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The Other Side of Silence (2016)

by Philip Kerr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bernie Gunther (1956⎪11)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4722946,237 (3.9)20
"From New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr, the much anticipated return of Bernie Gunther in a series hailed by The Daily Beast as "the best crime novels around today." Once I'd been a good detective in Kripo, but that was a while ago, before the criminals wore smart gray uniforms and nearly everyone locked up was innocent." Being a Berlin cop in 1942 was a little like putting down mousetraps in a cage full of tigers. The war is over. Bernie Gunther, our sardonic former Berlin homicide detective and unwilling SS officer, is now living on the French Riviera. It is 1956 and Bernie is the go-to guy at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, the man you turn to for touring tips or if you need a fourth for bridge. As it happens, a local writer needs just that, someone to fill the fourth seat in a regular game that is the usual evening diversion at the Villa Mauresque. Not just any writer. Perhaps the richest and most famous living writer in the world: W. Somerset Maugham. And it turns out it is not just a bridge partner that he needs; it's some professional advice. Maugham is being blackmailed--perhaps because of his unorthodox lifestyle. Or perhaps because of something in his past, because once upon a time, Maugham worked for the British secret service, and the people now blackmailing him are spies. As Gunther fans know, all roads lead back to the viper's nest that was Hitler's Third Reich and to the killing fields that spread like a disease across Europe. Even in 1956, peace has not come to the continent: now the Soviets have the H-bomb and spies from every major power feel free to make all of Europe their personal playground"-- "From New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr, the much anticipated return of Bernie Gunther in a series hailed by The Daily Beast as "the best crime novels around today.""--… (more)
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» See also 20 mentions

English (26)  French (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
The eleventh book in the series featuring Bernie Gunter sees him working as a hotel concierge in Cap Ferrat, southern France, in the mid 1950s. But as ever, his past from living and working in Germany in the 1930s and 40s catches up with him, with the reappearance of an old colleague and rival from the SD, the German Secret Service. Kerr weaves real people into his convoluted and intriguing novel, with the main one being the writer Somerset Maugham. Blackmail of the writer is the order of the day, but all is not as it seems as Maugham’s connections with the British Secret Services leads to the complications of Russian spy infiltration in the shape of Burgess, MacLean, Philby and others. While not quite up to the high standard of some of the others in the series, this still makes for an entertaining read.
1 vote camharlow2 | Oct 2, 2021 |
Philip Kerr has been writing books based on a simple formula. Bernie Gunther is a hard man, likes drinking, women, sex, and can take a beating. The characters are all historical figures, mainly from the Nazi party, but in this book, the MI6, MI5, and some famous people from the British establishment.
It feels like once you have read one or two of his books, you have read all his books.
The first book I read was Metropolis (book #14), which was published after his untimely death. It has actually the beginning of Bernie Gunther's life in 1928. I fell in love with the book and the writer. However, none of the other books (previous books) were as good as the last book he wrote. ( )
  sujitacharyya | Sep 25, 2021 |
Δείτε επίσης και στο Chill and read

Ο Μπέρνι Γκούντερ επιστρέφει με το βιβλίο “Η άλλη πλευρά της σιωπής”. Ο αγαπημένος, κυνικός ήρωας του Philip Kerr είναι για άλλη μια φορά εδώ, παρέα με το μαύρο του χιούμορ, προσπαθώντας να μην μπλέξει σε παλιές ιστορίες και νέες φασαρίες.

Βρισκόμαστε στη Γαλλική Ριβιέρα το 1956. Ο Μπέρνι δουλεύει σε ένα ξενοδοχείο, με ψευδώνυμο φυσικά, ενώ στις ελεύθερες ώρες του, ή μάλλον νύχτες του, παίζει μπριτζ. Γνωρίζει πολλούς ανθρώπους λόγω της δουλειάς του και λόγω του μπριτζ, θα γνωρίσει και θα συνδεθεί με τον γνωστό Άγγλο συγγραφέα Σόμερσετ Μομ. Με τον Μομ θα έρθουν λίγο πιο κοντά καθώς ένα βράδυ, στην υπέροχη αλλά απομακρυσμένη βίλα του, ο διάσημος συγγραφέας θα του εμπιστευτεί πως υπάρχει μια φωτογραφία, λόγω της οποίας ο ίδιος και αρκετοί φίλοι του σημαίνοντα πρόσωπα όλοι, κινδυνεύουν με διασυρμό. Με λίγα λόγια, του ζητά να μεσολαβήσει για λογαριασμό του, ώστε να πληρωθεί ο εκβιαστής και να πάρει ο ίδιος πίσω φωτογραφία και αρνητικά.

