Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8)
September 1941. Bernie Gunther returns from the horrors of the Eastern Front to find his home city of Berlin changed, and changed for the worse. Now back at his old desk on Homicide in Kripo HQ, Alexanderplatz, Bernie starts to investigate the death of a Dutch railway worker, while starting something - of an entirely different nature - with a local good-time girl.But he is obliged to drop everything when his old boss, Reinhard Heydrich of the SD, the new Reichsprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, orders him to Prague to spend a weekend at his country house. It's an invitation Bernie feels he would gladly have been spared, especially when he meets his fellow guests - all of them senior loathsome figures in the SS and SD.The weekend turns sour almost immediately when a body is found, in a room that was locked from the inside. Now the spotlight falls on Bernie to show off his investigative skills and solve this seemingly impossible mystery. If he fails to do so, he knows what is at stake - not only his reputation, but also that of Reinhard Heydrich, a man who does not like to lose face.So begins the most diplomatically sensitive case of Bernie Gunther's police career.

Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8) Details

TitlePrague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
PublisherCuercus
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction, Crime, Thriller, Cultural, Germany

Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8) Review

  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Και ναι!!!! κατάφερα να τελειώσω το βιβλίο!!!!!!! Νομίζω ότι τον τελευταίο μήνα είμαι στη χειρότερη αναγνωστική μου κατάσταση.... so much working..... Σε κάθε περίπτωση, το βιβλίο αξίζει 5 αστέρια, αλλά θα περιοριστώ στα 4, πρώτον για το ότι δεν μπόρεσα να εμβαθύνω και να το χαρώ λόγω της ανάγνωσης λίγων σελίδων κάθε μέρα, ενώ από την άλλη αν είχα διαβάσει πρώτα την Τριλογία του Βερολίνου θα γνώριζα καλύτερα τον πρωταγωνιστή και δεν θα προβληματιζόμουν για τις πράξεις του και θα είχα κατασταλάξε Και ναι!!!! κατάφερα να τελειώσω το βιβλίο!!!!!!! Νομίζω ότι τον τελευταίο μήνα είμαι στη χειρότερη αναγνωστική μου κατάσταση.... so much working..... Σε κάθε περίπτωση, το βιβλίο αξίζει 5 αστέρια, αλλά θα περιοριστώ στα 4, πρώτον για το ότι δεν μπόρεσα να εμβαθύνω και να το χαρώ λόγω της ανάγνωσης λίγων σελίδων κάθε μέρα, ενώ από την άλλη αν είχα διαβάσει πρώτα την Τριλογία του Βερολίνου θα γνώριζα καλύτερα τον πρωταγωνιστή και δεν θα προβληματιζόμουν για τις πράξεις του και θα είχα κατασταλάξει για τη γνώμη που έχω γι' αυτόν...Τελοσπάντων ξανά, αυτή ήταν η πρώτη φορά που διάβασα βιβλίο του Kerr και σίγουρα δεν θα είναι η τελευταία! Ο πρωταγωνιστής είναι ένας άκρως ιδιαίτερος τύπος και είναι πολύ ενδιαφέρον πώς γίνεται να είναι αστυνομικός στη ναζιστική Γερμανία χωρίς να είναι Ναζί (και τα μεγάλα κεφάλια των Ναζί να το ξέρουν). Πρόκειται για μια ιστορία φόνων, κατασκόπων, αντικρουόμενων συμφερόντων, πολιτικών προκλήσεων, σε καταστάσεις που ο καθένας είναι για τον εαυτό του, προσπαθώντας να επιβιώσει μια μέρα παραπάνω, χωρίς να εμπιστεύεται κανέναν, αρπάζοντας πληροφορίες εκβιάζοντας... ενδιαφέρον σκηνικό για μια σειρά βιβλίων, σίγουρα δεν θα ήθελα να το ζήσω in real life από την άλλη!!! (ποιος θα ήθελε να ζήσει κατά τη διάρκεια ενός πολέμου, εξάλλου αν είχε άλλη επιλογή;) Επίσης, είναι ενδιαφέρον από ιστορικής σκοπιάς το πώς ζούσαν οι ίδιοι οι Γερμανοί πολίτες τον πόλεμο και πώς στην πραγματικότητα οι ίδιοι κινδύνευαν από το καθεστώς τους (και πώς "αυτοκτονούσαν" ή "δολοφονούνταν από εχθρούς" αυτοί που έπαυαν να το στηρίζουν) Σύντομα, λοιπόν, θα επανέλθω με τον Kerr και αν κάποιος έχει να προτείνει τη σειρά καλοδεχούμενη η πρόταση!!! Κλείνοντας, δεν μπορώ παρά να σχολιάσω κάτι που μου έκανε πολύ αρνητική εντύπωση και το είχα επισημάνει κατά τη διάρκεια των καθημερινών updates μου: δεν είναι δυνατόν στο οπισθόφυλλο του βιβλίου να αναφέρεται το όνομα του άντρα που πεθαίνει.... πόσο έλεος είναι αυτό; Άσε που αυτό συμβαίνει στο 40% του βιβλίου, κοντά στη σελίδα 200, όπου μέχρι τότε από τη μια η υπόθεση του βιβλίου δεν έχει καμία σχέση με την περίληψη, ενώ από την άλλη το θύμα το γνωρίζουμε ζωντανό και μπορεί να αναπτύσσουμε κάποια συναισθήματα (θετικά ή αρνητικά) απέναντί του. Δεν θα ήθελα να ξέρω ότι μετά από 50 σελίδες που τον βλέπουμε πεθαίνει, εδώ το βιβλίο αλλάζει κεφάλαιο πριν μας αποκαλύψει το άτομο που πέθανε τελικά.... Εγώ τη γλίτωσα γιατί δεν μπορώ να συγκρατώ ονόματα, αλλά αυτό δεν αναιρεί το φάουλ των εκδόσεων Κέδρος. Αναζητώντας την αγγλική περίληψη, βρήκα ότι είναι ακριβώς η ίδια, μόνο που έχει δυο παραγράφους παραπάνω στην αρχή, περιγράφοντας όσα γίνονται μέχρι τότε και αντί για το όνομα να λέει ότι "ένας άντρας βρίσκεται νεκρός". Θα ήθελα πραγματικά να ήξερα ποιος σκέφτηκε ως έξυπνη ιδέα να γράψει το όνομα αυτού που πεθαίνει στη σελίδα 200.....
