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Prague Fatale

Prague Fatale

Scritto da Philip Kerr

Narrato da Paul Hecht


Prague Fatale

Scritto da Philip Kerr

Narrato da Paul Hecht

valutazioni:
4/5 (41 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
13 ore
Pubblicato:
Apr 6, 2012
ISBN:
9781464036002
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

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.
Pubblicato:
Apr 6, 2012
ISBN:
9781464036002
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Philip Kerr is the bestselling author of the Bernie Gunther thrillers, for which he received a CWA Dagger Award. Born in Edinburgh, he now lives in London. He is a life-long supporter of Arsenal. Follow @theScottManson on Twitter.

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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    Bernie and a gorgeous woman making love while Bernie tries to solve the crime du jour. How does Kerr keep coming with all these different back drops to complicate Bernie's life? But you know what, the mystery, especially the solution, makes for some great reading. The setting seems real, with all the complications staying out trouble in Nazi Germany. And Bernie seems to love walking that thin line between acceptable behavior and the firing squad. Yep, some great reading!
  • (4/5)
    I lost most of my library a couple of years ago in a fire. Now, I'm buying and rereading some of my all-time favorite authors and Philip Kerr is certainly up there at the top of my list. His Bernie Gunther series follows the life of a cop through the mid 1930's to the early 1950's, as he changes jobs, ( private eye,S.S.investigator, hotel dick) and strives simply to survive the awful times of Fascist insanity that are beyond his control. He's tough, clever, and a true smart-ass, which I enjoy very much. Kerr, has made these much more than crime novels, he creates an atmosphere of the times that comes across quite honestly.
  • (4/5)
    No the series hasn't lost its steam, which impressive on book 8. Kerr took a long hiatus from Bernie Gunther between books 3 and 4 and that may contribute to the series' continued vitality.Still too much cliche-noir wisecracking, and Kerr seems to have lost the ability to make the Nazis truly menacing and noisome. Otherwise still a solid mystery series with an interesting lead facing real dilemmas.It is perhaps this increasing normalization of the Nazis that will/should end the series. In earlier books the Nazis were fearsome and perverse. As we spend more and more time with them, they become alarmingly normal-seeming. There's definitely a way to use this effect positively, but I think it'll be increasingly difficult for Kerr to avoid having us actually accepting these horrible people.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this very much but at times felt a slightly guilty pleasure in my enjoyment of the almost Agatha-Christie-like countryhouse murder. It didn't feel right when the prospective 'victims' were such real and evil people, rather than purely fictional people.
  • (4/5)
    Bernie Gunther is quite the character...not very happy in Berlin where he is currently living and working. He gets assigned to work for a man he despises, Reinhard Heydrich as his bodyguard. trouble follows and Bernie must untangle himself and others from Heydrich and try and find a way to live with himself in this new Germany... The way Philip talks about Germany makes you feel as though you are right there with him, he gives Bernie language unlike any I have ever read before...perfect for the time period. I came into this series on the 8th Bernie Gunther book, I typicaly try to read a series in order but having said that I don't feel like I lost anything. I think I was able to understand the book with out having read the previous ones.
