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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 (470 )
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4.2 (253 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 05-10-13
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 05-10-13 Member Since 2005

    danmc

    HELPFUL VOTES
    719
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    "Love the Genre, Overall Good, Story a little flat"

    I love books in the detective novel genre, and really enjoy stories written about the WWII era. This one takes place in pre-WWII Nazi Germany and introduces the protagonist Bernie Gunther as an Ex Cop, "Good Guy" detective.

    Overall the story is a little flat and predictable, but the fictional tale around actual historical characters is interesting from a lot of angles. I like the author's writing style and his candid depiction of the real life brutality and violence that existed in 1936 Berlin, and I do look forward to continuing the series.

    The narrator John Lee is one of the best in the business and is terrific in this one!

    Overall Recommended, especially if you like the genre and stories about this era.

    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 2003
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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 BALTIMORE, MD, United States 09-18-12
    Barbara BALTIMORE, MD, United States 09-18-12 Member Since 2011
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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
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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
  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 05-11-14
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 05-11-14 Member Since 2011

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Frederick WINTER PARK, FLORIDA, United States 03-03-14
    Frederick WINTER PARK, FLORIDA, United States 03-03-14 Member Since 2011
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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
  •  
    Kismet Northeast PA United States 09-02-13
    Kismet Northeast PA United States 09-02-13 Member Since 2002
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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    No Suspicion Curry County, OR United States 06-19-13
    No Suspicion Curry County, OR United States 06-19-13 Member Since 2012

    I love to read

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Raymond Chandler's private eye in Nazi Germany"

    The "schtick" here is placing the hard-boiled detective in the midst of SS officers, concentration camps, etc. while trying to solve a double murder. And, it gets better and better as it goes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. F. Plimpton Princeton, NJ 03-18-13
    J. F. Plimpton Princeton, NJ 03-18-13

    avid reader

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    "A fun, engaging, suspenseful and historically into"
    Where does March Violets rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top 25%


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Gunther. He is irreverent, someone you can relate to emotionally, given his circumstances and the times he lived in.He is not afraid of himself.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Too many to select one specifically.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Against all odds, a mystery is solved.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. A. Jackson la florida 03-11-13
    R. A. Jackson la florida 03-11-13 Member Since 2011

    What

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Gunther Novel"
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    The book started out kind of even/even as far as what I expected. I puzzled out the guilt pretty quickly as far as the story went, however, there were twists I did not see coming at all. As the story developed, it simply just kept getting better. Same with the settings.

    As in my last review of a Gunther novel, the reader seemed terse and brisk. In this tale it was less of a problem for me though. It fit very well with the story line. Again, Kerr has made a historical setting come alive in his narrative. Many of the characters were not as developed or as interesting as those in "A German Requiem" and the period does not interest me as much. But the story is as great, if not better than the latter. So far, Kerr's Gunther novels have been worth the money and the time spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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