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  • Vaso
    January 1, 1970
    From the first page of this book, I was hooked up and please mind that I was avoiding HF quite a lot lately, because I was not in the mood. Definitely Kerr has a magical pen and can keep readers in his story until the end. 2nd WW, is not my theme at all, but author has built a character so unconventional, that “rocks”.. I have also to give credit to the details mentioned in the book, regarding everyday life in Germany of the 1942 (that proves the extensive research author has done) . Conclusivel From the first page of this book, I was hooked up and please mind that I was avoiding HF quite a lot lately, because I was not in the mood. Definitely Kerr has a magical pen and can keep readers in his story until the end. 2nd WW, is not my theme at all, but author has built a character so unconventional, that “rocks”.. I have also to give credit to the details mentioned in the book, regarding everyday life in Germany of the 1942 (that proves the extensive research author has done) . Conclusively, this is one of the best espionage/historical books I have read…
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  • Joe
    January 1, 1970
    This is the 8th Bernie Gunther “historical adventure” – the series runs from the 1930’s through the 50’s. Bernie is a Berlin detective – whether in police uniform or not – and has been described elsewhere as the “only honest cop in Nazi Germany”. Regardless of when each of the books occurs – before, during or after WWII – Bernie – whether while inside or outside of the regime – is fighting his own one man war against the Nazis. There’s more than a little Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade to Gunther – jad This is the 8th Bernie Gunther “historical adventure” – the series runs from the 1930’s through the 50’s. Bernie is a Berlin detective – whether in police uniform or not – and has been described elsewhere as the “only honest cop in Nazi Germany”. Regardless of when each of the books occurs – before, during or after WWII – Bernie – whether while inside or outside of the regime – is fighting his own one man war against the Nazis. There’s more than a little Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade to Gunther – jaded, cynical, his own personal moral code – and the author does an excellent job blending historical facts and personages into his mysteries.Prague Fatale opens in 1941 with Bernie in a Police uniform, (Kripo), and in war-time Berlin. He’s just returned from the eastern front and is having more than a little trouble acclimating to “regular life”. He’s also one Reinhard Heydrich - yes that Reinhard Heydrich - phone-call/telegram away from being called back into “active duty”.And when that call comes, Bernie packs his bag and takes his new girlfriend to Prague, Czechoslovakia, where Heydrich has just been appointed Deputy Reich Protector, (Reichsprotektor), by Hitler. Heydrich is holding a big soirée – complete with Nazi big wigs - to celebrate his new appointment and needs some help with security, specifically his own.Once in Prague, Bernie realizes there’s more to his trip than meets the eye, starting with the murder of one of Heydrich’s aides, and Bernie now is tasked with solving the case while watching his back. Bernie and the author are now in their element. Kerr’s portrayal of the individual Nazis involved, starting with Heydrich, is frighteningly real; including the dialogue, actions, machinations and scheming. The “mystery” itself is a classic “locked door” murder – right out of a Hercule Poirot/Agatha Christie novel – and which is duly noted by Heydrich. And the conclusion is ambivalent and tragic enough to be realistic without disappointing the reader.This is an excellent addition to an excellent series – and some fans may be especially pleased to see this narrative and Bernie “back” in the war years. Although it is not necessary to read the Gunther books in order to enjoy Prague Fatale – the chronology jumps around much like the John Lawton/Inspector Troy books – I would strongly suggest reading the first three books, collected under one cover Berlin Noir – which hooked this reader - before enjoying the rest of the series.
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  • Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
    January 1, 1970
    I've been reading my way through all of Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels. What an astonishing writer - the subject is Nazi Germany and the perspective is from a jaded, Berlin police detective who is decidedly not a Nazi and yet is forced to work with the worst of the worst, and, yes, he eventually, unwillingly goes into the SS. Vivid details of a nightmarish Germany both pre-WWII and afterwards. Details moral collapse and ordinary people's responses - both good and hideous. I don't think anyone else I've been reading my way through all of Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels. What an astonishing writer - the subject is Nazi Germany and the perspective is from a jaded, Berlin police detective who is decidedly not a Nazi and yet is forced to work with the worst of the worst, and, yes, he eventually, unwillingly goes into the SS. Vivid details of a nightmarish Germany both pre-WWII and afterwards. Details moral collapse and ordinary people's responses - both good and hideous. I don't think anyone else has done such a superior job in describing the immoral hell that a basically moral person had to live through at the time and in that place. Authentic descriptions indicate a very intimate knowledge of Europe and that period.Kerr's writing is wonderful. Amusing, wry, philosophical, and painful. A lot of violence, plenty of self-loathing, huge amounts of sadness, and, ultimately, a kind of satisfaction.Start at the beginning of the series (although Kerr did not write them in order and is still producing them). Highly, highly recommended.
