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Prague Fatale: A Bernie Gunther Novel [Kindle Edition]

Philip Kerr
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

A Kirkus Reviews Top Ten Crime Novel for 2012

September 1941: Reinhard Heydrich is hosting a gathering to celebrate his appointment as Reichsprotector of Czechoslovakia. He has chosen his guests with care. All are high-ranking Party members and each is a suspect in a crime as yet to be committed: the murder of Heydrich himself.

     Indeed, a murder does occur, but the victim is a young adjutant on Heydrich’s staff, found dead in his room, the door and windows bolted from the inside. Anticipating foul play, Heydrich had already ordered Bernie Gunther to Prague. After more than a decade in Berlin's Kripo, Bernie had jumped ship as the Nazis came to power, setting himself up as a private detective. But Heydrich, who managed to subsume Kripo into his own SS operations, has forced Bernie back to police work. Now, searching for the killer, Gunther must pick through the lives of some of the Reich’s most odious officials.

     A perfect locked-room mystery. But because Philip Kerr is a master of the sleight of hand, Prague Fatale is also a tense political thriller: a complex tale of spies, partisan terrorists, vicious infighting, and a turncoat traitor situated in the upper reaches of the Third Reich.

Editorial Reviews


“The allure of these novels is that Bernie is such an interesting creation, a Chandleresque knight errant caught in insane historical surroundings.” —John Powers, Fresh Air, NPR

German private detective Bernie Gunther would have been respected by Philip Marlowe and the two of them would have enjoyed sitting down at a bar and talking. —Jonathan Ames,

"Prague Fatale is classic Philip Kerr, a first-person noir detective story worthy of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler in every regard, seamlessly transplanted to war-era Europe. Every time I finish another Gunther novel, I think, “This is as good as it gets.” Then inevitably, the next one comes along and is even better!"--Bruce Tierney,

“Bernie Gunther, the indomitable Berliner at the heart of this great series, is a man pummeled by history. . . . The great strength of Field Gray is Kerr’s overpowering portrait of the war’s horrors, [and] the glue holding it all together is Bernie himself, our battered, defiant German Everyman.”—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post

“A wily if unreliable narrator, Bernie may be forgiven for holding his cards so close to his chest as he tries to do the right thing in so many wrong places. Shades of the moral ambiguity of some of Graham Greene’s and John le Carré’s more memorable characters are here, as is the spirit of Raymond Chandler’s knight-errant, Philip Marlowe. Kerr’s ability to blend the elements of mystery and spy thriller into a satisfying package makes Field Gray the best in a long line of great entries in the series.”—Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times


"In Prague Fatale, [Bernie Gunther] is back in the early days of the Second World War, dealing with a case that combines espionage, terrorism and a locked-room mystery [. . .] Philip Kerr does his usual fine job of setting the scenes and portraying the personalities of the era.  His Nazis are note-perfect creations, as are the other characters, fictional and historical, of Second World War-era Europe, all of it flavoured by the wisecracking, tough-talking Gunther, who has been called the Sam Spade of Germany.  Kerr knows his modern German history, and is gifted at storytelling, and Gunther is a dark anti-hero for the ages."--H. J. Kirchhoff, The Globe and Mail

"[Philip Kerr] is an absolute master of the genre."--The Courier-Journal

“[Prague Fatale] is clever and compelling, proving once again that the Bernie Gunther books are, by a long chalk, the best crime series around today.” –The Daily Beast

"Inside this mesmerizing novel, set mainly in a country house outside Prague, is a tantalizing locked-door murder mystery that will thrill fans of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels."--Carol Memmott, USA Today

About the Author

Philip Kerr is the author of seven previous Bernie Gunther novels, most recently Field Gray, which was a New York Times bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011. Its predecessor, If the Dead Rise Not, was a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best Hardcover Fiction. As. P. B. Kerr, he is the author of the young adult series Children of the Lamp. Kerr lives in London.

