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Bernie Gunther Novels

April 30, 2020

These are a whole series of novels written by Philip Kerr.  So far, I’ve read three of them.  They are both historical novels and detective fiction.  They are set in and around the time of the second world war, in Berlin, in Germany, in territory captured by Germany during the war, and even in unexpected places like the French Riviera.

Each novel is centered around an historical event.  This provides the factual component of the story.  It’s narrated by a fictional detective, Bernie Gunther, who plays a major part in the event.  Each story features an unfolding mystery, and reveals more of the personality of the detective.  The detective, and the writing, provide an element of realism to bring the whole story alive.  There’s always local colour, such as: over horsemeat steaks.

Bernie himself was a German soldier in world war one, and then a police officer and police detective in Berlin.  He was also a private detective.  During world war two, he was a German military officer and a prisoner in a soviet POW camp.  After he escaped from the camp, he was living under a false name.

I was drawn to these novels because I like historical novels and because I like police mystery novels.  They are a good blend of the two types.  As well, I found Bernie to be an interesting character, one that was almost out of place in the setting of each novel.


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