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  • Xanthi
    January 1, 1970
    Το βιβλίο του Kerr συνδυάζει αινιγματική δράση και πολιτικό παρασκήνιο, αναπλάθει την εποχή με γκρίζα χρώματα και αποτελεί μελέτη της ψυχοπαθολογίας του ναζισμού. Μας μεταφέρει με μεγάλη επιτυχία στη Πράγα, έχει γρήγορο ρυθμό και πολλές ιστορικές αναφορές.
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  • Cœur De Pirate
    January 1, 1970
    Πρώτη επαφή με τον Philip Kerr (και κατ' επέκταση με τον επιθεωρητή Γκούντερ) και οφείλω να ομολογήσω ότι μου άρεσε πολύ. Κυρίως η διάχυτη ειρωνεία προς το ναζιστικό καθεστώς και τις απάνθρωπες συνθήκες ζωής που επικρατούσαν. Σίγουρα θα ξαναδιαβάσω κάτι από τον ίδιο συγγραφέα και την επόμενη φορά θα φροντίσω να ξεκινήσω τη συγκεκριμένη σειρά από την αρχή.
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  • Chrissa Vasileiou
    January 1, 1970
    Μια ακόμα εξαιρετική ιστορία του Μπέρνι Γκούντερ από τη μοναδική πένα του Philip Kerr.Βρισκόμαστε στο 1941 και η δράση μεταφέρεται από το Βερολίνο στην Πράγα,όπου ο Γκούντερ καλείται να προστατέψει από επίδοξους δολοφόνους τον ισχυρό άντρα των Ες Ες Ράινχαρτ Χάιντριχ. Στην εξοχική του κατοικία έχουν προσκληθεί για ένα χαλαρό,χλιδάτο Σαββατοκύριακο αρκετά υψηλόβαθμα στελέχη των Ναζί - ένας εμετικός εφιάλτης για τον Γκούντερ, που όμως δεν μπορεί να κάνει τίποτα. Όταν ένας από τους άντρες του Χάιντ Μια ακόμα εξαιρετική ιστορία του Μπέρνι Γκούντερ από τη μοναδική πένα του Philip Kerr.Βρισκόμαστε στο 1941 και η δράση μεταφέρεται από το Βερολίνο στην Πράγα,όπου ο Γκούντερ καλείται να προστατέψει από επίδοξους δολοφόνους τον ισχυρό άντρα των Ες Ες Ράινχαρτ Χάιντριχ. Στην εξοχική του κατοικία έχουν προσκληθεί για ένα χαλαρό,χλιδάτο Σαββατοκύριακο αρκετά υψηλόβαθμα στελέχη των Ναζί - ένας εμετικός εφιάλτης για τον Γκούντερ, που όμως δεν μπορεί να κάνει τίποτα. Όταν ένας από τους άντρες του Χάιντριχ δολοφονηθεί, εκείνος θα δώσει εν λευκώ εντολές στον επιθεωρητή να διαλευκάνει την υπόθεση, ακόμα κι αν πρέπει να 'ξεβολέψει' τους σημαίνοντες προσκεκλημένους του. Κι όσο κι αν ξέρει πως κάτι μοχθηρό και σκοτεινό κρύβεται πίσω από την εντολή του Χάιντριχ, ο Γκούντερ δεν έχει άλλη επιλογή παρά να υπακούσει, φροντίζοντας πάντα να προστατεύει τα νώτα του από τα ναζιστικά αγρίμια που τον περιβάλλουν. Εξαιρετική απόδοση της ατμόσφαιρας -όπως πάντα- και μια υπόθεση άκρως αστυνομική. Παρ' όλο που ο συγγραφέας δεν αμελεί να μεταδώσει στον αναγνώστη το κλίμα που επικρατούσε στη Γερμανία και την Τσεχία την περίοδο 1941-42 τα γεγονότα που εκτυλίσσονται στις σελίδες του βιβλίου αφορούν κυρίως την ιδιότητα του Μπέρνι ως αστυνομικού και δευτερευόντως ως Γερμανού. Ευχάριστη και η αλλαγή της ατμόσφαιρας, από το "αποπνικτικό" Βερολίνο στην τσέχικη εξοχή (όσο ευχάριστο μπορεί να είναι οποιοδήποτε μέρος της Ευρώπης το 1941, τελωσπάντων.) Ρεαλιστικές και ωμές αποδόσεις των ιδεών, του τρόπου σκέψης και συμπεριφοράς αυτών των ανθρωποειδών, που θεωρούσαν τους εαυτούς τους ανώτερους όλων και κριτές ανθρώπινων ψυχών. Ο συγγραφέας, όπως συνηθίζει να κάνει σε κάθε του βιβλίο, παραθέτει αντικειμενικά γεγονότα και απόψεις, ο αναγνώστης όμως είναι κάτι παραπάνω από ικανός να βγάλει τα δικά του συμπεράσματα σχετικά με άτομα και συμπεριφορές. Μου άρεσε επίσης το σκηνικό "κλειστής έπαυλης" (όπως λέμε "κλειστού δωματίου") όπου οι ύποπτοι είναι όλοι όσοι κατοικούν στο εν λόγω οίκημα, μιας και ο φόνος διαπράχτηκε τις πρώτες πρωινές ώρες και μέσα στην κρεβατοκάμαρα του θύματος, η οποία επιπλέον ήταν κλειδωμένη από μέσα! Ένας γρίφος που θυμίζει Αγκάθα Κρίστι, με άρωμα ναζιστικής Γερμανίας αλλά εξίσου ενδιαφέρων. Όλα τα βήματα του Γκούντερ για την εξιχνίαση του μυστηρίου αποδεικνύουν το λαμπρό μυαλό του, και το πώς τελικά όλα τα κομμάτια του γρίφου αυτού -κι όχι μόνο- ενώνονται τελικά αποδεικνύουν το λαμπρό μυαλό του συγγραφέα.Εξαιρετική επιλογή, ειδικά οι λάτρεις των περιπετειών του Μπέρνι επιβάλλεται να το διαβάσουν!