Product Details

  • File Size: 677 KB
  • Print Length: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0072NWKEC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,949 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
115 of 127 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Do you know the Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr's Nazi-era Berlin detective? Berliners are known for their cynicism and mordant humor, but even among Berliners, Bernie Gunther stands out. Like a German Sam Spade, Bernie is a wisecracking, tough-talking hardhead who stubbornly refuses to kowtow to anybody, even when he knows it would be a lot better for his health and wellbeing.

It's 1941 and Bernie has returned to Berlin from the Eastern Front. He's relieved to have left the East, but he's not happy and is unlikely ever to be happy again. He's seen too much, done too much. As a member of the SD, the intelligence arm of the SS, he witnessed "special actions," in which Jews--men, women and children--were murdered en masse, and with he personally executed Russian POWs suspected of being agents for the Soviet NKVD intelligence service.

Now back as a detective with Berlin's Kriminalpolizei ("Kripo"), Bernie is investigating the suspicious death of a railway worker who'd come to Berlin from the Netherlands. That's his official investigation. His unofficial investigation begins when he rescues a young woman from an attack on the menacing, blacked-out streets of the capital. If there's one thing Bernie can't resist, it's a beautiful damsel in distress, and this bar girl has landed herself in some real trouble.

A man with no sympathy for the Nazi cause or the Nazis he's met, Bernie has always tried to keep away from powers that be in the Third Reich. But, not for the first time, he is collared for a special assignment by Reinhard Heydrich, head of both the Gestapo and the Kripo, and newly-appointed Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia (the current Czech Republic).
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After several novels dealing largely with the postwar, Philip Kerr brings Bernie Gunther back to his roots as the last honest cop in Nazi Germany. This installment takes place in fall 1941 and concerns Gunther's peculiar relationship with the feared Reinhard Heydrich, now the National Socialist overlord of the former Czechoslovakia, where he will later be assassinated.

Gunther is invited by Heydrich to a social gathering at Heydrich's elegantly appointed villa near Prague. Many top SS men are there. The guests enjoy luxury unknown now in Berlin, where the mobilizing of 3 million men on the Eastern front has put virtually everything in short supply. It's not just a social gathering, though: Heydrich has another agenda.

And Gunther is suddenly pressed into service when Heydrich's aide is shot to death. Gunther gets carte blanche to interview everyone there, regardless of their rank o scary reputation, in search of the killer.

Gunther's not alone in Prague. He's brought with him a bar girl from Berlin whom he recently saved from being assaulted in an incident with links to two murders and possible espionage overtones. She's smart and sexy and Gunther is falling for her. But as trouble develops in Prague, he realizes she's in danger.

The book smacks of an Agatha Christie novel, with the detective interviewing all the house guests, finding much to hide and connections between them going back decades, plus the obligatory consideration of whether the butler did it.

But no Agatha Christie novel features both detective and victim tormented by what they've recently seen in the East, where, following the invasion of the Soviet Union, genocide is under way.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Being in Prague can be damaging to your health." February 29, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The prologue of Philip Kerr's "Prague Fatale" takes place in June, 1942, following the assassination of the Reichsprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, SS Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich. His Nazi cohorts give Heydrich "the best send-off that any psychopathically murderous criminal could have hoped for," wisecracks the cynical, blunt, and bitingly sarcastic Kripo detective, Bernie Gunther. Kerr flashes back to the previous year, a bad time for the forty-three year old Gunther. After serving in Belorussia (where he witnessed and participated in acts of appalling cruelty), he contemplates putting a bullet in his brain to end the sleepless nights and bouts of guilt that torment him. His city is also in bad shape: "Berlin felt ... like the capital of a banana republic that had run out of bananas." Staples such as meat, milk, potatoes, bread, eggs, soap, and even shoes are difficult, if not impossible to come by, except for the privileged few.

