Bernie Gunther is the ideal narrator for Philip Kerr’s bleak tale of the dirty deals made by victors and vanquished alike in post-war Germany. Having learned that there’s no way to distinguish ‘the one from the other’, the cynical P.I. has the moral clarity to see through the deceit and hypocrisy of both friend and foe.
Munich, 1949: Amid the chaos of defeat, it’s home to all the backstabbing intrigue that prospers in the aftermath of war. A place where a private eye can find a lot of not-quite-reputable work: cleaning up the Nazi past of well-to-do locals, abetting fugitives in the flight abroad, sorting out rival claims to stolen goods. It’s work that fills Bernie with disgust – but it also fills his sorely depleted wallet. Then a woman seeks him out. Her husband has disappeared. She’s not looking to get him back – he’s a wanted man who ran one of the most vicious concentration camps in Poland. She just wants confirmation that he’s dead.
It’s a simple enough job. But in post-war Germany, nothing is simple…