Όμως τα πράγματα δεν θα μπορούσαν να είναι τόσο απλά για τον Μπέρνι. Ο εκβιαστής, δεν είναι άλλος από τον Χάρολντ Χένιχ, πρώην λοχαγό των ναζί, αδίστακτο εκβιαστή και φυσικά παλιό γνώριμο του Μπέρνι. Ο Χένιχ είναι υπεύθυνος για το θάνατο χιλιάδων ανθρώπων, μεταξύ αυτών και της γυναίκας που αγαπούσε ο Μπέρνι. Όσο λοιπόν κι αν θα ήθελε να αρνηθεί την προσφορά του συγγραφέα, είναι μια καλής τάξεως ευκαιρία να πάρει εκδίκηση από τον Χένιχ κάνοντας αυτό που του έχει λείψει τόσο, τη δουλειά του ντετέκτιβ.

Για άλλη μια φορά, ο Kerr, μας χαρίζει τον απολαυστικό ήρωά του σε μια ακόμα περιπέτεια που διαδραματίζεται παράλληλα στο παρόν και στο παρελθόν. Κι αυτή τη φορά μαθαίνουμε αρκετά ιστορικά στοιχεία για το δεύτερο παγκόσμιο πόλεμο, τους Ναζί, τους Ρώσους αλλά και την μεταπολεμική κατάσταση στην Ευρώπη. Ο συγγραφέας δίνει αρκετά ιστορικά στοιχεία μέσα από την έρευνα και την εξέλιξη της ιστορίας, χωρίς να κουράζει με εκτενείς αναφορές σε γεγονότα, αλλά κάνοντάς τα μέσα της αφήγησης. Όλα αυτά που δεν είναι γνωστά στο ευρύ κοινό όπως η κατασκοπική δράση της Αγγλίας και της Ρωσίας, πριν κατά και μετά τον πόλεμο. Τα παιχνίδια συμφερόντων που παίχτηκαν και δεν μαθεύτηκαν ποτέ.

Ένα αρκετά σημαντικό κομμάτι της ιστορίας που συνήθως ξεχνάμε είναι οι απώλειες των Γερμανών πολιτών. Στο βιβλίο αναφέρεται εκτενώς η περίπτωση του πλοίου Βίλχελμ Γκούστλοφ. Κατά την απομάκρυνση των Γερμανών πολιτών της ανατολικής Πρωσίας, το πλοίο αυτό χρησιμοποιήθηκε για να απομακρύνει περί τους 10,000 κατοίκους, παρόλο που δεν είχε σχεδιαστεί να μεταφέρει παρά μόνο 1,700 περίπου άτομα, μαζί με το πλήρωμα. Το πλοίο βυθίστηκε από τους Ρώσους και πάνω από 9,000 ψυχές χάθηκαν στα παγωμένα νερά της Βαλτικής. Μαζί με αυτούς ο συγγραφέας τοποθετεί την αγαπημένη του ήρωά του.

Η ιστορία έχει μυστήριο, σασπένς και προπαγάνδα. Ας μην ξεχνάμε ότι την μεταπολεμική Ευρώπη της εποχής τα σκήπτρα κρατούσε η κατασκοπεία και ο ψυχρός πόλεμος. Οι κομμουνιστές είχαν εξαπλωθεί παντού μετά το ναζισμό και φερόντουσαν το ίδιο αν όχι χειρότερα από τους φασίστες. Άλλωστε η ιστορία έχει δείξει πως η εξουσία καταστρέφει συνήθως τον άνθρωπο και αυτό φαίνεται πολύ καλά σε πολλές από τις ιστορίες του Μπέρνι Γκούντερ. Οποιαδήποτε μορφή εξουσίας.

Ο αγαπημένος ήρωας θα επιζήσει και αυτής της περιπέτειας, αν και δεν θα βγει αλώβητος και θα επιστρέψει με μια νέα περιπέτεια, το Prussian Blue, το οποίο είχα την τύχη και τιμή να διαβάσω λίγο πριν εκδοθεί στην Αμερική. Η ιστορία του συνεχίζει από εκεί που αφήνει τον Μπέρνι στο συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο, “Η άλλη πλευρά της σιωπής”, δουλεύοντας δηλαδή στο ίδιο ξενοδοχείο στη Γαλλική Ριβιέρα. Είναι το ίδιο ενδιαφέρον με το παρόν βιβλίο και ελπίζω να είναι και το επόμενο βιβλίο του Kerr που θα εκδοθεί από τις Εκδόσεις Κέδρος. ( )
  GeorgiaKo | Dec 1, 2020 |
This review covers the following books:
Other Side Of Silence
Metropolis
Prussian Blue
Greeks Bearing Gifts

These four books concluded the Bernie Gunther series for me and sorry I am to get to the end.