  • (5/5)
    This book definitely deserves the "noir" designation of the "Berlin Noir" series name. It's not a good time in Berlin, it's not a good time on the Eastern front, and it's not a good time in Prague. Things are horribly bad for the Jews, and dark hints are everywhere as to how much worse they're going to get. Rohm is dead, and Paragraph 175 is in full effect. Our (anti)hero Bernie Gunther has been pressed into service first as a bodyguard, then as a detective, by Heydrich, currently in Prague. These clouds do not have silver linings, apart from the sharp dialog that keeps this from ever becoming a slog.Gunther finds himself in a castle full of SS higher-ups when one of their own is found dead in a classic locked-room mystery-- score one for putting a new twist on an old genre. He's still got a previous case of a dead foreign worker with possible spy connections on his mind from Berlin when he's thrust into this. Heydrich seems to be calling all the shots and seems to almost enjoy letting Bernie inflict his sneering anti-Party sentiments on these old guard members; Heydrich is cunning, impossible to read, and infathomable. Kerr doesn't attempt to humanize him or psychoanalyze him, and more the good that-- it would have wrecked the novel. The sense all along is that Bernie is being played for higher political means (and Bernie is well aware of that), but the number of mysteries and plots that are interwoven here are so myriad and complex that unteasing them is quite a puzzle; it's mystery on top of mystery, and you're not even sure what the core one is. It's not too much to keep up with, though, and doesn't get out of hand; even the large cast of characters remains remarkably distinct. Plot lines and people may be drawn in a crystal clear way, but Kerr plays the cards of the mysteries close to his chest.The atmosphere evoked in this novel is extremely disquieting, for all the reasons alluded to above and more. Needless to say, in a novel set in early 1940s Germany, no one is expecting anything lighthearted. But Kerr evokes, on an individual level and on a national level, the sense of the storm clounds gathered over Germany and its conquered territories and the people who were undergoing mass persecution or suffering as a result of the war. The novel is extremely bleak and a potent reminder of where fanatic nationalism leads.
  • (4/5)
    Bernie Gunther is quite the character...not very happy in Berlin where he is currently living and working. He gets assigned to work for a man he despises, Reinhard Heydrich as his bodyguard. trouble follows and Bernie must untangle himself and others from Heydrich and try and find a way to live with himself in this new Germany... The way Philip talks about Germany makes you feel as though you are right there with him, he gives Bernie language unlike any I have ever read before...perfect for the time period. I came into this series on the 8th Bernie Gunther book, I typicaly try to read a series in order but having said that I don't feel like I lost anything. I think I was able to understand the book with out having read the previous ones.
  • (5/5)
    This book definitely deserves the "noir" designation of the "Berlin Noir" series name. It's not a good time in Berlin, it's not a good time on the Eastern front, and it's not a good time in Prague. Things are horribly bad for the Jews, and dark hints are everywhere as to how much worse they're going to get. Rohm is dead, and Paragraph 175 is in full effect. Our (anti)hero Bernie Gunther has been pressed into service first as a bodyguard, then as a detective, by Heydrich, currently in Prague. These clouds do not have silver linings, apart from the sharp dialog that keeps this from ever becoming a slog.Gunther finds himself in a castle full of SS higher-ups when one of their own is found dead in a classic locked-room mystery-- score one for putting a new twist on an old genre. He's still got a previous case of a dead foreign worker with possible spy connections on his mind from Berlin when he's thrust into this. Heydrich seems to be calling all the shots and seems to almost enjoy letting Bernie inflict his sneering anti-Party sentiments on these old guard members; Heydrich is cunning, impossible to read, and infathomable. Kerr doesn't attempt to humanize him or psychoanalyze him, and more the good that-- it would have wrecked the novel. The sense all along is that Bernie is being played for higher political means (and Bernie is well aware of that), but the number of mysteries and plots that are interwoven here are so myriad and complex that unteasing them is quite a puzzle; it's mystery on top of mystery, and you're not even sure what the core one is. It's not too much to keep up with, though, and doesn't get out of hand; even the large cast of characters remains remarkably distinct. Plot lines and people may be drawn in a crystal clear way, but Kerr plays the cards of the mysteries close to his chest.The atmosphere evoked in this novel is extremely disquieting, for all the reasons alluded to above and more. Needless to say, in a novel set in early 1940s Germany, no one is expecting anything lighthearted. But Kerr evokes, on an individual level and on a national level, the sense of the storm clounds gathered over Germany and its conquered territories and the people who were undergoing mass persecution or suffering as a result of the war. The novel is extremely bleak and a potent reminder of where fanatic nationalism leads.
