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A Quiet Flame: A Bernie Gunther Mystery by…

A Quiet Flame: A Bernie Gunther Mystery (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Philip Kerr

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Title:A Quiet Flame: A Bernie Gunther Mystery
Authors:Philip Kerr
Info:Quercus (2008), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:crime, in 2008, read 2013, fiction, C21, anglophone

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A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr (2008)


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English (17)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Philip Kerr has written another taut thriller, full of moral ambiguities. It is an enthralling novel, featuring his German ex-policeman and private detective, Bernie Gunther. Following on from his previous outing, he has had to flee from Germany with the help of former SS colleagues. As a result, in 1950 he is to be found in Buenos Aires where his past catches up with him and he is enlisted by the Argentine secret police to help solve a crime that has echoes of one of his unsolved cases from Berlin in 1932. In the course of his investigation, Bernie is coerced into investigating the many German exiles in the country, most of whom have something to hide from their Nazi past. Layers of deceit from both the Argentines and Germans are gradually peeled back as Bernie tries to save his own life and that of his young lover.
1 vote camharlow | Aug 6, 2013 |
It's a while since I read any Bernie Gunther, and I'd forgotten - or is this new? - the sub-sub-Chandler hard-boiled 'wit'. When it's good, it's not very good; when it's bad, it's awful.

That off my chest, this is another excellent novel from Philip Kerr. The plot concerns an unsolved murder in pre-war Berlin, linked by identical MO with a new case in 1950 Buenos Aires.

For complicated reasons, Bernie finds himself a refugee, along with Adolf Eichmann et al., in Péroniste Argentina, but the scenes in flashback to pre-war Germany are the best, presenting a heartbreaking portrait of a society in decadent meltdown, as well as serving as a useful backstory for the development of our hero.

I found this book by turns fascinating and exciting, and I thoroughly commend it.

Just crack less wise, Bernie! ( )
1 vote jtck121166 | Jul 13, 2013 |
Switch of venue for Bernie. First thriller I've read about ARgentina after WW II. I love Kerr's writing. ( )
  EctopicBrain | Dec 4, 2012 |
Bernie Gunther is on the lam in Buenos Aires in 1950. The Odessa organization has gotten him there with a Red Cross passport and help from the Catholic Church. Gunther is recognized by a secret police member of the Peron regieme. As usual, Gunther is lied to. He is supposed to be looking for a murderer of young girls. In reality, the Peron family is after Nazi gold from the war that is being held in Swiss banks. In the next book Bernie Gunther is off to Cuba, Batista, and the mob. ( )
  velopunk | Jun 1, 2012 |
I had read and enjoyed Phillip Kerr’s work before. Thrillers like Esau and The Second Angel among my favorites. For some reason, I had avoided his Bernie Gunther series, probably because I am often disappointed when an author excels in one genre, but disappoints in another. A Quiet Flame proves me wrong, at least as far as Philip Kerr is concerned. This is an excellent noir mystery.

Bernie Gunther is a well fleshed-out and complicated character. The events of A Quiet Flame span Berlin in the time of Hitler’s rise to power and 1950 Argentina, with a thread connecting both timelines. Kerr does a magnificent job of bringing both pre-war Germany and post-war Argentina to life, but particularly Argentina. I was completely immersed in the setting which let the mystery unfold naturally. Gunther wrestles in both timelines with his own conscience and guilt all while doggedly pursuing answers. The viciousness of the Nazis and those who conspire with them both during their rise to power and in their exile after the war is laid out with brutal frankness through the eyes of a man who recognizes their evil but also recognizes his own will to survive.

There is a certain beautiful brutality in the Kerr’s descriptions. There is also a recognition of the impossibility of true justice for those who commit such atrocities. The depiction of the coverups involved after the fact reflect more an attempt to evade justice than any sense of remorse. The depiction of the Peron government also shows a willingness to look the other way and in many ways, act as despicably as the Nazis in pursuit of political power.

The crimes Gunther investigates both in 1932 Berlin and 1950 Buenos Aires are interesting in their own right, but it is the settings and the characters around these crimes that make this a truly wonderful book. I was fortunate to receive a copy of this book through Goodreads. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote tottman | May 13, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Kerrprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Merlini, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The boat was the SS Giovanni, which seemed only appropriete given the fact that at least three of its passengers, including myself, had been in the SS.
All men come to resemble their fathers. That isn't a tragedy, but you need a hell of a sense of humour to handle it.
'All Germans carry an image o Adolf Hitler inside them,' I said. "Even the ones like me who hated Hitler and every thing he stood for. That face, with its tousled hair and postage- stamp moustache haunts us all now and for evermore and, like a quite flame that can never be extinguished, burns itself into our souls. The Nazis, used to talk of athousand - year empire. But sometimes I think that because of what we did, the name of Germany and the Germans will live in infamy for a thousand yars. That it will take the rest of the world a thousand years to forget. Certainly, if I live to be a thousand years old I'll never forget some of the things I saw. And some of the things I did.
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British novelist Kerr's fifth Bernie Gunther thriller finds the German private detective in 1950 Argentina, where he has fled with other "Old Comrades" after his identity was compromised (see "The One from the Other"). Bernie's past as a police officer involuntarily absorbed into the SS continues to dog his heels. Recognized by Colonel Montalban of Juan Peron's secret police, he is forced into investigating an apparent lust murder and the disappearance of a wealthy young girl. The first case has eerie similarities to an unsolved homicide that Bernie investigated in Berlin in 1932; the second ties in with an attempt to seize Nazi plunder hidden in Swiss banks. But the situation becomes complicated as the detective risks his life to track down and interrogate several ex-Nazis involved in nefarious deeds. -- Library Journal.… (more)

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