I really enjoyed this noir thriller. The time and place are very cool/interesting and I like how Kerr weaves some historical figures and events into the story.
" or sometimes inside a club called the blue stocking, on the corner of linenstrasse...' I don't like that mon bijous scene. the ladies club scorpions. i take no pleasure in a woman touching me down there..' no, darling, you don't look at the whole house when you're putting a letter in the box.'' a voice said, loudly, " finished your talking, have you? good, ' said the dancer, and dropped her drawers in one quick and unerotic movement and paused just to make sure every one got a good view of everything, then, collecting the underwear off the floor and stalked crossly off the stage..the lloyds served something called a ' full english breakfast: two fried eggs, two strips of bacon,a sausage, a tomato, some mushrooms, and toast.' it was hard to believe anyone could have fought a war on a breakfast like that."
I like the mystery mixed with historical anecdotes and lesser known facts. Kerr's style is easy to read, funny and entertaining.
A bit convoluted in his strung out story of why he was a Nazi spy ( told to save his life) but otherwise fascinating blend of historical fact and great fiction.
The novel starts promisingly with dark but witty Raymond Chandler-like private-eye monologues from the protagonist and ends with brilliant tale-spinning of the type that made the author's previous novels successful. Unfortunately, this one spends most of the middle dawdling as if in search of a plot to end with. Weaving in W. Somerset Maugham, his spy career and his alternate lifestyle into the plot does not salvage the dreary and the very British self-deprecation style carried to extremes.
Philip Kerr is one of my favourite authors, unfortunately this was not one of his better books.
Bernie Gunther is the quintessential anti-hero and arguably the most complex and multidimensional protagonist in crime fiction.
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