  • (4/5)
    This is the eighth book in Philip Kerr's addictive "Berlin Noir" detective series featuring Bernie Gunther. The series starts out with Gunther as a wise-cracking, Nazi-hating homicide detective in mid-1930s Berlin, only surviving in the post--for a time--because he's good at his job. Over the course of the series, Kerr has already taken Gunther through World War II, as a very reluctant officer (and even more reluctantly technically a member of the SS) on the Eastern Front, and then out the other end to his post-war life. Prague Fatale, however, is a flashback, taking Kerr back to 1941, and back to his forced work relationship with Reinhard Heydrich, the real life "Butcher of Prague." It is Heydrich who calls Gunther to his headquarters outside Prague to solve a murder that's taken place in that headquarters during a gathering of top Nazi officials. There is much less espionage intrigue here than in most Gunther novels. This one's more straight-forwardly a murder mystery, but with several twists, of course, and the standard amount of historical content, some straightforwardly factual and some as imagined by Kerr. While not quite up to the top standards of the series, this is still a very entertaining entry.
  • (3/5)
    A while ago I read March Violets, the first in Philip Kerr’s series featuring Bernie Gunther, a detective in Berlin during the Third Reich.Initially I was gripped by the story, but it soon went off in a direction I did not particularly care for.Yet, here I am years later reading another Bernie Gunther novel. Why? What for? – you may ask. Well, the plot of this one sounded a bit more interesting. A bit more like a proper whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie.However it turned out to be a very different book than I expected. I thought it was going to be a claustrophobic affair, only a few characters trapped in a confined space, something like that. Instead it is almost your usual noir mystery.After a promising opening where Bernie Gunther muses about committing suicide while cleaning his gun we are treated to a rather common hardboiled plot about a decent man trying to do the right thing. It is the autumn of 1941 and the German army has invaded Russia. Life is getting tight in Berlin, since food is scarce, because everything is sent to the front lines and confiscated for the soldiers. When a headless body is found on the railway tracks Bernie Gunther who now works for the official police force is called to investigate. Soon the murder turns out to be about a Czech spy ring the members of which were sent to Germany to commit terrorist attacks.Yet before the investigation can be closed Reinhard Heydrich invites Bernie Gunther to Prague, or perhaps we should say, he orders him there. For some reason Gunther enjoys Heydrich’s protection despite being very outspoken and critical about the Nazi regime. “from time to time I’m useful to him in the same way a toothpick might be useful to a cannibal.” – Gunther remarks about his relationship to Heydrich.Heydrich appoints Bernie to the post of his personal bodyguard, since he fears to be assassinated by Czech resistance. The main bulk of the plot takes place in a manor house outside of Prague where Heydrich and his party have taken up residence. We also learn that Heydrich enjoys reading mystery novels, he even mentions Hercule Poirot (which would be proof I guess, that nobody is all bad, even a truly despicable person might have some redeeming features).The inevitable happens and a crime is committed. A member of Heydrich’s entourage is killed inside his locked bedroom. So, yes this is a locked-room mystery, just not a very original one, the mechanics of the murder will be familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of this subgenre. The surprise here lies in the motive. I am probably not spoiling anything by telling you that Heydrich turns out to be every bit the monster one would expect. I recently watched the movie Operation Anthropoid about the Heydrich assassination and I have also read Laurent Binet’s HHhH about the same events, but the man remained a bit of an enigma to me. He was evil, yes, but was there anything else to him? Philip Kerr paints him as a remorseless sadist and master manipulator, but he is not a particularly fascinating villain, more like your average workplace bully.Prague Fatale is an interesting glimpse into a dark historical time, but not really the atmospheric traditional mystery novel I was hoping for.