If you are not a detective genre fan then stop reading now, for you may get your eyes opened!

Set in Nazi Germany, Bernie Gunther is in the classic detective mold. Hard bitten, soft spot for a swell dame, has scruples, a conscience, and a gun. Runs off at the mouth to the wrong people about things they don’t want to hear and somehow manages not to get killed. This is surprising as his employers are very high level SS.

They main villains are the Nazis and all are real characters from history. One of the nice touches is the historical footnotes at the end of the books where their real fates are listed. A surprising number of them were not tried as war criminals and died peacefully in their beds, unlike their victims.

This is a long series covering the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s right up to the 1950s. There is no glamourising anything about war or the actions of the participants in these books.

That’s the scenario, but here’s the thing. When all is said and done it is a detective novel. There is a crime, some suspects, and a detective trying to work out who did what. It’s a simple idea, there is lots of moral philosophising and some skull cracking but nothing that you cannot understand, (yes even you who look down on detective novels.)

But here’s another thing and this is where the magic comes into it. We all know the plot, and generally most of the characters, so the real skill is in the characterisation, plot structure and dialog.

Any fool can write a one-off novel based on an highly intellectual promise (he says) but try writing the same novel over and over again and yet each time making it authentic. Not any fool can do that (he says).

If you are sceptical of this, why has Sherlock Holmes endured? Look at a list of Booker Prize winners and see how many of them are household names like Lee Child, Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Ian Ranking, Agatha Christie, to name but a few, also, see how many of those Booker winners are relatively unknown now, or even only 10 years after they won their Booker. Better yet, see how many books they sold compared to the list of crime authors above, but I have no doubt that you confuse popular with prosaic.

Believe me, one day all you book snobs will get what’s coming to you, then you’ll be begging some jaded, low life, philandering, alcoholic, washed up detective to come and save you.

Well mister, if you ain’t some drop dead, gorgeous, red headed, dame then you may as well kiss your sorry, snobbish arse goodbye. And good riddance I say.
( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Slow. Then v. interesting. ( )
  tmph | Sep 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Kerrprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harding, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merz, AxelÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Bernie Gunther (1956⎪11)
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Epigraph
He ruin’d me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.
—John Donne, “A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day”
Dedication
To Jane, for all the happy years
First words
Yesterday I tried to kill myself.
It wasn’t that I wanted to die as much as the fact that I wanted the pain to stop. Elisabeth, my wife, left me a while ago and I’d been missing her a lot. That was one source of pain, and a pretty major one, I have to admit. Even after a war in which more than four million German soldiers died, German wives are hard to come by. But another serious pain in my life was the war itself, of course, and what happened to me back then, and in the Soviet POW camps afterward. Which perhaps made my decision to commit suicide odd, considering how hard it was not to die in Russia; but staying alive was always more of a habit for me than an active choice. For years under the Nazis I stayed alive out of sheer bloody-mindedness. So I asked myself, early one spring morning, why not kill yourself?
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"From New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr, the much anticipated return of Bernie Gunther in a series hailed by The Daily Beast as "the best crime novels around today." Once I'd been a good detective in Kripo, but that was a while ago, before the criminals wore smart gray uniforms and nearly everyone locked up was innocent." Being a Berlin cop in 1942 was a little like putting down mousetraps in a cage full of tigers. The war is over. Bernie Gunther, our sardonic former Berlin homicide detective and unwilling SS officer, is now living on the French Riviera. It is 1956 and Bernie is the go-to guy at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, the man you turn to for touring tips or if you need a fourth for bridge. As it happens, a local writer needs just that, someone to fill the fourth seat in a regular game that is the usual evening diversion at the Villa Mauresque. Not just any writer. Perhaps the richest and most famous living writer in the world: W. Somerset Maugham. And it turns out it is not just a bridge partner that he needs; it's some professional advice. Maugham is being blackmailed--perhaps because of his unorthodox lifestyle. Or perhaps because of something in his past, because once upon a time, Maugham worked for the British secret service, and the people now blackmailing him are spies. As Gunther fans know, all roads lead back to the viper's nest that was Hitler's Third Reich and to the killing fields that spread like a disease across Europe. Even in 1956, peace has not come to the continent: now the Soviets have the H-bomb and spies from every major power feel free to make all of Europe their personal playground"-- "From New York Times-bestselling author Philip Kerr, the much anticipated return of Bernie Gunther in a series hailed by The Daily Beast as "the best crime novels around today.""--

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