Philip Kerr was the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Bernie Gunther novels, three of which--Field Gray, The Lady from Zagreb, and Prussian Blue--were finalists for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Kerr also won several Shamus Awards and the British Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Award for Historical Crime Fiction. Just before his death in 2018, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. As P.B. Kerr, he was the author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Children of the Lamp.
In the wreckage of postwar Berlin, PI Bernie Gunther--in his third appearance--accepts coal for payment and reluctantly takes on a case for Russian Col. Palkovich Poroshin, one of the despised ``Ivans.'' Asked to prove black marketeer Emil Becker innocent of the death of U.S. Counterintelligence Corps Capt. Edward Linden, Gunther leaves Berlin (and his unfaithful wife) for Vienna, where the incarcerated Becker insists he had been set up while delivering SS files to Linden at the behest of a stranger named Konig. Gunther's search for Konig attracts the attention of the CIC's John Belinksky, who also believes Becker was framed. After saving Gunther from some drunken Russians, Belinsky asks Gunther to infiltrate the ranks of a super-secret group of ex-Nazis whose leader may be former Gestapo head Heinrich Muller. Obviously, the Nazi-hunting CIC wants Muller badly, but Belinsky drops a bombshell that brings into question his own role in the investigation. Unleashing a series of stunning revelations, Kerr ( The Pale Criminal ) discloses the reasons for the Russians' interest in Linden and for the many deaths involved in Gunther's case. Rooted in historical details, driven by a powerful narrative, this atmospheric novel traces a frightening course amid a multiplicity of ironies. (Oct.)
This is Kerr's third Bernie Gunther mystery in as many years. As in the others, Gunther must solve his case against a backdrop of war-ravaged Germany. Kerr's plot is formulaic, but his main character--with his SS background and rabid hate for the Soviet occupying forces--rises above stereotypical detectives. Kerr adds to his character with a light touch of subtle, wry humor; yet he relies on contrivances to piece together the puzzle. Still, Kerr has a good premise for a detective series and a lot of promise as a writer. Despite its faults, Requiem is worth a read. Bernie Gunther might be the next Doc Adams.-- Martin J. Hudacs, Solanco H.S., Quarryville, Pa.
Praise for Philip Kerr and the Bernie Gunther Novels
"A brilliantly innovative thriller writer."--Salman Rushdie
"Philip Kerr is the only bona fide heir to Raymond
Chandler."--Salon.com "In terms of narrative, plot, pace and
characterization, Kerr's in a league with John le Carre."--The
"Every time we're afraid we've seen the last of Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr comes through with another unnerving adventure for his morally conflicted hero."--Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Just as youth is wasted on the young, history is wasted on historians. It ought to be the exclusive property of novelists--but only if they are as clever and knowledgeable as Philip Kerr."--Chicago Tribune "Kerr quantum leaps the limitations of genre fiction. Most thrillers insult your intelligence; his assault your ignorance."--Esquire "A richly satisfying mystery, one that evokes the noir sensibilities of Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald while breaking important new ground of its own."--Los Angeles Times "Part of the allure of these novels is that Bernie is such an interesting creation, a Chandleresque knight errant caught in insane historical surroundings. Bernie walks down streets so mean that nobody can stay alive and remain truly clean."--John Powers, Fresh Air (NPR) "The Bernie Gunther novels are first-class, as stylish as Chandler and as emotionally resonant as the best of Ross Macdonald."--George Pelecanos "Kerr's stylish noir writing makes every page a joy to read."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)