  • (2/5)
    PRAGUE FATALE by Philip Kerr is mystery/thriller-historical fiction. The book’s official synopsis describes a murder investigation at the home of Reinhard Heydrich in 1941 Czechoslovakia. But, it turns out, that’s not where the book begins. Bernie Gunther, the narrator, doesn’t even get there until well after 100 pages. From page 1, this book is full of details about the people, places, and events in Germany and Czechoslovakia in the early 1940s. That could be why it’s reviews are so good. I take another view because I read this is also a mystery/thriller. But the story is overtaken by all the historical details as Kerr RAMBLES ON AND ON with Gunther’s thoughts about them. As a result, the story gets buried and is slow, not thrilling.If you’re looking for combination mystery/thriller-historical fiction, better choices are any book by Joseph Kanon. PRAGUE FATALE is one book in a series. This is the only one I read, though, and there are many reviews that are to the contrary of mine from people who read the series. I won it from the publisher through reviewingtheevidence.com.
  • (4/5)
    It’s 1941 and Bernie is back in Berlin from his work with the SD (Sicherheitsdienst), the intelligence arm of the SS (the Kripo, Kriminalpolizei, or German equivalent to CID, were under the SD.). Having been exposed there the the truly awful ethnic cleansing and retribution of the “special action” squads who were killing rather indiscriminately, he’s considering suicide. Always skeptical of Naziism, he’s dragged into an investigation of a railway worker who had been murdered and then left on the tracks to be dismembered by a train. It gets complicated when he saves a bar-girl from what he thinks is a rape, only to discover she’s linked to Czech terrorists being sought by the Gestapo. There may be a connection as well to the man on the tracks.But then things get worse when General Heydrich demands his presence in Prague to act as his quasi-bodyguard. (Reinhard Heydrich, also known as the “Butcher of Prague” was probably one of the least sympathetic characters to come out of Nazi Germany.) When one of Heydrich’s adjutants is murdered in a locked room, Bernie gets permission from Heydrich to be as impertinent as necessary in order to solve the crime. Here the writing sparkles with wit as Bernie gets to mouth off and intimidate all the SS generals. To complicate things even further, Bernie learns everyone except the adjutants and himself, has been invited to the Prague Castle because they are under suspicion as being a traitor running a radio link with the British.I listened to this as an audiobook. Very well read (except for some German mispronunciations -- I do wish they would get readers who are at least quasi-fluent in foreign language words that appear in the books they read ), but I found one peculiarity. Throughout the book, which was not translated, but written in English, Hitler is referred to as “the Leader,” a literal translation of “Der Führer.” I think we’ve all become so accustomed to the German title that using “leader” somehow grates. Especially when other words, like Kripo, Kirche, Herr, Kommissar, Wehrmacht, and others are left in German. Very entertaining. I’ve read many of the Bernie Gunther series and like them all, although the Berlin trilogy, the first three, a.k.a. Berlin Noir, are perhaps the best of the bunch. This is listed as #8.
  • (4/5)
    “Prague Fatale” was the first Bernie Gunther and first ever book by Kerr that I had the pleasure to read. It’s nicely narrated crime story loosely related to Nazi SS Reinhard Heydrich’s assassination attempt in May 1942. Heydrich is actually one of the characters in the book, having forced detective Gunther to travel from Berlin to Prague to work as his bodyguard and eventually to solve the mysterious murder of one of Heydrich’s personal assistants. I didn’t find the book too surprising nor a cliffhanger, but it is a really well written, interesting book, very enjoyable and therefore worth the read.
  • (5/5)
    After Fieldgrey I questioned whether the Bernie Gunther series had run its' course. Wll with Prague Fatale the answer is a definitive no! This is the best in the series since The One from the other. Fast paced with one strong story line set during the war, it avoids the problems of split plots and timelines seen in the recent novels. It also has a strong background of Heydrich in Prague which will be familiar to many readers and builds on it with the a less well known plot line of the three kings and a Czech double agent. It all makes for a classic Gunther and I'm now looking forward to the next instalment.
  • (5/5)
    As far as the story-line goes.I can add little to what has already been said. Our hero (or should that be anti-hero) Bernie Gunther is drawn into investigating the murder a member of SS-General Reinhard Heydrich's staff. Working for one of Germany's most evil men,proves difficult even for our Bernie,but needless to say he manages to survive,although many others aren't so lucky.I found this (as with most of the books in this series) a fascinating read and keenly await the next one.
