Monday, January 30, 2012
IF THE DEAD RISE NOT - Philip Kerr
This is the fourth Bernie Gunther I've read. The first part of the story is set in Berlin in 1934 prior to the 1936 Olympics. Bernie has left the police and is the house detective at a upmarket hotel.
A murder in one of the rooms and an American gangster in another room gets Bernie digging and this takes us into labour racketeering with the construction of the Olympic stadium as the background . As always there are constant accurate reminders of the evil of Nazism with the ways the Jews were treated even as early as 1934. Avery Brundage, former head of the Olympic Committee, does not come out of this smelling at all well and shows the Olympic committee has been corrupt for many many years.
Part two of the novel jumps to 1954 in Havana ,Cuba, where Bernie has landed from Argentina. Here his path crosses that of the American gangster and his love interest from Berlin after twenty years.
This is a good mystery, I was very cynical until the last few pages thinking that Kerr had two stories and couldn't make two novels out of them and had just cobbled them together but once its read the whole book makes sense.
The Bernie Gunther character is a more violent Lew Archer with fewer scruples but similar regarding their own version of what is the decent thing to do.
This series is highly recommended if you are into great one liners and the dark side of life.