From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Both newcomers and established fans will appreciate Kerr's outstanding sixth Bernie Gunther novel (after A Quiet Flame
), as it fills in much of the German PI's backstory. By 1934, as the Nazis tighten their grip on power, Gunther has left the Berlin police force for a job as a hotel detective. His routine inquiry into the theft of a Chinese box from a guest, a German-American from New York, becomes more complex after he learns that the identical objet d'art was reported stolen just the previous day by an official from the Asiatic Museum. The case proves to be connected with German efforts to forestall an American boycott of the 1936 Olympics, and provides ample opportunities for Gunther, whom Sam Spade would have found a kindred spirit, to make difficult moral choices. Once again the author smoothly integrates a noir crime plot with an authentic historical background. Note that the action precedes the events recounted in the series' debut, March Violets
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Favorably compared to the World War II espionage novels of Alan Furst (The Foreign Correspondent
, The Spies of Warsaw
) and the work of hard-boiled legends Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Philip Kerr reprises the Bernie Gunther saga with true fidelity to his detective's noir roots. The Berlin Noir novels (March Violets
, The Pale Criminal
, A German Requiem
), a trilogy published nearly 20 years ago, are known in crime circles but woefully neglected by mainstream readers. With If the Dead Rise Not
--and despite the unevenness of the book's two parts, which critics felt slightly impaired the novel as a whole--Kerr continues to develop Gunther's character in one of the great historical crime series.