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I have not read all of the Bernie Gunther books. I will have to correct that error. Philip Kerr will be missed. This was one awesome read.
  • Maria Bikaki
    January 1, 1970
    Αν και λάτρης της αστυνομικής λογοτεχνίας ομολογώ ότι μέχρι τώρα δεν είχα την ευκαιρία να διαβάσω κάποιο βιβλίο του Κερ. Στην πραγματικότητα και για να μια απολύτως ειλικρινής αν δεν ήταν η αγαπημένη μου φίλη Χρύσα να μου προωθήσει το έργο του ενδεχομένως και να μην τον γνώριζα ποτέ παρόλη την τεράστια φήμη που από ότι φαίνεται ακολουθούν τα βιβλία του. Με την πρώτη ευκαιρία λοιπόν που μου δόθηκε αποφάσισα να εισχωρήσω και εγώ με τη σειρά μου στον λογοτεχνικό κόσμο του philipp Kerr. Εντάξει ομολ Αν και λάτρης της αστυνομικής λογοτεχνίας ομολογώ ότι μέχρι τώρα δεν είχα την ευκαιρία να διαβάσω κάποιο βιβλίο του Κερ. Στην πραγματικότητα και για να μια απολύτως ειλικρινής αν δεν ήταν η αγαπημένη μου φίλη Χρύσα να μου προωθήσει το έργο του ενδεχομένως και να μην τον γνώριζα ποτέ παρόλη την τεράστια φήμη που από ότι φαίνεται ακολουθούν τα βιβλία του. Με την πρώτη ευκαιρία λοιπόν που μου δόθηκε αποφάσισα να εισχωρήσω και εγώ με τη σειρά μου στον λογοτεχνικό κόσμο του philipp Kerr. Εντάξει ομολογώ ότι είμαι ο πιο ανώμαλος άνθρωπος του κόσμου που ξεκινάω την ανάγνωση των βιβλίων του με ανάποδη χρονολογική σειρά αλλά προσπεράστε αυτή τη λεπτομέρεια. Η αλήθεια είναι ότι ξεκινώντας το βιβλίο έχοντας ακούσει τόσο όμορφα λόγια τόσο για τον συγγραφέα όσο και για τον βασικό ήρωα των βιβλίων του είχα υψηλότατες προσδοκίες οπότε νιώθω διπλά δικαιωμένη και ευχαριστημένη που το βιβλίο τις έφτασε και με το παραπάνω. Δηλώνω γοητευμένη από την αφήγηση του Κερ και από τον τρόπο που έχει να καθηλώνει τους αναγνώστες του. Δεδομένου ότι δεν είχα διαβάσει άλλο βιβλίο της σειράς του Μπέρνι Γκούντερ αναρωτήθηκα κατά πόσο θα ήταν εύκολο να κατανοήσω τον ήρωα και να απολαύσω με την ίδια ζέση τις περιπέτειες του. Τελικά διαπίστωσα ότι ο Μπέρνι Γκουντερ ίσως αποτελεί έναν από τους πιο ενδιαφεροντες λογοτεχνικούς ήρωες ιδιαίτερα της αστυνομικής λογοτεχνίας κάτι σαν το αντίπαλο δέος του χάρι χόλε. Ένας ήρωας μάλλον κυνικός που μάλλον δε χωνεύει ούτε τη σκιά του πόσο μάλλον τους ίδιους του τους συμπατριώτες και που βρίσκεται ξαφνικά υποχρεωμένος να συμπράξει με τους εχθρούς του. Η μοιραία Πράγα δεν είναι ένα εύκολο και απλό αστυνομικό ανάγνωσμα. Ουσιαστικά και κατά κάποιο τρόπο θα έλεγα ότι πρόκειται για ένα ιστορικό βιβλίο με λογοτεχνικά και αστυνομικά ψήγματα. Ο Κερ μαεστρικά θα έλεγα μέσω της πένας του μας μεταφέρει και μας περιγράφει ξανά τα γεγονότα μιας εποχής που βασίλευε το ναζιστικό καθεστώς και που ο πόλεμος μάλλον αποτελούσε το βασικότερο έγκλημα. Μέσα από τα μάτια του Γκούντερ γινόμαστε μάρτυρες της περιόδου του ναζισμού. Εικόνες αποτροπιαστικές, βίαιες έρχονται να φρεσκάρουν την μνήμη των παλιών και να ενημερώσουν τους νεότερους. Μεθυστική, συνάμα βίαιη και αποτρόπαιη λεπτομερέστατη περιγραφή του Κερ που φαίνεται ότι είναι βαθύτατος γνώστης των γεγονότων της εποχής που αντικατοπτρίζουν με τρόπο απόλυτο και καθηλωτικό την βαναυσότητα, την ανθρώπινη κόλαση της εποχής. Βρίσκω εξαιρετική την σκέψη του συγγραφέα να εντάξει στο έργο του πρόσωπα υπαρκτά και αναγνωρίσιμα ίσως όχι τοσο για το μέσο Έλληνα αναγνώστη που προσθέτουν όμως μια ακόμα πιο ρεαλιστική ματιά και άποψη στην περιγραφή των γεγονότων μας. Η ιστορία μας ξεκινά με τον ήρωα μας πίσω στο Βερολίνο να παλεύει με τους δαίμονες του. Εξιχνιάζει μικρότερα εγκλήματα μέχρι που δέχεται το κάλεσμα του αρχιτέκτονα του Ολοκαυτώματος και ξανθού κτήνος όπως διάβασα στο διαδίκτυο ότι αποκαλούνταν η πιο σκοτεινή φυσιογνωμία του ναζιστικού καθεστώτος Ράινχαρντ Χάιντριχ, να ταξιδέψει ως την Πράγα προκειμένου να εξιχνιάσει μια υποτιθέμενη απόπειρα δολοφονίας εναντίον του.Ο Γκούντερ παρόλο που πολλάκις έχει δείξει την απέχθεια του προς τους ομοίους του Χίτλερ τελικά υποχρεώνεται να συμπορευτεί με τις διαταγές του Χάιντριχ και να ζήσει κάτω από την ίδια στέγη με τους εχθρούς του. Η δολοφονία του υπασπιστή του Χάιντριχ ΆΛμπερτ Κούτνερ και η εξιχνίαση της καλεί τον Γκούντερ να σώσει το τομάρι του και να παίζει το παιχνίδι του ποντικιού και της γάτας σε μια ιστορία βγαλμένη από βιβλίο της Αγκάθα Κρίστι αγαπημένης συγγραφέως του Χάιντριχ (γιατί ναι ξέχασα να αναφέρω καθίκι, καθίκι αλλά στο ενδιάμεσο που σκορπούσε το θάνατο διάβαζε και κανα βιβλιαράκι να περνάει η ώρα). Καλείται να ακολουθήσει μονοπάτια γεμάτα ίντριγκα και διαφθορά όπου ο καθένας είναι ύποπτος και καλύπτει τα δικά του βρώμικα και ένοχα μυστικά. Σε μια έπαυλη γεμάτη ναζιστικά καθίκια ο Γκούντερ ο σκληροτράχηλος με ιδιαιτερο χιούμορ αστυνομικός που υποχρεώθηκε να υπηρετήσει αυτούς που περισσότερο μισεί καλείται μέσα από την έρευνα του να αποδείξει ότι καμιά φορά ο ένοχος μπορεί να ναι πάσα πέραν υποψίας. Ατμοσφαιρικό γεμάτο σασπένς με την ίδια την ιστορία να λαμβάνει πρωταγωνιστικό ρόλο η Μοιραία Πράγα είναι ένα βιβλίο που θα σας καθηλώσει και θα σας συναρπάσει Μπέρνι Γκούντερ εμείς οι δύο θα τα ξαναπούμε συντομα.
