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A German Requiem

(The third book in the Bernie Gunther series)
A novel by

Publisher's Weekly
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.)

Library Journal
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.

Kirkus Reviews
Bernhard Gunther, who's aged over ten years since his first appearance in 1936 Berlin—he's now lived through a hellish war and has settled down warily with a wife who's cuckolding him with one of the occupying Americans—is cast as a less witty but equally mordant detective in this postwar tale of murder and political intrigue. Persuaded by a Russian officer to try to clear his unscrupulous old comrade Emil Becker of the murder of an American officer in Vienna, Bernie follows a trail from Becker to resurrected Gestapo chief Heinrich Mller—all the while sinking into a Graham Greeneish landscape of casually willing women, men willing to sell anything to survive and exonerate themselves, and occupation forces, both Soviet and American, who alternate between hunting down Nazis and recruiting them into their own intelligence forces. As in March Violets and The Pale Criminal, Bernie's widening investigations steadily deepen the sense of political evil—except that now, unsettlingly, the Nazis have no monopoly on institutional terror. Though not as elaborately horrifying as Bernie's first two adventures, this one, lacking the Reich as automatic villain, is even bleaker—and, in its depressing way, even richer in ironic insight.

Genre: Historical Mystery

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