • I suspect that Bernie Gunther will live long enough to be involved in some way in the capture and trial of Eichmann in 1960-2. This may have some link to his journey to Palestine in Tofto and the future members of Mossad who he met there. Equally, it also may link back to Aaron, who he doesn't kill at the end of that book.

    We shall see, but I suspect that would be about it for him as he is significantly ageing by then.
  • I think Eichmann was hinted at towards the end of GBG, and could have been the next book. Bernie probably would have been fired from Munich RE for getting Max Merten arrested, would have to move again. Maybe he reconnects with his daughter in the USA at some point or maybe he passes quietly, a pauper, from a cardiac arrest, also hinted at in GBG.

  • I am sure there will be a woman involved. One last act of chivalry, however futile. Dying--to make a difference, redemption.

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