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 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.
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.
Report Inappropriate Content