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March Violets | [Philip Kerr]

March Violets

Hailed by Salman Rushdie as a "brilliantly innovative thriller-writer", Philip Kerr is the creator of taut, gripping, noir-tinged mysteries set in Nazi-era Berlin that are nothing short of spellbinding. The first book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, March Violets introduces listeners to Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he'd seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin - until he turned freelance and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture.
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Publisher's Summary

Hailed by Salman Rushdie as a "brilliantly innovative thriller-writer", Philip Kerr is the creator of taut, gripping, noir-tinged mysteries set in Nazi-era Berlin that are nothing short of spellbinding. The first book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, March Violets introduces listeners to Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he'd seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin - until he turned freelance, and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of the Nazi subculture. Hard-hitting, fast-paced, and richly detailed, March Violets is noir listening at its best and blackest.

©2008 Philip Kerr; (P)2008 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"The brutality and corruption of Nazi Germany serve as the backdrop for this impressive debut mystery novel. Scottish-born Kerr re-creates the period accurately and with verve; the novel reeks of the sordid decade that saw Hitler's rise to power." (Publishers Weekly)
"Echoes of Raymond Chandler, but better on his vivid and well-researched detail than the master." (Evening Standard, London)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (550 )
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4.2 (328 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joyce Fort Mill, SC, United States 09-09-13
    Joyce Fort Mill, SC, United States 09-09-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best Series that Audible has to offer."
    Where does March Violets rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Excellent writing with great delivery. I can't want until next month to get the third edition. You will not be disappointed.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of March Violets?

    Historical Fiction at it's finest.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I will be if he keeps on delivering this quality of work


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kismet 09-02-13
    Kismet 09-02-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Very disappointing"

    I was eager to find a series which told suspenseful stories beautifully written about compelling characters in an historically accurate way. I love the work of Eric Ambler, and also enjoy Alan Furst, who in my mind is less consistently good. Philip Kerr's work came as a huge disappointment in every respect. The characters are so unlikeable I found it hard to care what happened in the story. The historical atmosphere created here is very thin; the language is vulgar, the story contrived. Ambler or Furst, this is not.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hannes cupertino, CA, United States 11-21-12
    Hannes cupertino, CA, United States 11-21-12 Member Since 2011
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    "definite plus/minus situation"
    Would you listen to March Violets again? Why?

    fairly clever plot, enjoyed the historical evocation of an era, one of my favorite narrators


    What other book might you compare March Violets to and why?

    the second in the series, already listening


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    yes...about the same. at least he doesn't try to fake a german accent


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    ridiculous question


    Any additional comments?

    the corny tough-guy dialogue and overblown similes became quite tiresome. also, the sex scenes....could definitely do without...i'm not a prude but they detract and are completely pointless.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 09-18-12
    Barbara 09-18-12
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    "disappointing. formulaic"
    What disappointed you about March Violets?

    this was a noir detective yarn, set in pre-war Germany. I was hoping for something like Alan Furst, but on the contrary, the characters were cutouts, the villains predictable, and the narration cringeworthy. Gratuitous violence, too.


    Would you be willing to try another one of John Lee’s performances?

    No


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ivan Berger Laguna Niguel, CA, US 07-30-10
    Ivan Berger Laguna Niguel, CA, US 07-30-10 Member Since 2014
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    "Kept me from dozing off in bed"

    Enjoy listening to audible books just before going to bed. This one kept me up until wee hours of night. Really exiting and great understanding of Nazi Germany in 1930s. Will certainly buy the remaining 3 books.
    Ivan

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayle 04-14-15
    Gayle 04-14-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Bit hard to follow and care until the second half"
    Any additional comments?

    Mind wandered more than usual. I like Deighton and Ambler..Silva and LeCarre. This was simple character dev but hard to follow. Too many characters and was not sure who was who. Maybe the book was too short at 9hrs. Found it hard to care about and like John Lee reading Follett better. Maybe it just takes some getting used to as by the end, I thought I might try the second book. Love the era/genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daddy Shawn La Verne, CA, United States 02-16-15
    Daddy Shawn La Verne, CA, United States 02-16-15 Member Since 2011

    Writer & daddy.

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    "A great historical series based on WWII"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I think this series would appeal to readers of all shapes and sizes.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical elements flow so well. Great mystery. Great characterizations.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, more in this particular series. I really love his voice, especially for this Kerr series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meeno 01-29-15
    Meeno 01-29-15 Member Since 2007
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    "One dose of Bernie Gunther and you're hooked."

    And if you dig history, this one's steeped in deftly tossed in asides. I was just in Berlin and it was great to follow Bernie with a map through neighborhoods I had familiarity with now. Berlin is such a tinderbox of historical allusion and Kerr does a terrific job of mining those diamonds, "bells", for this series. And anything that John Lee reads goes from good to engrossing with those first gravely syllables.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 05-11-14
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 05-11-14 Member Since 2015

    Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!

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    "Gritty. Graphic. Gripping"

    A gritty, noir thriller, and the first of what promises to be a gripping series. Bernie Gunther has left the police force and struck out on his own as a private investigator. What makes his work interesting is the time and place: Berlin, 1936 when the Nazis are in full power and preparing for the Summer Olympics. His services are more or less forcibly retained by a millionaire industrialist who has just lost his beloved daughter and her husband to a fire in their home. Both bodies are found in their bed, and the safe containing a priceless diamond necklace has been broken into. Was this a straightforward murder and burglary or is there more than first meets the eye? As Gunther investigates local jewelry vendors, he can't help but be horrified at how the Jews are being taken advantage of, with glaring anti-semitism at it's peak. Desperate to sell their valuables to get away from the repressive measures taken against them (most professions are banned to them, and everyone is quick to add "German" as a preface to their profession on their business cards to indicate they are of good Arian stock), they are forced to sell their belongings well below the market price. Trying to find out anything in this repressive system is bound to bring about all sorts of complications, and when Bernie's widowed secretary is too scared to return to work after being bullied by Nazi police officers, he's delighted to find a beautiful and single replacement for her in ex-journalist Ilse, but their romantic involvement is bound to render him that much more vulnerable. “March violets” was a term used for late-comers to the Nazi Party after the passage of Hitler's Enabling Act which rendered him a dictator on March 23, 1933. In May, the Nazi Party froze membership, and those with the lowest membership numbers were given preferential treatment, though everyone was eager to be seen as a Hitler supporter. Not so Bernie, who has Jewish clients and doesn't care for the views of a party he never chose to support, which is dangerous in and of itself because dissidents are daily being sent to concentration camps, where few are expected to survive the harsh conditions. I loved every bit of this private dick story set during a very dramatic period in history. Those who've enjoyed the more recent John Russell series by David Downing are bound to find this precursor highly satisfying. I'm very much looking forward to the next book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fredrick L. 03-03-14
    Fredrick L. 03-03-14
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    "Exceptionally entertaining reading"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Plot had many surprising twists. Having traveled personally to many of the areas mentioned, you can tell the writer does his homework.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Mr. Lee is a very good reader, except he sometimes mispronounces German words for locations, people's names, etc. As long as you are setting your books in German locales, you should use German - and not Americanized - pronunciations.


    Any additional comments?

    Philip Kerr is a darned good mystery writer. John Lee is a very good reader (just needs to work on his pronunciations of German words)!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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