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  • Abby
    January 1, 1970
    This is the eighth book featuring Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr's Berlin detective. The series has taken Bernie from the 1930's, as the Nazis are coming to power, to 1950, when he gets caught up in Cold War espionage, and now back to the war years. “Prague Fatale” is set in 1941 and Bernie has returned from the Eastern Front – where he has seen unspeakable horrors – to the Berlin Kriminalpolizei (“Kripo”), where he is investigating the murder of a Dutch railroad worker and contemplating suicide. W This is the eighth book featuring Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr's Berlin detective. The series has taken Bernie from the 1930's, as the Nazis are coming to power, to 1950, when he gets caught up in Cold War espionage, and now back to the war years. “Prague Fatale” is set in 1941 and Bernie has returned from the Eastern Front – where he has seen unspeakable horrors – to the Berlin Kriminalpolizei (“Kripo”), where he is investigating the murder of a Dutch railroad worker and contemplating suicide. When he rescues a beautiful woman from an apparent assault, it seems that life might be worth sticking around for.Bernie is a wonderful anti-hero – cynical, hard-nosed and equally hard-headed, unwilling to defer to the Nazis that now run the police. He smuggles food to the Jewish sisters in his apartment building and tries to avoid enforcing the wearing of the yellow star. He does his best to stay out of the way of the Nazis but half expects them to either arrest or kill him for insubordination. But good cops are in short supply and Bernie is such a good cop that General Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SS and Kripo and therefore Bernie's boss, summons him to Prague to serve as his personal bodyguard and unearth a suspected conspiracy to assassinate him. Heydrich, one of the most brutal and feared Nazis, has recently been named Reichprotector of Bohemia and Moravia, the Czech states that have been annexed by Germany, and is chartered to “Germanize” acquiescent Czechs and “resettle” the rest. Heydrich has invited a collection of high-level Nazis – mostly real historical figures – to a confiscated Jewish castle outside Prague to celebrate his new position and it is among this distinctly unpleasant group (“rats, jackals, vultures, hyenas”) that Heydrich wants Bernie to find the conspirator. When a body does turn up, however, in a room locked from the inside, it isn't Heydrich's and Bernie's new assignment is to quickly identify the killer before word of the death becomes known in Berlin and derails Heydrich's career. At this point, the reader can't help but be reminded of the classic Agatha Christie setup on an English country estate with a dead body, a group of bystanders, each with a motive, and an intrepid detective bound to unmask the killer. But Kerr is up to a lot more. Layered on top of the locked-room murder mystery are a political thriller and a historical novel loaded with authentic characters and details of life under the Nazis. Art lovers will note that the Prague estate that is central to the novel has been appropriated from the Bloch family and the brilliant golden portrait Bernie admires is the famous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt. The original was stolen by “that fat bastard Hermann Göring” for his private collection, Bernie learns; the painting hanging in the house is a copy. (The original now hangs in the Neue Galerie in New York.) And might Kerr be making a sly reference to more recent events in a horrific torture scene in the basement of Gestapo headquarters? The word “waterboarding” is never used but it is clearly what is taking place and it is chillingly evoked. This is a terrific novel on many levels, a gripping mystery set at a time when norms of good and evil no longer apply. Read it to find out whodunnit; read it to untangle the motives and machinations of the men around Hitler; read it to understand what life was like in Berlin in 1941; read it to be reminded once again how ordinary citizens must face their own complicity in the crimes of a brutal regime.
