At The Very Gates of HellDown these mean streets The genius of Kerr is that he takes the dark dreary Hardboiled detective Gunther and placed him not on the mean streets of Los Angeles, but in the midst of Hitler s Germany in 1938at the very gates of Hell, on the eve of Kristalnachtt In so doing, Kerr paints a picture of sadism, debauchery, and fear, that is uncanny You can feel how dark the very skies are becoming, how thick the air is, how twisted logic has become This book has Gunther rejoining the police force although not by choice and hunting for a serial killer and a web of blackmail Like all the books in this series, it is a terrific read, although the plot line is not as sure as that in the first book, March Violets, and appears to meander a little at times. This is book 2 in the Bernie Gunther saga It is 1936 and the dark cloud of National Socialism covers everything Bernie is still depressed over the disappearance of his secretary lover and he is trying to adjust to having a partner in his detective practice I had another argument with my boy Heinrich when I got back from the Zoo his partner mentions What was it this time He s only gone and joined the motorized Hitler Youth, that s all I shrugged He would have to have joined the regular Hitler Youth sooner or later The little swine didn t have to be in such a damned hurry to join, that s all He could have waited to be taken in, like the rest of the lads in his class Come on, look on the bright side They ll teach him how to drive and look after an engine They ll still turn him into a Nazi, of course, but at least he ll be a Nazi with a skill Black humor, black deeds and what looks like a simple blackmail case gets very complicated.Again, Kerr through Gunther gives us a ground level tour of the Nazi capitol, Berlin He also gives us a very stress inducing, palpable tour of the venality, pettiness, power grabbing, and criminality that was the National Socialist movement The tipping point comes when Gunther is taken to meet Reinhard Heydrich, known as the man with the iron heart Perhaps, part of their conversation is the best way to give you a sense of how Kerr brings this all together At my home in Schlactensee we have a fine garden with its own croquet lawn Are either of you familiar with the game No, we said in unison It s an interesting game I believe it s very popular in England It provides an interesting metaphor for the new Germany Laws are merely hoops through which the people must be driven, with varying degrees of force But there can be no movement without the mallet croquet is really the perfect game for a policeman The new Germany, he said, is all about arresting the decline of the family, you know, and establishing a national community of blood the better our children, the better the future of Germany What about children Do you like them I like them Good, he said It s my own personal opinion that it is essential to like them, doing what we do even the things we must do that are hard because they seem distasteful to us for otherwise we can find no expression for our humanity A maniac is loose on the streets of Berlin, Herr Gunther I shrugged, Not so as you would notice, I said.Heydrich shook his head impatiently No, I don t mean a Stormtrooper beating up some old Jew I mean a murderer of young girls I haven t seen anything in the newspapers about it Thanks to Streicher and his anti Semitic rag, it would only get blamed on the Jews, said Nebe Precisely so, said Heydrich The last thing I want is an anti Jewish riot in this city That sort of thing offends my sense of public order It offends me as a policeman When we do decide to clear out the Jews it will be in a proper way, not with a rabble to do it You see, Gunther, said Heydrich, we come back to you again Quite frankly, I doubt there is a better detective in the whole of Germany I laughed and shook my head You re good Very good That was a nice speech you made about children and the family, General, but of course we both know that the real reason you re keeping the lid on this thing is because it makes your modern police force look like a bunch of incompetents Bad for them, bad for you And the real reason you want me back is not because I m such a good detective, but because the rest are so bad Kerr induces and lets the reader explore the discomfort that comes with some very violent acts He also provides, through additional characters, an exploration of the criminal sexual sadistic mind and how the fear of death may provide self justification for both the conventional criminal and the Nazi criminal The experiences change Gunther, so that well into this story he describes himself as follows I m no knight in shining armour Just a weather beaten man in a crumpled overcoat on a street corner with only a grey idea of something you might as well go ahead and call Morality Sure, I m none too scrupulous about the things that might benefit my pocket, and I could no inspire a bunch of young thugs to do good works than I could stand up and sing a solo in the church choir But of one thing I was sure I was through looking at my fingernails when there were thieves in the store There is little I can offer to help you decide if this is something