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March Violets by Philip Kerr

March Violets (original 1989; edition 1989)

by Philip Kerr

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6533114,746 (3.63)140
Title:March Violets
Authors:Philip Kerr
Info:Viking Adult (1989), Edition: 1St Edition, Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Detective, Nazi Germany

Work details

March Violets by Philip Kerr (1989)

  1. 00
    Die Akte Vaterland: Gereon Raths vierter Fall by Volker Kutscher (otori)
    otori: Die Akte Vaterland set in 1932 with the Prussian Coup is a kind of forerunner to March Violets set in 1936.

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
The plot was overly complex but I kind of liked the characters. ( )
  cygnet81 | Jan 17, 2016 |
Don't think I'll finish. Just not enough to keep me going. And I'm easy. World War II. Not sure why. I might try again some time. ( )
  idiotgirl | Dec 25, 2015 |
This book was chosen for a mystery book club, and I must lead the discussion. The German proper noun are difficult to pronounce and therefore difficult to remember. The time before WWII marks a perilous era in German history. While preparing Berlin, Germany, for the summer Olympics of 1936, Hitler's regime had started their atrocities against the Jews and non-Aryans. March Violets, the title of Kerr's novel refers the late comers to the Nazi party after Hitler's Enabling Act of March 1933. Membership to the Nazi Party froze after May 1933. Kerr presents Bernhard Gunther, the detective, as an anti hero. Bernie has all the qualifications for the Nazi Party elite, but he resists joining Hitler in many underhanded means. I have not decided my opinion of Bernie, maybe I will read the next book in the series. ( )
  delphimo | Aug 27, 2014 |
Set in 1933 Germany, with a PI who is against the Nazi party, Kerr has written a classic hard-boiled detective story in the vein of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. ( )
  ktoonen | Jul 9, 2014 |
A gritty, noir thriller, and the first of what promises to be a gripping series. Bernie Gunther has left the police force and struck out on his own as a private investigator. What makes his work interesting is the time and place: Berlin, 1936 when the Nazis are in full power and preparing for the Summer Olympics. His services are more or less forcibly retained by a millionaire industrialist who has just lost his beloved daughter and her husband to a fire in their home. Both bodies are found in their bed, and the safe containing a priceless diamond necklace has been broken into. Was this a straightforward murder and burglary or is there more than first meets the eye? As Gunther investigates local jewelry vendors, he can't help but be horrified at how the Jews are being taken advantage of, with glaring anti-semitism at it's peak. Desperate to sell their valuables to get away from the repressive measures taken against them (most professions are banned to them, and everyone is quick to add "German" as a preface to their profession on their business cards to indicate they are of good Arian stock), they are forced to sell their belongings well below the market price. Trying to find out anything in this repressive system is bound to bring about all sorts of complications, and when Bernie's widowed secretary is too scared to return to work after being bullied by Nazi police officers, he's delighted to find a beautiful and single replacement for her in ex-journalist Ilse, but their romantic involvement is bound to render him that much more vulnerable. “March violets” was a term used for late-comers to the Nazi Party after the passage of Hitler's Enabling Act which rendered him a dictator on March 23, 1933. In May, the Nazi Party froze membership, and those with the lowest membership numbers were given preferential treatment, though everyone was eager to be seen as a Hitler supporter. Not so Bernie, who has Jewish clients and doesn't care for the views of a party he never chose to support, which is dangerous in and of itself because dissidents are daily being sent to concentration camps, where few are expected to survive the harsh conditions. I loved every bit of this private dick story set during a very dramatic period in history. Those who've enjoyed the more recent John Russell series by David Downing are bound to find this precursor highly satisfying. I'm very much looking forward to the next book! ( )
  Smiler69 | May 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Kerrprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bernardini, PatriziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Berlin, 1936,

First Man: Have you noticed how the March Violets have managed to completely overtake Party veterans like you and me?,

Second Man: You're right. Perhaps if Hitler had also waited a little before climbing on to the Nazi bandwagon he'd have become Führer quicker too.

          Schwarze Korps, November 1935
For my mother
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Stranger things happen in the dark dreams of the Great Persuader...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142004146, Paperback)

Hailed by Salman Rushdie as a “brilliantly innovative thriller-writer,” Philip Kerr is the creator of taut, gripping, noir-tinged mysteries that are nothing short of spellbinding. The first book of the Berlin Noir trilogy, March Violets introduces readers to Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman who thought he’d seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin—until he turned freelance and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture. Hard-hitting, fast-paced, and richly detailed, March Violets is noir writing at its blackest and best.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:41 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The brutality and corruption of Nazi Germany serve as the backdrop for this impressive debut mystery novel. Scottish-born Kerr re-creates the period accurately and with verve; the novel reeks of the sordid decade that saw Hitler's rise to power. Bernhard Gunther is a hard-boiled Berlin detective who specializes in tracking down missing persons--mostly Jews. He is summoned by a wealthy industrialist to find the murderer of his daughter and son-in-law, killed during the robbery of a priceless diamond necklace. Gunther quickly is catapulted into a major political scandal involving Hitler's two main henchmen, Goering and Himmler. The search for clues takes Gunther to morgues overflowing with Nazi victims; raucous nightclubs; the Olympic games where Jesse Owens tramples the theory of Aryan racial superiority; the boudoir of a famous actress; and finally to the Dachau concentration camp. Fights with Gestapo agents, shoot-outs with adulterers, run-ins with a variety of criminals, and dead bodies in unexpected places keep readers guessing to the very end. Narrator Gunther is a spirited guide through the chaos of 1930s Berlin and, more important, a detective cast in the classic mold. -- Publishers Weekly.… (more)

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Average: (3.63)
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