  • (4/5)
    I started in unaware that this was the 8th book in an existing series, which is a lot of catch-up reading beforehand, but that's about my only complaint with this book. On the whole, Bernie Gunther is an engaging hero, not necessarily in the sense of being purely likable given his proximity and even involvement with Nazi atrocities, but as a realistic window into Germany in the pre-war, WWII, and post-war years, and the mentality of the country at that time, it's an extremely well-drawn portrait, and the wry, even dark and fatalistic humor is familiar from noir but done quite well here. For "Prague Fatale" in particular, the plot was fairly well-written, though I agree with the previous reviewer who said the middle section sagged a bit but the final 1/3 more than made up for it.
  • (4/5)
    As someone who's read all the Gunther books in this series, I was not as taken with this book as with other titles. The prior work had been post-war; this book brings us back to 1941. Reinhard Heydrich was, amidst the psychopathic cruelty and sadism of the Nazi hierarchy, one of the regime's most despicable crimials. One of the "pleasures" of this work is that readers get to know Heydrich, who summons Bernie from Berlin to solve a murder in Prague and to become his bodyguard. As opposed to the other books in the series, the detective aspects of this novel--essentially the middle portion--lack snap and are pedantic, repetitive, and difficult to get through. Make an effort though, because the last third of the book is a triumph, a surprising resolution that puts the entire work into context.
  • (5/5)
    This is the first one of Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther novels that I have read. After reading the prologue, which had a cynical Nazi cop musing on Reinhard Heydrich’s career at the latter’s funeral, I didn’t expect to enjoy the book. Fortunately, I persisted.Gunther is a not very closeted anti-Nazi holdover on the Berlin Criminal Police Force. Heydrich knows of him from Gunther’s previous work. When Heydrich decides that he needs an investigator who won’t let Nazi Party politics influence him, he asks for Gunther. The case to be solved is a classic locked room mystery. Life in wartime Berlin and Prague is portrayed in a very interesting manner. I enjoyed this mystery greatly, despite my initial hesitancy.I intend to read the whole series now, which starting with March Violets.
  • (3/5)
    The book read smoothly. I do not regret the purchase or the time spent reading it. Indeed I will probably read it again. That said it is not one of the author's better books in the series. The ultimate plot twists are obvious before you are halfway through. The lead characters are just going through paces you have seen them go through before. The affectation of Heydrich and an English style locked room mystery simply does not excite sufficiently. I am not quite ready to say that the series has jumped the shark but I am starting to worry that the author is getting bored.
  • (4/5)
    This is the eighth book featuring Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr's Berlin detective. The series has taken Bernie from the 1930's, as the Nazis are coming to power, to 1950, when he gets caught up in Cold War espionage, and now back to the war years. “Prague Fatale” is set in 1941 and Bernie has returned from the Eastern Front – where he has seen unspeakable horrors – to the Berlin Kriminalpolizei (“Kripo”), where he is investigating the murder of a Dutch railroad worker and contemplating suicide. When he rescues a beautiful woman from an apparent assault, it seems that life might be worth sticking around for. Bernie is a wonderful anti-hero – cynical, hard-nosed and equally hard-headed, unwilling to defer to the Nazis that now run the police. He smuggles food to the Jewish sisters in his apartment building and tries to avoid enforcing the wearing of the yellow star. He does his best to stay out of the way of the Nazis but half expects them to either arrest or kill him for insubordination. But good cops are in short supply and Bernie is such a good cop that General Reinhard Heydrich, brutal head of the SS and Kripo and therefore Bernie's boss, summons him to Prague to serve as his personal bodyguard and unearth a suspected conspiracy to assassinate him. Heydrich, one of the most brutal and feared Nazis, has recently been named Reichprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, the Czech states that have been annexed by Germany, and is chartered to “Germanize” acquiescent Czechs and “resettle” the rest. Heydrich has invited a collection of high-level Nazis – mostly real historical figures – to a confiscated Jewish castle outside Prague to celebrate his new position but it is among this distinctly unpleasant group (“rats, jackals, vultures, hyenas”) that Heydrich wants Bernie to find the conspirator. When a body does turn up, however, in a room locked from the inside, it isn't Heydrich's and Bernie's new assignment is to quickly identify the killer before word of the death becomes known in Berlin and derails Heydrich's career. At this point, the reader can't help but be reminded of the classic Agatha Christie setup on an English country estate with a dead body, a group of bystanders, each with a motive, and an intrepid detective bound to unmask the killer. But Kerr is up to a lot more. Layered on top of the locked-room murder mystery are a political thriller and a historical novel loaded with authentic characters and details of life under the Nazis. Art lovers will note that the Prague estate that is central to the novel has been appropriated from the Bloch-Bauer family and the brilliant golden portrait Bernie admires is the famous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt. The original was stolen by “that fat bastard Hermann Göring” for his private collection, Bernie learns; the painting hanging in the house is a copy. (The original now hangs in the Neue Galerie in New York.) And might Kerr be making a sly reference to more recent events in a horrific torture scene in the basement of Gestapo headquarters? The word “waterboarding” is never used but it is clearly what is taking place and it is chillingly evoked. This is a terrific novel on many levels, a gripping mystery set at a time when norms of good and evil no longer apply. Read it to find out whodunnit; read it to untangle the motives and machinations of the men around Hitler; read it to understand what life was like in Berlin in 1941; read it to be reminded once again how ordinary citizens must face their own complicity in the crimes of a brutal regime.
  • (4/5)
    My first encounter with Bernie Gunther was Field Gray, a book sent by Library Thing. Bernie is a likeable flawed character. He is a policeman in Berlin during the Nazi era and detests the Regime but does what he has to do to stay alive.He rescues a woman from what he thinks is an attempted rape and she becomes his girlfriend. Although he has antipathy for Reinhard Heydrich, a high ranking Nazi official, he is summoned to become his bodyguard when Heydrich is sent to Czechoslovakia. He takes his new girlfriend, Arianne with him to Prague and leaves her in a hotel while he stays with Heydrich in a sumptuous country house some miles away. Also living there are a number of Nazi Officials. A murder is committed in a locked room and Bernie is asked by Heydrich to use his detective skills to solve the crime. He takes pleasure in questioning all these Nazi's since he has finds them all contemptible. He also learns the secret of why Arianne accompanied him to Prague. This is a series well worth your time if you want to get a picture of how life was during the Nazi regime.
  • (4/5)
    Not being familiar with the Bernie Gunther series I thought after the early pages of Prague Fatale that this might be just a police procedural novel set in the Nazi war years. While there's certainly nothing not enjoyable about a police story, this book is far more than that. Kerr entwines his cynical detective Bernie Gunther with the high eschalon of Nazi officials under the command of the notorious Heydrich. Without giving away the story's details, I can say that Kerr deftly combines a murder mystery with a spy thriller and cleverly uses historical figures to help drive the plot and action. Gunther's distate for the Nazi regime is clear, and he rather dangerously expresses his disdain openly to his Nazi bosses. His bluntness combined with his usefulness to them probably saves him from prison or worse as the Nazi's were notoriously intolerant of criticism.Many of the characters in the novel are real figures from the period and, in addition to being a riveting story, Ker throws light on the creulty and brutality of the Nazi reign.
  • (4/5)
    Philip Kerr has one of the more interesting noir detective series going. Bernie Gunther is a private detective in pre-WWII Berlin who is often forced into working with and for the governing Nazi party in order solve several murders, disappearances and assorted crimes. Somehow he survives the ongoing power struggles and frequent double-crossings with his skin intact. This early portion of Bernie’s career is covered in Kerr’s well-known “Berlin Noir Trilogy”.Prague Fatale is the 8th in the series and takes place in 1941. Bernie is back working for “Kripo”, the Kriminalpolizei, attempting to solve the mysterious death of a railroad worker. In the process he stops an attack on a young woman, who curiously has a lot of information about various characters in the Nazi hierarchy and the Berlin underworld. Bernie falls for this woman, Arianne, and soon he is relying on her contacts and information to solve his unfolding criminal case.But, as has happened in previous installments in the series, Bernie’s skills as a dogged detective and political tightrope walker, come to the attention of the Nazi higher-ups. The newly appointed Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, has commandeered a palatial home in the country outside Prague (stolen from Jews) and is settling in to begin applying his iron control over the people of what is now the Czech Republic. Bernie is brought along by Heydrich to find out who among the guests at the celebration of his new appointment is involved in a plot to kill him. Bernie secretly brings along Arianne and installs her in a hotel in Prague. A sort of Agatha Christie-like country house murder mystery is soon set in motion when a member of Heydrich’s staff is murdered and Bernie has to find the murderer among Heydrich’s many high-powered guests.Kerr skillfully inserts his fictional detective into real-life historical events. Bernie continues to feel disdain for Nazi principles and practices while somehow managing to retain Heydrich’s confidence and make progress in solving the murder. But, Arianne soon emerges as a key player in the intrigue, deception and mayhem that follows this murder. Kerr once again manages to create a very vivid depiction of the nightmarish world inside the Nazi vortex and brings plot lines and characters (real and fictional) to a very satisfying conclusion.“Prague Fatale’ actually occurs before the opening events of “Field Gray”, the previous novel in this series. But in each succeeding novel Kerr uses time shifts to fill in chunks of Bernie Gunther’s career continuum. This newest addition is a strong and welcome addition to one of the best noir series going.
  • (4/5)
    This was my first Bernie Gunther book, so I'm sure by starting in the middle of the series I've missed some key bits of backstory and so forth. I'm going to have to go back and catch up now, I think. A well-paced page-turner, this "Berlin noir" story has Gunther detached to Prague as Reinhard Heydrich's personal detective. When one of Heydrich's own aides is found dead in a locked room, Gunther is charged with solving the case ... but naturally all is not what it appears.Just as fair warning, the violence in the book does get rather graphic near the end, so be warned about that. Kerr's able to pack quite a few twists and turns in (some of which the reader sees coming a mile away, but some of which are entirely unexpected), and I enjoyed the shoutouts to Agatha Christie's detective stories.
  • (4/5)
    I've read the three novels in Berlin Noir. This one seemed different. A neat twist at the end that took me back to books I read more than 40 years ago was a nice surprise. But in the end not as satisfying as I would have liked. That being said, still glad I read it. Always fascinated by stories about the Nazis.
  • (3/5)
    I'll start off by saying that I enjoyed this book. If possible I would actually give it 2.5 Smiley instead of 2. I have not read any previous Bernie Gunther novels but did not feel as if I had to to read this book. There was obviously some history I was missing between Heydrich and Gunther, but it did not really detract from the story. The mystery was an interesting one with some good twists and turns. There is also a side romance involving Gunther and a woman named Arianne. However that is all it was, a side story. I didn't feel that it added much to the story though it did serve as a means to help tie up some loose ends.This story kept me interested but not "on the edge of my chair" interested. I also felt that the story was a little uneven in it's pace. With that said I would definitely say that this book was worth my time and I would be willing to try reading something else by Philip Kerr.