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  • L Fleisig
    January 1, 1970
    Phillip Kerr's latest Bernie Gunther novel, Prague Fatale, is a very much welcome addition to the Bernie Gunther series. For those new to the series, Bernie Gunther is a cop, a detective. But he isn't just any detective. He's a Berliner and he has been working the streets from the days of the Weimar Republic on through to the regime of Adolf Hitler. Like most `hard-boiled' detectives, Gunther likes to toe his own line and has a fierce independent streak. Of course independence is not a prized at Phillip Kerr's latest Bernie Gunther novel, Prague Fatale, is a very much welcome addition to the Bernie Gunther series. For those new to the series, Bernie Gunther is a cop, a detective. But he isn't just any detective. He's a Berliner and he has been working the streets from the days of the Weimar Republic on through to the regime of Adolf Hitler. Like most `hard-boiled' detectives, Gunther likes to toe his own line and has a fierce independent streak. Of course independence is not a prized attribute in Nazi Germany if you want to make it until your next birthday. As a result, he has made his own comprises, compromises that render him at time close to suicidally depressed. But he carries on.Prague Fatale is mostly set, no surprise, in Prague. Gunther has been called to Prague by none other then Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Holocaust, serving in Prague as the Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. He was a butcher to be sure but, unlike the Eichmanns of the regime who may rightfully fall under Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil" umbrella, Heydrich was in many respects cultured and sophisticated. Heydrich, getting ready to celebrate his arrival in Prague commands Gunther, who he has run into in previous books in the series, to serve as a bodyguard and general house detective. No sooner does Gunther arrive than the murder of a high-ranking adjutant takes place. It is an old-fashioned locked-door scenario. The book follows Gunther as he walks through the maze of intrigue and deceit surrounding the murder.Although the book is very well-plotted and suspenseful, I think Kerr exceeds in the characterization of Gunther and the players in these dramas. Kerr acknowledges Gunther's complicity in the system but manages to leave the reader with no small amount of sympathy for the choices Gunther has had to make. Clearly one could argue that Gunther suffers from the guilt of surviving and Kerr makes good use of it.Prague Fatale was one of the more enjoyable books in the series. I think it stands up on its own, but I think the new reader will be well-served by picking up some of the earlier books in the series first. Either way, I can only say: highly recommended.
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  • Sterlingcindysu
    January 1, 1970
    Updated 12-20-13, this is in my 10 top reads for 2013. I've picked books that I remember instantly when I look through the list, either because the plot was great, the subject matter was different or the writing was excellent.This was my first Bernie Gunther novel and Kerr is a strong writer. His details of the food, clothing, manners, clubs, etc of wartime Germany was amazing. Because of Gunther's travels and investigations, the research has to detail all the ranges from very poor to highest cl Updated 12-20-13, this is in my 10 top reads for 2013. I've picked books that I remember instantly when I look through the list, either because the plot was great, the subject matter was different or the writing was excellent.This was my first Bernie Gunther novel and Kerr is a strong writer. His details of the food, clothing, manners, clubs, etc of wartime Germany was amazing. Because of Gunther's travels and investigations, the research has to detail all the ranges from very poor to highest class officers (such as the food eaten by the average smuck to the SS captains). You don't think of German food sounding all that appetizing until you read what Heydrich offers his guests for lunch. No wonder everyone had hangovers the next day. I don't think the average reader need to start at the beginning for this series--I didn't notice anything missing or needing explanation. I'm glad Kerr added an appendix listing what happened to all the SS officers. As the saying goes, there's nothing new under the sun and Kerr borrows a plotline from Agatha Christie. He gives full credit. They say knowing how some of our criminals today operate ("I learned to make a bomb on the internet") encourages those to do copy-cat crimes and there's no reason why that couldn't have happened in 1942. Thanks to the publisher for an ARC. I know, it's been 9 months since publication, but I did pass it around first!
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  • Maria Altiki
    January 1, 1970
    Ένα ακόμα εξαιρετικό βιβλίο από αυτά που συνηθίζει να μας δίνει ο κος Kerr! Λίγο διαφορετικό απο την τριλογία, εδώ αντί για δράση κ σασπένς έχουμε κατασκοπεία αλα John Le Carre και μυστήριο αλα Αγκάθα Κρίστι. Στην ιστορία μπλέκονται πολλά αληθινά πρόσωπα, πραγματικά ιστορικά γεγονότα και μια μελέτη της ψυχοπαθολογίας του ναζισμού! Η αλήθεια είναι ότι χρειάστηκε την απόλυτη προσοχή μου κ συχνές ματιές στο wikipedia, είναι όμως ένα βιβλίο που θα παραμείνει στο μυαλό μου για καιρό δημιουργόντας μου Ένα ακόμα εξαιρετικό βιβλίο από αυτά που συνηθίζει να μας δίνει ο κος Kerr! Λίγο διαφορετικό απο την τριλογία, εδώ αντί για δράση κ σασπένς έχουμε κατασκοπεία αλα John Le Carre και μυστήριο αλα Αγκάθα Κρίστι. Στην ιστορία μπλέκονται πολλά αληθινά πρόσωπα, πραγματικά ιστορικά γεγονότα και μια μελέτη της ψυχοπαθολογίας του ναζισμού! Η αλήθεια είναι ότι χρειάστηκε την απόλυτη προσοχή μου κ συχνές ματιές στο wikipedia, είναι όμως ένα βιβλίο που θα παραμείνει στο μυαλό μου για καιρό δημιουργόντας μου πολλές σκέψεις κ πολλά ερωτηματικά για τα ηθικά διδάγματα της ιστορίας!
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  • Nikoleta Katsiouli
    January 1, 1970
    Το τελευταίο μυθιστόρημα του Phillip Kerr στη σειρά βιβλίων του Μπέρνι Γκούντερ , Μοιραία Πράγα , είναι μια ευπρόσδεκτη προσθήκη στη σειρά.Για τους νέους στη σειρά, ο Μπέρνι Γκούντερ είναι ένας αστυνομικός, ένας ντετέκτιβ. Αλλά δεν είναι ένας οποιοδήποτε ντετέκτιβ. Είναι ένας μέλος του εγκληματολογικού και έχει εργαστεί στους δρόμους από τις ημέρες της Δημοκρατίας της Βαϊμάρης και μέσα στο καθεστώς του Αδόλφου Χίτλερ. Όπως και οι περισσότεροι σκληροτράχηλοι ντετέκτιβ, έτσι και στο Γκούντερ αρέσε Το τελευταίο μυθιστόρημα του Phillip Kerr στη σειρά βιβλίων του Μπέρνι Γκούντερ , Μοιραία Πράγα , είναι μια ευπρόσδεκτη προσθήκη στη σειρά.Για τους νέους στη σειρά, ο Μπέρνι Γκούντερ είναι ένας αστυνομικός, ένας ντετέκτιβ. Αλλά δεν είναι ένας οποιοδήποτε ντετέκτιβ. Είναι ένας μέλος του εγκληματολογικού και έχει εργαστεί στους δρόμους από τις ημέρες της Δημοκρατίας της Βαϊμάρης και μέσα στο καθεστώς του Αδόλφου Χίτλερ. Όπως και οι περισσότεροι σκληροτράχηλοι ντετέκτιβ, έτσι και στο Γκούντερ αρέσει να έχει τη δική του γραμμή δράσης. Μια άγρια ​​ανεξάρτητη γραμμή δράσης.Φυσικά, η ανεξαρτησία δεν είναι ένα πολύτιμο χαρακτηριστικό στη ναζιστική Γερμανία. Ειδικά αν θές να επιβιώσεις εως τα επόμενα γενέθλια σου. Ως αποτέλεσμα, έχει κάνει τους δικούς του συμβιβασμούς. Συμβιβασμούς που τον οδήγησαν σχεδόν στη κατάθλιψη και πολύ κοντα στην αυτοκτονία. Αλλά συνεχίζει…Η Μοιραία Πράγα ως επί το πλείστον διαδραματίζεται, το οποίο δεν αποτελεί έκπληξη, στην Πράγα.Η ιστορία ξεκινά με τον Μπέρνι Γκούντερ πίσω στο Ανατολικό Μέτωπο , αηδιασμένο με αυτά που είδε στον πόλεμο , χαρούμενο που επιστρέφει στο Βερολίνο ως αστυνομικός. Αλλά πριν προλάβει να χαρεί… Έχει κληθεί στην Πράγα από τον Ράινχαρντ Χάιντριχ , έναν από τους «αρχιτέκτονες» του ολοκαυτώματος που υπηρετεί την Πράγα , ως νέος προστάτης του Ράιχ της Βοημίας και της Μοραβίας . Ένας χασάπης και για αυτό είναι σίγουρος, αλλά , σε αντίθεση με άλλους του καθεστώτος ήταν από πολλές απόψεις «καλλιεργημένος» και «σοφιστικέ» και πολύ πιο επικύνδινος για να μπορέσει να αρνηθεί .Ο Ράινχαρντ, ετοιμάζεται να γιορτάσει την άφιξη του στην Πράγα. Ακολουθώντας εντολές ο Γκούντερ τον ακολουθεί εκεί , για να χρησιμεύσει ως σωματοφύλακας και γενικά ντετέκτιβ στο σπίτι αν αυτό κριθεί απαραίτητο. Αλλά πριν καλά-καλά φτάσει, η δολοφονία του υψηλόβαθμου μέλους των Ες Ες, του Άλμπερτ Κούτνερ , λαμβάνει χώρα. Τώρα εκείνος πρέπει να βρεί τον ένοχο αν θέλει να μέινει ζωντανός, αφού δεν κινδυνεύει μόνοι η δική του υπόληψη πλέον αλλά και του εκδικητικού και πανίσχυρου Ράινχαρντ Χάιντριχ.Το βιβλίο ακολουθεί το Γκούντερ, καθώς περπατά μέσα στο λαβύρινθο της ίντριγκας και της εξαπάτησης, γύρω από τη δολοφονία. Ζωντανές λεπτομέρειες μιας εφιαλτικής Γερμανίας προ - Β 'Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου και μετά. Λεπτομέρειες ηθικής κατάρρευσης και οι απαντήσεις, των απλών ανθρώπων , τόσο των καλών όσο και των αποτρόπαιων .Αν και στο βιβλίο είναι πολύ καλά αποτυπωμένα το σασπένς και η αγωνία, ο Kerr αναγνωρίζει τη συνενοχή του Γκούντερ, αλλά παράλληλα καταφέρνει να αφήσει τον αναγνώστη να αναπτύξει συμπάθεια για τις επιλογές που έπρεπε να κάνει. Είναι σαφές ότι θα μπορούσε κανείς να υποστηρίξει ότι Γκούντερ υποφέρει από την ενοχή του επιζώντα και ο Kerr κάνει καλή χρήση αυτου του στοιχείου.Δεν νομίζω ότι κάποιος άλλος έχει κάνει ανώτερη δουλειά στην περιγραφή της ανήθικης κόλασης στην οποία ουσιαστικά ένας ηθικός άνθρωπος έπρεπε να ζήσει στο χρόνο και στον τόπο εκείνο. Αυθεντικές περιγραφές δείχνουν μια πολύ βαθιά γνώση της Ευρώπης κατά την περίοδο εκείνη .Η Γραφή του Kerr είναι υπέροχη. Διασκεδαστική, ειρωνική, και επώδυνη. Γεμάτη βία, με αφθονία αυτο-απέχθειας, τεράστια θλίψη, και τέλος ένα είδος ικανοποίησης .Η Μοιραία Πράγα ήταν μία από τις πιο απολαυστικές ιστορίες στη σειρά. Μια ακόμη εξαιρετική γεύση από τις σκοτεινές ημέρες της ναζιστικής Γερμανίας. Με το Μπέρνι Γκούντερ να εξακολουθεί να είναι ένας από τους καλύτερους χαρακτήρες της σύγχρονης αστυνομικής λογοτεχνίας.Για αυτό το βιβλίο μπορώ μόνο να πω : συνιστάται!
