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

by Philip Kerr

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5962916,462 (3.99)83
Member:LizzySiddal
Title:A Quiet Flame: A Bernie Gunther Mystery
Authors:Philip Kerr
Info:Quercus (2008), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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 (20)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
A Quiet Flame is the 5th book in Philip Kerr's terrific "Bernie Gunther" Berlin noir series. The stories take place, mostly, in Berlin during the days just before and just after World War II. The first two books were pre-war, post-Nazi takeover Germany. The third was post-war Vienna. The fourth took us back to Germany in the late 40s, with flashbacks to fill in what happened to Gunther during the war. Throughout, Gunther's disgust with all things Nazi, and his ever-present sense of dread and regret, keeps him on thin ice, even while he's working with some of the top level villains of the era, as Kerr is not shy about working famous real-life characters into his fiction. In this fifth installment, it is 1950, and Gunther, falsely accused of being a war criminal, has had to join the large numbers of Nazis in flight to Argentina. Soon, of course, Gunther is involved in crime-solving in Buenes Aires. However, the case soon gives Kerr occasion to provide fascinating flashbacks to Berlin during the final days of the Wiemar Republic, amidst the ever-growing street violence between Nazis and Communists and ever-growing anti-Semitism, as well. History and atmosphere aside, the mystery itself, and the plotting, is very good. I love this series. ( )
  rocketjk | Mar 10, 2016 |
The novel opens with Bernhard Gunther's arrival in 1950 Argentina, in the company of Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann actually plays no part in the plot but seems to be there as a reminder of how many former Nazi's made their way to Argentina after the war. Falsely tagged as a war criminal, Bernie's on his way to Argentina under an assumed name to reap the rewards of the Peron government's promise of a new life. Shortly after arrival, Bernie is recruited by an Argentinian policeman, Colonel Montalban, who as a young man studied law in Berlin and was then fascinated by what he learned of some of Gunther's cases. Now he draws his attention to a murder that in style and method seems to bear a close resemblance to the unsolved murder of a young girl in Berlin in 1932. Is it possible, he suggests, that the man Gunther was looking for then may be among the Nazis now living in Argentina?

A Quiet Flame moves back and forth between Argentina in the fifties and Berlin in 1932 and we become involved in murder investigations by both the 1950s Bernie and the 1932 younger, policeman, Bernie. Both of them adopt a world-weary demeanor to protect themselves. A Quiet Flame offers a disturbing portrait of Juan and Evita Perón, shameless opportunists and exploiters who enriched themselves by taking money from the Nazis who, in turn, stole it from the millions whom they slaughtered.

The book is full of twists and turns, intrigues and revelations, and is a wholly satisfying read. Bernie Gunther is a hard-bitten cop, but his character shines through the book, as he searches for justice for the memory of the dead girls of both countries. It's written with a dazzling style. The author uses the dark and twisted proceedings with a dose of laugh-out-loud black humor and biting sarcasm. Bernie cannot help being a smart ass, even when he is threatened with torture. This novel has fully realized characters, a suspenseful and mesmerizing plot, and even a touch of romance, all blended together seamlessly in a beautiful crafted work of noir fiction. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Kerrprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Merlini, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Para el desaparecido
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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.
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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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