  • (4/5)
    Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr is a page turner suspense story.Despite never having read a Bernie Gunther novel (this is the 8th in the series) the reader can jump right in with both feet. Whatever background story is needed to tune in to Gunther’s humor, insubordination, independence and cynicism is quickly and deftly portrayed by the author, Kerr.One cannot but admire Gunther as he is drawn into a web of Nazi SS officers when he is called upon by Reichsprotector Reinhard Heydrich to solve the murder of one his adjutants. Among the suspects is an array of Nazi criminals, sadists and backstabbers.Assisted by a German/Czech policeman, Kurt Kahlo (every good detective needs a sidekick), Commissar Gunther interrogates the suspects in an estate outside Prague. Known to be the best homicide detective from Berlin he uses his interview skills and deductive powers to follow the trail of evidence presented to him; all while detesting his task, the men he answers to and the suspects he interrogates, often reflecting on his dismal situation and whether he should just commit suicide and end it all. Racked with guilt of his own crimes committed while soldiering in the “east” he detests his situation, his acts and the country that bore him. A failed hero is an ingenuous literary tool in the hands of a master and Philip Kerr is clearly in command of the story, the characters, and the suspense as it unfolds. By the end of the book the reader will be fully satisfied with the outcome. The bad guys get their just reward and the hero goes home to his own unresolved conflicts.Having now read this 8th installment I will surely look through his earlier books. With a strong interest in Argentina I will probably choose, A Quiet Flame, set in Buenos Aires after the war ends.
  • (4/5)
    Philip Kerr has done it again. His novels, set in various periods of time before, during and after WWII, provide an insight into the lives of ordinary people coping with a reality that seems unreal, both in retrospect and in its day. He is able to interject his detective, Bernie Gunther, into situations with historical figures without it seeming to be an artificial ploy. This novel seems to hang together even better than his previous ones. I remain a big fan.
  • (4/5)
    Berlin, 1941. The Nazis claim the Germans are on the verge of taking Russia but Bernie Gunther, police investigator for the Kripo, isn't buying it. Berliners are struggling with shortages of food, petrol and cigarettes, and the only thing that keeps Bernie from eating is gun is the realization that the Jews have it much worse and somehow carry on. Gunther becomes embroiled in a mystery when SS head Reinhard Heydrich, convinced one of his minions is plotting to kill him, summons him to Prague to work as his bodyguard. Before long, one of the officers ends up dead in a locked room, a scenario right out of Agatha Christie. Philip Kerr has been compared to John LeCarre, and that's both a recommendation and a caution: readers looking for a fast-paced book with lots of action should go elsewhere. What Kerr delivers, though, is prose so lovely that I sometimes felt compelled to re-read sentences several times. The mystery is almost beside the point, the atmosphere, and attention to detail, is the reward for reading this book.
  • (5/5)
    Bernie Gunther is a complicated character. In 1942 Berlin he is a member of the SS who hates Nazis. He has witnessed and taken part in horrendous events against humanity and what keeps him sane is the promise to himself that he can commit suicide. Still, he hangs on because he is, first and foremost, a police detective who manages to do some good to protect the ordinary Berliners who exist in the madness of Hitler's Germany. Bernie cares that young women are being raped during blackouts and old people are starving. He despises and shows a dangerous disrespect to his superiors every chance he gets. It is just because he doesn't give a damn about whose feet he treads on that he is chosen by his hated superior SS Reichsprotector Reinhard Heydrich to discover who is making threats against Heydrich's life. Heydrich, the head of the SS in Prague, orders Bernie to his country estate outside Prague to uncover the would-be assassin. Gathered at the isolated house are all the officers Heydrich suspects want him dead. Bernie reluctantly follows the plan and goes to Prague, taking with him a young woman who he had rescued in the blackout and with whom he is forming a tentative relationship. But even before Bernie can surrepticiously study the suspects, a gang of Nazi officers in rank just below the likes of Himmler and Goebels, a crime does occur. Heydrich's young adjutant is found murdered in his bedroom, a perfect, classic locked-room mystery. Who would want to kill the troubled young man? Or was Heydrich the intended target all along? And why does Bernie have a gut feeling that things are not really as they appear and that he is being manipulated? The tortured detective finally can do only what he does best, solve the crime and expose the murderer. This is a fascinating and disturbing mystery. Kerr uses real historical figures as the secondary, and in a few cases, primary characters. In an afterward, he lists what actually happened to each of the men in the country house outside of Prague. Phillip Kerr has written eight Bernie Gunther novels. He has not written them in chronological order so this novel, the first one I read, is a good place to meet Bernie Gunther, a truly memorable character.