Philip Kerr

Prussian Blue

""Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels are a high benchmark in noir fiction..." "


October 1956, and a displaced Bernie Gunther is working in a hotel at the end of the season on the French Riviera and dreaming of winter in Berlin. So a letter from his estranged wife, inviting him to join her for dinner at one of Nice's finest eateries, comes as a welcome surprise… Until he steps inside the dining room and finds himself face-to-face with the Stasi instead. General Erich Mielke has come from out of Gunther's past with an offer he doesn't think the former Kripo Kriminalinspektor can possibly refuse.

However, Gunther has never found taking orders easy – even after he's been halfway lynched by Mielke's adjutant Friedrich Korsch, another former Berlin cop colleague now in the employ of the GDR's secret police. A lifetime ago, just before the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Gunther and Korsch had been summoned to the Bavarian Alps, to solve a murder that appeared to threaten Adolph Hitler's security in the heart of his summer hideaway, The Berghof. Now, as Gunther gives Korsch the slip and goes on the run across the French countryside, the sinister events of those days come back to haunt him…

Purchase the book from Amazon.


Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels are a high benchmark in noir fiction that blend clandestine historical fact with an epic imagination to render perhaps the darkest of all 20th Century stories – the rise of the Nazis, the horrors of WWII and, in these later, post-War installments, what happened to all those who escaped punishment. Kerr's task in conjuring the past so vividly is helped immeasurably by Gunther, who seems to have been fashioned from equal parts Philip Marlowe and Martin Heidegger (the boozy beggar). Only a hard-bitten, existentialist philosopher detective with a liver as strong as his sense of humour could survive the goings-over Gunther has received in his career thus far – and in 'Prussian Blue', he's receiving a two-way kicking from both his past and present. Having cleverly set up Korsch as the conduit to these parallel stories, the details of the 1939 case unfurl. At the insistence of his then boss, General Heyditch, Gunther is sent to find a killer – and, more importantly from the scheming Heyditch's point of view, gather incriminating dirt on Hitler's deputy chief of staff, the monstrous Martin Boormann. What Gunther discovers in Bavaria is a web of corruption more labyrinthine than the salt mine tunnels that run beneath the Halls of the Mountain Führer, as all those who hope to benefit from the seismic events about to unfold across the globe make their grabs for riches and power. That the person who helped Gunter with the case is now working for an even better organized bunch of government-sponsored thugs in the latest incarnation of authoritarian Germany is an irony not lost on the fugitive. “If you live long enough,” Gunter ruminates, “you realise that everything that happens to us is all the same illusion, the same shit, the same celestial joke.” 'Prussian Blue' is an icy warning from history made colder still by the conscious links Kerr makes between those days and our own interesting times.

Reviewed By: