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The French Riviera, 1956: The invitation to dinner was not unexpected, though neither was it welcome. Erich Mielke, deputy head of the East German Stasi, has turned up in Nice, and he's not on holiday. An old and dangerous adversary, Mielke is calling in a debt. He intends that Bernie go to London and, with the vial of Thallium he now pushes across the table, poison a female agent they both have had dealings with.
But chance intervenes in the form of Friedrich Korsch, an old Kripo comrade now working for Stasi and probably there to make sure Bernie gets the job done. Bernie bolts for the German border. Traveling by night, holed up during the day, Bernie has plenty of down time to recall the last time Korsch and he worked together.
It was the summer of 1939: At Hitler's mountaintop retreat in Obersalzberg, the body of a low-level bureaucrat has been found murdered. Bernie and Korsch are selected to run the case. They have one week to solve the murder--Hitler is due back then to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. Lucky Bernie: it's his reward for being Kripo's best homicide detective. He knows what a box he's in: millions have been spent to secure Obersalzberg. It would be a disaster if Hitler were to discover a shocking murder had been committed on the terrace of his own home. But the mountaintop is home to an elite Nazi community. It would be an even bigger disaster for Bernie if one of them was the murderer.
1939 and 1956: two different eras, seventeen years apart. And yet, not really apart, as the stunning climax will show when the two converge explosively.
- ISBN-13: 9780399177057
- ISBN-10: 0399177051
- Publisher: Marian Wood Books/Putnam
- Publish Date: April 2017
- Page Count: 544
Series: Bernie Gunther Novel #7
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-02-20
- Reviewer: Staff
Edgar-finalist Kerrs stunning 12th Bernie Gunther novel (after 2016s The Other Side of Silence) races along on two parallel tracks. In the first, set in 1956, Bernie, whos been working as a hotel concierge in Cannes, flees France because he bailed out of performing a hit for Stasi chief Erich Mielke, killing a Stasi agent in the process. The hazardous journey takes him by train, bicycle, and foot toward West Germany. In the main narrative, set in April 1939, SS Gen. Reinhard Heydrich, Bernies boss, orders him to Berchtesgaden, Hitlers mountain retreat. A sniper has fatally shot Karl Flex, a civil engineer in Martin Bormanns employ, on the deck of Hitlers villa, the Berghof. Bernie has mere days to solve the crime before Hitler returns to Berchtesgaden to celebrate his 50th birthday. Trying to identify Flexs killer and bring him to justice proves to be the least of Bernies worries. Kerr once again brilliantly uses a whodunit to bring to horrifying life the Nazi regimes corruption and brutality. Author tour. Agent: Caradoc King, A.P. Watt (U.K.). (Apr.)