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March Violets by Philip Kerr
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March Violets (1989)

by Philip Kerr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bernie Gunther (1)

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7313518,321 (3.63)147
  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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» See also 147 mentions

English (26)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Very good modern noir. This was a little harsher at times than I expected, in the language and descriptions, surprised a bit at times. Also, It seemed the last 20 pages are a pretty enormous part of the book and kind of just tacked on? It's almost like a completely different book. Odd. Still, very good and I'll likely read more of them. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jun 7, 2018 |
Very good noir novel set in Nazi Germany. Kerr clearly knows the noir detective formula, and the setting is well-done. It feels immersive, not forced. ( )
  MichaelBarsa | Dec 17, 2017 |
This is a masterful beginning to a dark series about a private detective who first begins in 1936 Germany. The time and the setting are essential to the narrative, placing the story in a dark soul-drenching time and place where a socialist authoritarian police state has taken root. For good reason, the Berlin of the 1930's is a place of fear and terror and conformity. There are those who are selling their worldly possessions for ten cents on the dollar in the hopes of escaping. And there are those who know nowhere else and are conforming to the demands of political correctness run amuck, repeating sayings they do not believe in and posting photographs in their living room so that, if the Gestapo visits, they will see nothing but loyal Germans. It is a book which takes the reader into the depths of a despairing world, a police state where people keep disappearing and the business of looking for missing persons is booming for a detective, not that anyone who disappears is ever heard from again. It evokes North Korea and Stalinist Soviet Union, where no freedom truly existed and people just disappeared. Into this maelstrom, we find a noir unlike few others that have been written. At first when I encountered this series, I wondered about the setting - an odd choice - but now I see how the setting is so important and so fundamental to the story. There is nothing sugarcoated about the description of the Third Reich and its evils even in 1936, but Kerr brings a time and place alive. ( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
Set in 1936 Berlin this highly acclaimed series features the debut of Bernie Gunther, an ex-cop who specializes in tracking down missing persons. When wealthy industrialist, Hermann Six, asks Bernie to track down the murderer of his daughter and son-in-law he is thrown into a world of political scandals involving artwork, Goering, Himmler and the wealthy German class. Bernie also meets Six's wife, film star Ilse Rudel, who believes he is looking for evidence of her infidelity, despite his assurances that he doesn't do that type of work.

Bernie uses humor and sarcasm to help him overcome the brutality of the times. It's obvious to everyone that Germany is preparing for war and Bernie wants to have nothing to do with the tensions between the various Nazi factions. He's just one of the endless average Germans who consider themselves spectators and go along with the rules rather than fight and possibly end up in a camp themselves. These are still early day and I'm anxious to see how Bernie fit's his philosophy of disinterest into the future books of the series.

The title is a reference about those who became Nazis after they had seized power, not for ideological reasons, but for political or economic advancement. The setting of the novel is what makes it different from the typical mystery genre. The author does a great job of making Bernie a noir detective in the mold of authors like Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler. Gunther is a richly crafted character who interacts with some of the most notorious members of the Nazi party. I'm looking forward to reading more books in this fascinating series. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
The plot was overly complex but I kind of liked the characters. ( )
  cygnet81 | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (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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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For my mother
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Stranger things happen in the dark dreams of the Great Persuader...
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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)

» see all 3 descriptions

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