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The One from the Other: A Bernie Gunther Novel Paperback – February 3, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 Wright
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is cunning - there are no red herrings, the plot relatively straight-forward, the clues obvious for those paying close attention. Sadly for Gunther, he does not and is beat up, mutilated and framed as a result. How he gets out of the situation makes for great reading. As with the previous books in the series, Kerr shows the complexities of Germany in the 40s, not only in terms of de-Nazification, but also the grey areas that the emerging Cold War created. Gunther reflects, "A lot of people - most -people, including Kirsten - had refused to believe any of the evidence presented at the (Nueremberg) trial. Kirsten had said that the photographs and documents presented ... had been faked in a grand sham to humiliate Germany even more. I myslef had found it all hard to comprehend - that we, perhaps the most civilized nation on earth - could have done such appalling things. ... Hard to comprehend, yes. BUt not so hard to believe ..."
Apparently for some the writing was cliched; I found it vintage noir, and well in keeping with both the tenor and scope of the genre and time period. I was a bit frustrated that Gunther - a hard-boiled, clever and experienced detective - would be so gullible and clueless as the story unfolded. That it is necessecary to advance the plot I understand, but deduct a star for it nonetheless. _The One from the Other_ ends in a cliff-hanger of sorts, but I am such a fan of both the protragonist and the writing style of Kerr that I will be certain to follow the story line. A recommended series.
Lastly, I'm getting tired of Kerr's bias against the Americans. I have no illusions about American behavior in occupied Germany, especially that of the CIA, then, and afterward, however Kerr has the CIA hounding Gunther to the ends of the earth for little reason. Especially so in this book. While Gunther is forthright in his hate for the Nazis, Communists, French Intelligence and British, for good reasons, we get no examples of British nasty behavior, as we do of American and French and, of course, Communist and Nazi.
Further, he gets American details wrong. In another book he calls a Chevrolet Convertible a "Styliner", when it was called" Styleliner" and Gunther refers to the convertible top as a "hood" a British term which Gunther being around Americans wouldn't have used.
I'm unlikely to read anymore Gunther series books as this, "A Quiet Flame", "If the Dead Rise Not" and "Field Grey", all covering post-WW2 Gunther's adventures, suffer from the same problems of character and plot.