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Prague Fatale (Bernie Gunther) Hardcover – April 17, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Bernie Gunther (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: A Marian Wood Book/Putnam; 1 edition (April 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780399159022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159022
  • ASIN: 0399159029
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Once again Kerr has written an outstanding work of historical fiction.
Dennis Frampton
I found the book to be well written, with good character development, and the story was embedded well in historical fact.
Amazon Customer
And to cap it off the book has one of the best first pages I have ever read.
Paul Rooney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Maine Colonial TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 22, 2012
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 By Daniel Berger VINE VOICE on February 25, 2012
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 By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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

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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