From Publishers Weekly
Set in 1949, Kerr's excellent fourth novel to feature Bernhard Gunther (after 1991's German Requiem
) finds the erstwhile PI managing a failing hotel about a mile from the site of the Dachau concentration camp. After the death of his wife, Kirsten, in a mental hospital, he calls it quits and opens a private detective agency. A series of missing-Nazi cases sets Bernie on a course that becomes increasingly complicated until he's beaten to a near pulp, had his little finger chopped off and is sent to a mysterious private estate to recover. There he's drawn into a nightmare involving the American occupation and the CIA, and soon his life hangs in the balance. Kerr's stylish noir writing makes every page a joy to read ("The little mouth tightened into a smile that was all lips and no teeth, like a newly stitched scar"). Perfectly plotted, the book builds to a satisfying conclusion. (Sept.)
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After a 15-year hiatus during which he's taken readers from the Himalayan snows to Enlightenment England, Kerr returns to the war-torn Germany of his Berlin Noir trilogy with a fourth case for sardonic detective Bernhard Gunther. It is 1949, and fed up with trying to run a hotel next door to Dachau, Gunther hangs out his shingle and in walks a tall blond with marriage on her mind and a missing husband on her conscience. Gunther sets out to track down the renowned sadist, one of many SS spiders able to slip through the Allies' dragnet and find refuge in the Americas. Of course, nothing is quite as it seems, and our knight's detached weltschmerz gets a fresh coat of tarnish. As with his earlier Gunther books, Kerr follows Raymond Chandler's playbook closely, adapting his trademark metaphors with all the subtlety of a goose-step and the restraint of Hermann Goring at a knackwurst-eating contest, to say nothing of the relish. Still, the knockabout action should please most fans of classic hard-boiled mystery and historical espionage. David WrightCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved