Metropolis by Philip Kerr is a novel featuring German detective Bernie Gunther, this time between World War I and II. This is the fourteenth book in the series, sadly published after Mr. Kerr’s death.
- 384 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0735218897
I have enjoyed the Bernie Gunther books previously, and was surprised to see this unfamiliar one pop up in my browser. I quickly found out that Metropolis by Philip Kerr was published after the author’s untimely death last year.
This book is chilling, not because of the murders which occur, but because of the first hand eye witness to the rise of Nazism and Hitler. The excuses people make, to themselves and others, to support such regime while spitting on actual war heroes (for example) in order to make themselves feel better about their support.
Bernie Gunther, the protagonist, doesn’t actually care, as usual. He is not a political animal, but a policeman stuck in a gray zone in which no one in particular gets his alignance. But at least he hates Nazis (and Communists).
After World War I, Germany is crusted, many people live in poverty, or a step away from it. Getting nutrition is a daily quest and every Jew is a fair game, including high ranking police officials. In this atmosphere we find the “other” Berlin, the one that is decadent, fulfilling every dream of the sex tourist trade, where one could find whatever they want, but only have to have money.
I enjoyed the real people Bernie meets, including genius film make Fritz Lang, whose movie Metropolis is still considered a visionary sci-fi epic, and his wife Thea von Harbou, the screen writer. I have always enjoyed movies and remember seeing Metropolis when it was released in 1984 with a new soundtrack by contemporary artists.
I always enjoy Mr. Kerr’s excellent stories, but the star of all his books is the atmosphere he manages to create. While indulgence rules the day, everyone in Berlin can smell fear and change in the air, unable to do anything about it. The way the author captures Berlin of the time, the train which is hurdling towards another world war without being able to stop and the way people are so easily manipulate is scary and relevant almost a decade later.
The Weimar Republic is dying, and before the Nazis take power, Berliners live in worry free excess, still recovering from the devastation that World War I brought on. A young detective, Bernie Gunther, has been transferred from Vice to the KIA (Criminal Inspection A), investigating homicides.
Bernie’s task is to investigate the murder of four prostitutes that have been scalped, a low profile case until the daughter of Berlin’s primary criminal is also murdered. Then the second set of murders begin.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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