German ex-police detective and all round anti-hero Bernie Gunther returns in the twelfth novel in this excellent series, again set in the aftermath of the second world war.
The story picks up where the previous novel left off, on the French Riviera of 1956. An offer he can’t refuse to carry out the murder of a female agent in England leaves Gunther on the run. Travelling by night and holed up by day, he has ample time to recall his previous association with his pursuer, an old case from back in 1939.
A low level bureaucrat has been found murdered at Hitler’s mountain retreat in Austria. There is only one week to solve the case as Hitler is due to arrive to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. It would be a disaster if the Fuhrer were to discover a murder had been committed in his own home, and an even bigger disaster for Gunther if he cannot crack the case in time. An added complication is the cast of high ranking Nazi officials, led by Martin Bormann, who have also made their homes in an elite community on this exclusive mountain, and who may well be implicated in the case.
Although the two interlinked tales are set seventeen years apart, the climax of this story brings both strands dramatically together.
This is a superb read. The author cleverly blends fiction with real historical personalities and facts to create a story that keeps you gripped from start to finish, and, as always, the historical background to the novel has been impeccably researched and recreated. If you enjoyed the previous novels in this series, you’ll lap this up.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Other novels in this series, thrillers/detective stories – I’m pleased to report that Bernie will return in 2018 in a new novel, ‘Greeks Bearing Gifts.’
One thing you’ve learned
I always find it illuminating to read in the afterwords of the novels in this series what fate ultimately befell the historical figures depicted in the stories.