Late one night, Bernie is called to the scene when someone finds the mangled remains of a man who had been hit by a train. The victim is identified as a thirty-nine year old railway worker from the Netherlands. This incident is just one piece of a larger puzzle involving espionage, murder, and treason. In addition, Heydrich invites Bernie and a large contingent of friends to his palatial country home outside Prague. There, the guests enjoy delicious food and drink and relax in their comfortable living quarters. Unfortunately, this idyll is marred when one of the visitors is mysteriously slain in a room that was locked from the inside. Heydrich orders Bernie, who is renowned for his ability to solve difficult cases, to investigate the crime and bring the perpetrator to justice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs Freshening
Published 1 day ago by noone
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good read...
As always, I enjoyed this book because I like the character, the writing, the moral dilemmas, the police work and the historic setting. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Simnsays
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If you like the others you'll like this one.
I can't put them down. Have read all .
Published 1 month ago by mark harris
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous
Just outstanding in every way. One of the best authors of the detective genre. Way better than any of the Scandanavian stuff
Published 1 month ago by Ardashir D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable!
A uniqued blend of history incorporating fiction for a first rate thriller.
Published 2 months ago by Jeffrey J. Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the series
I'm a huge fan of Bernie Gunther and have read six or seven of the books in the series. So far, this one is the best. Read more
Published 2 months ago by John A. Lefcourte
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best of the series
All of Philip Kerr's novels about Bernie Gunther are well written, but this is perhaps my favourite after the debut, due to the thorough use of historical detail and characters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Arild Tørum
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the Best of the Series
If you're a fan of this series, this may be the best one yet. In-fact, if I had to give one of the the Bernie Gunther books to a newbie to get them interested - I'd choose this... Read more
Published 3 months ago by MJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
outstanding book. It's hard to believe that the writer is not German
Published 4 months ago by V. Tipton
4.0 out of 5 stars Characters are based on real, psychopaths. Well written ...
Characters are based on real, psychopaths. Well written and the denouement is a total surprise/ I would gie it a 5 except that the characters are so revolting. Not Kerr's doing. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lisbeth
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More About the Author

Philip Kerr was born in Edinburgh in 1956 and read Law at university. Having learned nothing as an undergraduate lawyer he stayed on as postgraduate and read Law and Philosophy, most of this German, which was when and where he first became interested in German twentieth century history and, in particular, the Nazis. Following university he worked as a copywriter at a number of advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, during which time he wrote no advertising slogans of any note. He spent most of his time in advertising researching an idea he'd had for a novel about a Berlin-based policeman, in 1936. And following several trips to Germany - and a great deal of walking around the mean streets of Berlin - his first novel, March Violets, was published in 1989 and introduced the world to Bernie Gunther.
"I loved Berlin before the wall came down; I'm pretty fond of the place now, but back then it was perhaps the most atmospheric city on earth. Having a dark, not to say black sense of humour myself, it's always been somewhere I feel very comfortable."
Having left advertising behind, Kerr worked for the London Evening Standard and produced two more novels featuring Bernie Gunther: The Pale Criminal (1990) and A German Requiem (1991). These were published as an omnibus edition, Berlin Noir in 1992.
Thinking he might like to write something else, he did and published a host of other novels before returning to Bernie Gunther after a gap of sixteen years, with The One from the Other (2007).
Says Kerr, "I never intended to leave such a large gap between Book 3 and Book 4; a lot of other stuff just got in the way; and I feel kind of lucky that people are still as interested in this guy as I am. If anything I'm more interested in him now than I was back in the day."
Two more novels followed, A Quiet Flame (2008) and If the Dead Rise Not (2009).
Field Gray (2010) is perhaps his most ambitious novel yet that features Bernie Gunther. Crossing a span of more than twenty years, it takes Bernie from Cuba, to New York, to Landsberg Prison in Germany where he vividly describes a story that covers his time in Paris, Toulouse, Minsk, Konigsberg, and his life as a German POW in Soviet Russia.
Kerr is already working on an eighth title in the series.
"I don't know how long I can keep doing them; I'll probably write one too many; but I don't feel that's happened yet."
As P.B.Kerr Kerr is also the author of the popular 'Children of the Lamp' series.

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