Philip Kerr’s thrilling mystery series starring private detective Bernie Gunther has been hailed as “one of the great historical crime series” by Bookmarks Magazine. Set in 1941, Prague Fatale follows Gunther as he investigates a murder at the country estate of his old boss, SD member Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich was throwing a dinner party for senior German officers when the victim was discovered - the body mysteriously locked in a room from the inside.
©2011 Philip Kerr (P)2012 Recorded Books, LLC
All the books I've read in The Bernie Gunther series have compelling storylines and envelope you in the world and era in which they take place, and this book is no exception. I finished it within two days and was wishing for more by the end.
Unlike some of the recent books in the series, this one takes place entirely within the same period of time and setting, Berlin and Prague during WWII. Without giving too much away, it's another multifaceted mystery that begins in Berlin with Gunther working as an SD investigator after being recalled from the Russian Front. Eventually, he's called to Prague and with the blanket authority of Heidrich, ends up investigating a mass-murdering list of SD and SS officers, all of which are suspects in the murder of a fellow officer. There are some poignant moments and the irony of investigating each of these men for a single murder when they're responsible for so many other deaths already, is well-imprinted on the story.
As narrator, Paul Hecht, is adequate, but after listening to the fantastic work of John Lee in the first books in this series, it's difficult to equate him with Bernie Gunther. He doesn't provide the same kind of intonation or accents to the story. While he doesn't really add to the depth of book, he's at least an adequate narrator that does not distract from the story or make the book difficult to listen to, (which compared to some narrators, is a valuable quality in and of itself).
I've read nearly all Bernie Gunther series and this one, so far, is my favorite. I read it out of chronological order which posed no problems. As usual, Philip Kerr does a fantastic job of weaving a "can't put it down" book with research which paints a history lesson without a yawn. Loved it! Don't miss this one.
Yes ... a friend who has the patience to let a story unfold slowly, willing to await the character development and plot twists. And here's an insight into Germany under the Nazis.
This book has it all, and, though I thought it would feel a bit creepy reading about the adventures of a police detective in 1941 Berlin (and it does), still, the plot is gripping and the story held my interest. The characters are all complicated; not pleasant, but definitely not boring. None is really likeable, but I've learned to like Bernie Gunther nonetheless. He tries to do the right thing, but has a lot for an alcohol-muddled brain to handle. This is only the second book I've had from this series, but I think I've become a fan.
I've loved all the books in the Bernie Gunther series and this is no exception. Great plot, believable characters and events. A good look at a part of the war we never studied, and from a perspective few authors give. Start at the beginning and enjoy many hours of great noir detectiving along with a look inside the Third Reich from a German who had to live in a Nazi world.
I have read or listened to all of Philip Kerrs books--his stand alone books as well as the Bernie Gunther series. Typically I try to avoid books in series since the authors of such series seem to become tired of their own character as time goes on.
The Bernie Gunther character was initially so appealing that I stuck with this series and eagerly anticipated each new book. However the most recent books in this series, PRAGUE FATALE and FIELD GREY, were significant disappointments. It feels like Mr. Kerr is just churning out the series and no longer loves his character enough to continue to develop him in an interesting manner.
Also, with regards to narration, Paul Hecht's narraration doesn't hold a candle to John Lee's narration of the earlier books. But of course not many narrators can compare to John Lee.
But we're not surprised when he turns it right on its head. He's such a deft spinner of the tale. As ever, a ride with Bernie, even through the lovely Prague countryside in an open car, is a gripping adventure. More importantly, Kerr paints a human picture of Nazi's so we might remember that horrors on earth are not perpetrated by monsters, but by mere men and women who's abuse of power has bled them of humanity. Bathed on a water board, the accusing finger swings squarely back at 21st Century Americans.
Philip Kerr knows how to tell a story, period. The fact that they are set in Germany during WW2 adds to their mystery. Having traveled the country quite a number of times, it is interesting to "revisit" many places. The narrator, too, does a very good job of pronouncing the German names, locations, etc, as they should be heard. I normally like to alternate between listening to a fiction, then a non-fiction book. Lately, though, I keep on listening to another Bernie Gunther novel. The whole series is very interesting and entertaining.
I have no idea why Kerr changed his formula on this book. The formula that he ended up perfecting by the time he got to "Field Gray" was to flash back and forth between Bernie's pre-war and war-time experience and Bernie's current day post-war life.
Kerr always linked the stories, e.g., investigated someone from his former life, ran into an old acquaintance, etc. They were a bit hard to follow at first, but for me Kerr became a much better writer as he progressed through the books.
Field Grey, for example was my favorite book, and this one digressed. I heard an interview Kerr gave saying that changing the style was interesting to him and sticking to the same old formula made it stale for him. I wish he would have stayed stale.
Overall I recommend the series, but this book is average at best, and sometimes a beating.
What a shame these books aren't read by Jeff Harding anymore. Paul Hecht reads them so badly that my suspension of disbelief is sorely tested. Paul reads a sentence like he's falling down stairs with a machine gun totally destroying the sense of the narrative with hiccups because he hasn't read ahead.
How could the "director" possibly have let this go?
Kerr does it again. This is N0. 8 in the Bernie Gunther series.Gunther is a a detective, very much the Philip Marlow of the Weimar Republic and during the regime of Hitler. Paul Hecht hits the right notes on the narative. A welcom addition to the series, set in Berlin and Prague with a cast of historical charactors and a view of Germany in the 30's and 40's that feels real. This book - No. * is slightly different from the others - Kerr takes his already well-developed series protagonist Bernie Gunther and inserts him into a "classical" locked-room mystery setup, an almost Agatha Christie set up, but it works.
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