Prussian Blue

Prussian Blue

Book - 2017
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The French Riviera, 1956: The invitation to dinner was not unexpected, though neither was it welcome. Erich Mielke, deputy head of the East German Stasi, has turned up in Nice, and he's not on holiday. An old and dangerous adversary, Mielke is calling in a debt. He intends that Bernie go to London and, with the vial of Thallium he now pushes across the table, poison a female agent they both have had dealings with. But chance intervenes in the form of Friedrich Korsch, an old Kripo comrade now working for Stasi and probably there to make sure Bernie gets the job done. Bernie bolts for the German border. Traveling by night, holed up during the day, Bernie has plenty of down time to recall the last time Korsch and he worked together. It was the summer of 1939: At Hitler's mountaintop retreat in Obersalzberg, the body of a low-level bureaucrat has been found murdered. Bernie and Korsch are selected to run the case. They have one week to solve the murder--Hitler is due back then to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. Lucky Bernie: it's his reward for being Kripo's best homicide detective. He knows what a box he's in: millions have been spent to secure Obersalzberg. It would be a disaster if Hitler were to discover a shocking murder had been committed on the terrace of his own home. But the mountaintop is home to an elite Nazi community. It would be an even bigger disaster for Bernie if one of them was the murderer. 1939 and 1956: two different eras, seventeen years apart. And yet, not really apart, as the stunning climax will show when the two converge explosively.
Publisher: New York, New York :, G.P. Putnam's Sons,, 2017
Edition: US edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780399177057
Characteristics: 528 pages ; 24 cm


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Dec 18, 2018

One of the best, if not the best of the Gunther books. The style is great, the irony is well placed. A great mix of fact and fiction. Well researched.

Dec 11, 2017

Phillip Kerr is at his height in this installment in the Bernie Gunther series. We have some follow-up to a prior plotline with the Cambridge spy ring, but the centerpiece is solving a murder at Berchtesgarden, on "Hitler's mountain" itself, a few months before the invasion of Poland. Kerr's trademark attention to historical detail, and hard-boiled period similes ("a sausage as big as the Sudetenland"!) are very much in evidence, as well as the cynicism about life in National Socialist Germany. This past weaves into a "present" Cold War plot, both of which build to explosive subterranean climaxes.

Complex plot with the back and forth in time. I liked that less about this novel but otherwise an excellent story that evokes compassion and insight into ordinary people living in Nazi Germany.

Jul 28, 2017

Basically seems to be a vehicle for explaining what the German Austrian people thought of the Nazi leaders, and their corruption in the Alps. (which by the way, is some of the most beautiful territory you will ever see). (i did live in that region for a few years). Kind of long winded, but the author was starting to faulter(?) with his Bernie series , but trained hard for this one.

Jun 22, 2017

It's 1956, and Bernie Gunther is on the run. Ordered by Erich Mielke, head of the East German Stasi, to murder an acquaintance of his by thallium poisoning, he finds his conscience is stronger than his desire not to be murdered in turn. Now he must stay one step ahead of Mielke's retribution. The man Mielke has sent to hunt him is an ex-Kripo colleague. As Bernie pushes towards Germany, he recalls their last case together – in 1939, summoned by Reinhard Heydrich to the Berghof: Hitler's mountain home in Obersalzberg. A low-level German bureaucrat had been murdered, and the Reichstag deputy Martin Bormann, the man in charge of overseeing renovations to the Berghof, wants the case solved quickly. If the Fuhrer were ever to find out that his own house had been the scene of a recent murder, the consequences wouldn't bear thinking about. So begins perhaps the strangest of Bernie Gunther's adventures, for although several countries and seventeen years separate the murder at the Berghof from his current predicament, Bernie will find there is some unfinished business awaiting him in Germany.

This was very good. It may be the best in the Bernie Gunther series. In fact, I think it is.

Apr 30, 2017

One of the best in the series so far after a rare disappointment with the last year's entry.

In the contemporary world of mystery and historical crime fiction where authors write novels primarily hoping for a TV/Movie deal and therefore incorporate nothing more than a script thinly disguised as a novel, Philip Kerr stands out with impeccable historical research, attention to detail that immerses the reader in the period/locale/characters as good novels do and entertaining dialogue that just wouldn't translate well into TV/Big Screen (the typical length of each character's uttering in a dialogue alone would make scriptwriters consider early retirement).

The protagonist detective is a Berliner at odds with Nazi Germany while employed in it and swept along with the political rapids of the time barely in control of his own destiny. Combine that with self-deprecation and witty thoughts as only British authors can do, and you have a sympathetic and entertaining character.

Going back to a previously used formula of two intertwined tales from pre- and post-war periods, the novel is great storytelling using real characters from Nazi Germany. For people prone to making superficial comparisons with current US leadership, there may be some wincing moments from perceived parallels while making a point that it isn't just a charismatic, unprincipled and easily influenced "leader" that can be dangerous but the many opportunists surrounding him that exploit such "leadership" for their own agenda and ends.

The conclusions to the two tales is a bit predictable and anti-climactic. The gravity of the darkness of the period understandably leads to a philosophical soliloquy to end the rather hefty book but it is the journey that makes the time spent worth it.

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