Knowing New York Times-best-selling author Philip Kerr's delight in subterfuge and obfuscation, listeners can rest assured that nothing is what it seems when Bernie Gunther discovers war criminals living freely in Europe.
It is 1956, and Bernie Gunther has a new name (Christoph Ganz), a clean passport, a chip on his shoulder, and a menial low-paying job in Munich. And then an old friend arrives to repay a debt. He encourages Bernie to take a job as a claims adjuster in a major German insurance company.
Which is why Bernie, as Christoph, finds himself in Athens investigating a claim by Siegfried Witzel, a brutish former Wehrmacht soldier who served in Greece during the war. Witzel's supposed losses are immense, and, even worse, they may have originally belonged to Greek Jews deported to Auschwitz. But when Bernie tries to confront Witzel, he finds that somebody else has gotten to him first. What he has now is a dead man: Both his eyes have been shot out.
Enter Lieutenant Leventis, who is working on a recent case with the same MO. Both deaths match the highly particular style of a killing 15 years prior, during the height of the war. Back then, a young Leventis suspected an SS officer whose connection to the German government made him untouchable. He's kept that name on his lips all these years, waiting for his second chance at justice.
And while a pattern like this may be Leventis' best opportunity to close an old case, there's a much more sinister truth to acknowledge: A killer has returned to Athens, or, even worse, he may never have left.
Philip Kerr pays attention to detail and is a wonderful storyteller. John Lee is an outstanding narrator. I never tire of reading or listening to Bernie Gunther's adventures. Listen to one and you will be hooked on the whole series as well.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels are a treasure of historical fiction. Bernie may be aging (tell me about it) but he is no less wry, charming, and as ethical as his times permit. Narrator John Lee rises to the challenge of bringing him to life beautifully. More, more, more please.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Disappointed. I think the author has run out of witticisms and quips. The narrator didn’t distinguish the voices enough. Sometimes it wasn’t clear who was speaking.
Philip Kerr, the author passed away just before this book was published. I'm sure it was unexpected, because Bernie was clearly on his way to another series of adventures at the end of Greeks bearing Gifts. I sure hope someone can continue the series.
Brilliantly using Bernie Gunther’s life before, during and after WW2, Kerr takes us into some the darkest crevices of Europe’s history.... and reveals some very uncomfortable truths.
As with the two or three novels that preceded this one, we discover the extent to which the Allies ignored some of the worst crimes in human history. They were largely motivated by greed, yet used the fight against communism as their excuse the allow so many senior Nazis to not only evade punishment, but to be leading participants in Germany’s post-war economic miracle.
When as a child in the 60s and 70s, my family encountered Germans on European vacations, my Dad would always say: “I wonder what they did in the War?” As it turns out, he was right: they were very likely to have been Nazis.
Adenauer was the leading architect of post-war Germany and it was he that either commuted the sentences of convicted murders, torturers, thrives and rapists.. or stopped prosecuting them. Worse still, and clearly not sated by killing 6,000,000 Jews, his intelligence services assisted and armed Israel’s enemies.
And yet this great crime of ignoring or forgiving known Nazi murderers was also carried out by many of the new governments of countries previously occupied by Germany. To pursue those of their citizens who assisted Germany’s annihilation of Jews, would have revealed the enormous numbers of them. In countries like Greece, much of the post-WW2 government were beneficiaries of the robbery and murder of it Jews.
Thank you Philip Kerr, for letting people know the extent to which so many Nazi crimes were ignored.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
His books are so well researched you feel your there in 1930-1950s. Love his books
0 of 2 people found this review helpful