September 1941: Bernie Gunther's old boss, Reinhard Heydrich, orders him to Prague to stay at his country house. When a body is found in a room locked from the inside, the spotlight falls on Bernie to solve the mystery. If he fails to do so, he knows what is at stake - the reputation of Heydrich, a man who does not like to lose face. So begins the most diplomatically sensitive case of Bernie Gunther's police career.
©2011 Philip Kerr (P)2012 Recorded Books LLC
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"Early Bernie Gunther"
For this book we return to the war years with the occupation of Prague. A less cynical younger Bernie is sent to Prague and in many ways this is a more "traditional" detective story with a dead body in a locked room but the delicacy of detective work and Nazi ruthlessness are common to the earlier books. Good but not the best Bernie Gunther.
It is a pity that Jeff Harding was replaced by Paul Hecht, both were good narrators but neither German and for a cynical "noir" detective I found Harding more convincing.
I have thoroughly enjoyed (perhaps not the right word) this series. The question mark is about whether one can enjoy such an horrific tale. The whole series moves through the rise of Nazism in the 30s, the War period and then the early 50s. Bernie is a likeable, hard-working, hard-living cop who hates Nazism but finds himself involved despite himself.
This particular book differs from the others in that it sticks to one time period, 1941.
Bernie is taken off his investigation into the death of a Dutch railwayman in Berlin to stay with Heydrich in Prague. His involvement with Heydrich is again a theme through the books, and is one of the causes of his problems with the Amis in post war Germany. He hates the man for who he is and what he does, but can't stand out against him. We know what happens to Heydrich, and the terrible revenge that is taken on Lidice, as does Bernie, but he can't alter the way he acted then.
This is one of the more recent books, so if you have followed the series you know some of what happens to him in the future. But are we just driven by events or can we alter them? Could he have made different choices? Bernie tries to stay out of the worst, but does knowing about it and not taking part make you any better?
This book is read by Paul Hecht. Some of the others by Jeff Harding. When you come across a different reader in a series it can cause difficulties, but although different, both readers work for this author and are excellent.
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