you care to explore I know, somewhat from reading this series out of order, where Gunther must travel And, it is a difficult road that reflects the times in Germany and the world at large. Bernie Gunther Novamente O Personagem Central Desta Trama, Dois Anos Ap S O Enredo De Violetas De Mar O A Ac O Decorre Em , Mas Ainda Num Tom Prenunciador Da Devasta O Nazi Que Come Aria Em Gunther Obrigado, Por Meio Da Mais Fria Chantagem, A Abandonar A Sua Profiss O De Detective Particular, Reingressando Na Pol Cia De Berlim A Sua Miss O, De In Cio Semelhante Com A Do Primeiro T Tulo Desta Trilogia, Encontrar Pessoas Desaparecidas Mas As Parecen As Terminam Aqui Desta Feita, S O V Timas De Brutais Assassinatos Belas E Formosas Adolescentes Alem S Tipicamente Arianas Uma Perversa E Inquietante Conspira O Ir Conduzir E Revelar A Gunther As Mais Terr Veis Formas Assumidas Pelo Fanatismo Do Dio Anti Semita, Acabando Por Ser Envolvido Numa S Rdida E Peculiar Teia Dentro Da Hierarquia Nazi Alem Kindermann s clinic stood off a quiet road in a large but well behaved sort of garden that sloped down to a small backwater off the main lake and included, among the many elm and chestnut trees, a colonnaded pier, a boathouse and a Gothic folly that was so neatly built as to take on a rather sensible air It looked like a medieval telephone kiosk.Berlin, 1938 Former detective turned PI Bernie G nther meets police chief Arthur Nebe under cover of darkness, Nebe gives him the heads up that Heydrich of the Gestapo wants him back at Kripo to undertake a delicate investigation but meanwhile he is retained by wealthy German woman Frau Lange, owner of a printing company Her son is gay and a blackmailer has acquired letters between him and his lover, psychotherapist Dr Lanz Kindermann, and she wants him to track down who it is When Bernie asks how she knew of him when he does not advertise, she shows him a business card dating from before he had a partner Bruno Stahlecter , with his private number written on it, that the mother found in her son s jacket This takes him back to his affair with Inge Lorenz, who mysteriously disappeared two years earlier.But staking out and finding the identity of the blackmailer is only the start of his troubles his partner is murdered and the blackmailer commits suicide apparently which frees him up to return to Kripo and head an investigation into the abduction and murder of several teenage girls, which the Gestapo is keeping a lid on to avoid any copycat killings G nther agrees, but on his terms that he picks his own small team and is made Kommissar, to avoid line of command with senior Kripo officers But at least he has a few friends there Tanker nodded reflectively as he pushed off the bottle tops with his bare thumbs And it s Kommissar now, I hear Resigns as an inspector Reincarnated as a Kommissar Makes you believe in fing magic, doesn t it If I didn t know you better I d say you were in somebody s pocket Just when you thought that things couldn t get any worse, you find out that they ve always been a lot worse than you thought they were And then they get worse A suspect is apprehended then released as another girl is abducted, and G nther struggles to keep his detectives Korsch, Deubel and Becker, in line An anonymous phone tip off and another girl s experience suggests someone with a Bavarian accent is behind the killings, linking back to the SS itself With the mother of one of the missing girls G nther goes undercover, attending a s ance in the presence of Himmler, where the medium describes the girl s whereabouts.He gets to travel outside Berlin and not as a prisoner I drove west out of Berlin, following the yellow signs indicating long distance traffic, heading towards Potsdam and beyond it, to Hanover The autobahn branches off from the Berlin circular road at Lehnin, leaving the old town of Brandenburg to the north, and beyond Zeisar the road runs west in a straight line From the narrow winding road, Wewelsburg looked like a typical Westphalian peasant village, with as many shrines to the Virgin Mary on the walls and grass verges as there were pieces of farm machinery left lying outside the half timbered, fairy story houses I knew I was in for something weird when I stopped at one of these for directionsthe flying griffins, runic symbols and ancient words of German that were carved or painted in gold on the black window casements and lintels put me in mind of witches and wizardsThis was a solid read if a bit of a slow burner at first, and covered a dark page in European history persecution of Jews, gypsies, Catholic Priests, homosexuals in a purging of society Not that Germany was alone as Stalin too had his Pograms Unlike March Violets there are no US style mobsters here, instead a throw back to Pagan and early Christian cults, with Heydrich proving an unexpected ally.Verdict A good, if noir read, and I am beginning to warm to Bernie G nther. Berlin, 1938 the Nazis are firmly in power and we re moving menacingly towards Kristallnacht Gunther is faced with an intriguing double plot of gay blackmail and the serial murders of pretty Aryan girls But is there really a sex maniac ritual murderer on the loose or is something far sinister behind the cases Kerr has got some fascinating detail here especially on Nazi responses to psychotherapy and mental health but Gunther s rampant sexist commentary and creepy lechery is just tiresome and feels particularly inappropriate in a case involving fairly graphic sexualised violence against young women.That said, having struggled a bit with the first book in this series, this feels far competent and I ve resigned myself to enjoying these books despite Gunter rather than because of him It s quite rare to find a writer who can inhabit his historical setting in the way that Kerr does, and he generally avoids the dreaded info dumps So a hero who doesn t endear himself to me but overall this is a tight and engaging depiction of the inner workings of Nazi Germany with a complex plot at its heart. 2 Kerr , 4,3 5 8,6 10. I read this all in one day I repeat in Nazi Germany, Bernie Gunther would have been dead ten times by page 50 But I ll forgive Phillip Kerr, if only for the great sensory pleasure of immersing myself in the reality of his description He seems to know every neighborhood, every street, every boulevard, every music hall and restaurant and government building and whorehouse, the accents spoken by Germans from Nuremberg or Bavaria, and which Nazis were bad, or not so bad The depth of his knowledge, and his comfort level in writing about it, is truly astounding.I have read a lot of Holocaust history, so I confess to a certain amount of guilt in reading these entertaining thrillers Still, I got chills as fictional Bernie Gunther sniffed around the edges of the catastrophe to come, later to be known as Kristallnacht It s quite magical, the way Kerr imagines ordinary people discussing events that we know are looming, just a few months away, on the factual timeline of World War II And every now and then, he escapes the bounds of his genre to write a truly lyrical, quotable line on history, and the nature of man at his worst.Looking forward to the next one. I thought I was done with reading the traditional hard boiled detective Perhaps I picked this up in a nostalgic mood I think it was Mark Lawson who talked about the three Ds of hard boiled detective fiction drink, depression and divorce Yes, it might be a truism that a lot of detectives in real life suffer from all of these, but it s been done to death in detective fiction I love the novels of Henning Mankell and Ian Rankin, whose detectives are similarly inflicted but recently I vowed not to read or write a detective with any D whatsoever.So why did I pick up this novel and why did I like it I suppose it was the milieu that intrigued me Setting a crime novel in 1930s Nazi Germany does raise the stakes and the moral temperature The hero is your run of the mill hard boiled detective but it was fascinating reading about him trying to do his job whilst fighting prejudice and the rule of the jackboot.So, if like me you re tired of the three Ds, don t let that put you off It s a very satisfying read. ,. I finally finished this novel and dare to say that it is without any doubt the worst of the Bernie Gunthers novels I have read so far, with two to go.Bernie is working as a PI after been out of the Berlin kripo KRIminal POlizei police and he gets put back in his job by some serious Nazi big wigs simply because he is a good cop and in these days of Nazis getting all the good jobs there is a serious lack of cops who can actually work a case The case being good German Aryan girls being kidnapped and then killed As an informed reader you suddenly know the plot it being those pesky Jews killing German finest or Germans killing those girls in order to blame them on those Jewish folks Throw in some supernatural stuff, which is as flaky as the plot, and have Bernie travel around Germany and learn how awefull those Nazis are and you ve got the story Where in previous books I have read a subtle approach and a far informative this time Kerr uses a shovel to ram home some facts The story is far to predictable and two dimensional to be really exciting to read Add Bernie s questionable, read awefull, approach to sexuality towards women and homosexuals and this novel suddenly is not so much fun to read.Had this been the second book I had read I would not have continued with the series, however this being the almost last I have read I know that Kerr can do better and has done so several times.This book does not show the problems for Jews in pre WWII Nazi Germany without going over the top, the fact that the book ends on the night of the Kristallnacht and chooses to do nothing with that important moment and in the afterword gets made out of the financial damage as the damage to the people shows that Kerr clearly made the wrong choices in this book This book about a conspiracy to blame the Jewish never gets into a stride it keeps limping around while telling the message how awefull it was and forgetting like in the other BG novels that while it was a part of daily life under the Nazi regime there was so much wrong instead of hammering on just one The whole book felt like it was an advertisement on one subject and were the other books have given the story shades than just black and white.A big dissapointment for me.