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  • Nigeyb
    January 1, 1970
    After his adventures in Argentina, Cuba, USA, Vienna, Munich, Russia, & Paris we’re back in both place and time - Berlin in 1941 - where a disillusioned and suicidal Bernie is back at his old desk working Homicide in Kripo HQ after the horrors of the Eastern Front. Berlin in 1941 is a city of severe rationing, blackouts & RAF bombing raids, the S-Bahn murderer, Czech terrorists and widespread disillusionment. Initially I was frustrated that this book does not move Bernie’s "present day" After his adventures in Argentina, Cuba, USA, Vienna, Munich, Russia, & Paris we’re back in both place and time - Berlin in 1941 - where a disillusioned and suicidal Bernie is back at his old desk working Homicide in Kripo HQ after the horrors of the Eastern Front. Berlin in 1941 is a city of severe rationing, blackouts & RAF bombing raids, the S-Bahn murderer, Czech terrorists and widespread disillusionment. Initially I was frustrated that this book does not move Bernie’s "present day" story forward (the one in ‘Field Gray’, the previous book, and where we last left him in 1954). Apparently Philip Kerr decided to write more about Reinhard Heydrich and his assassination. Anyone who has read the previous books will know that Reinhard Heydrich is Bernie’s nemesis and so I can see the attraction. 'Prague Fatale’ covers the six months leading up to Heydrich’s assassination and starts soon after Heydrich has been appointed Reichsprotector of Bohemia,Back in Berlin, Bernie starts to investigate the death of a Dutch railway worker. Before long he is summoned to Heydrich’s castle near Prague where, apparently, an attempt has been made on Heydrich's life. This is the scene for an Agatha Christie style house murder with Bernie playing Hercule Poirot. Needless to say, this being a Bernie Gunther novel, there is much more going on beneath the surface and Bernie is soon embroiled deep in Nazi politics and multiple levels of intrigue. 'Prague Fatale’ is an absorbing, clever book with many unexpected twists, and is every bit as dark and compelling as the others in this series. I now eagerly anticipate 'A Man without Breath’ (Bernie Gunther #9), the next instalment in this addictive series. 4/5
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  • Monica
    January 1, 1970
    Another outstanding glimpse into the dark days of Nazi Germany with that knight in tarnished armor, Bernie Gunther. And it's a locked room mystery with more than a nod to Agatha Christie. It starts with Bernie back from the Eastern Front, disgusted at what he saw of the war there, glad to be back in Berlin as a cop. Then Reinhard Heidrich, a man he loathes, summons him to what used to be Czechoslovakia to be a special investigator for him in a castle full of overdecorated Nazi generals. There ar Another outstanding glimpse into the dark days of Nazi Germany with that knight in tarnished armor, Bernie Gunther. And it's a locked room mystery with more than a nod to Agatha Christie. It starts with Bernie back from the Eastern Front, disgusted at what he saw of the war there, glad to be back in Berlin as a cop. Then Reinhard Heidrich, a man he loathes, summons him to what used to be Czechoslovakia to be a special investigator for him in a castle full of overdecorated Nazi generals. There are Czech terrorists about, and possibly Czech spies, and Heidrich fears he may be targeted for assassination. Instead, it is one of his adjutants that turns up murdered. Bernie is given responsibility for investigating the death, and the houseful of potential killers.One of the best summaries of Bernie Gunther, from the mouth of Reinhard Heydrich:"In many ways you are a useful fellow to have around. Like a bent hanger in a tool box, you're not something that was ever designed for a specific job, but you do manage to come in useful sometimes. Yes, you're an excellent detective. Tenacious. Single-minded.....but you're also independent, and that's what makes you dangerous. You have standards you try to live up to, but they're your standards, which means that ultimately you're unreliable.....I had hoped I might be able to bend you to my will and use you when I could. Like that coat hanger. But I can see now that I was wrong."Kerr weaves the history and the historic characters into a richly imagined plot, and Bernie is still one of the best characters in modern crime fiction.
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  • Sophia
    January 1, 1970
    πόσο μου άρεσε, πόσο το απόλαυσα, πόσο θαυμάζω τον Μπέρνι και πόσο ευχαριστώ τον Φίλιπ για το ταξίδι στην ιστορία που κάνω και στα γεγονότα που μαθαίνω, δεν νομίζω ότι μπορώ να το εκφράσω!θέλω κι άλλα!
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  • Carlos Vogiatzis
    January 1, 1970
    Τέσσερις άξονες. 1. Ανάπλαση ιστορικής εποχής στη Ευρώπη υπό ναζιστική κατοχή, 2. Διαχρονικοί χαρακτήρες 3, Ατμόσφαιρα 4. Αστυνομική πλοκή.
  • Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
    January 1, 1970
    Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr is a fictional book in the Bernie Gunther series. This is the eighth book in the series which brings up the question: just how many lives does Bernie Gunther has?Bernie Gunther returns from the Easter Front to find that 1941 Berlin is not the city he left – and not for the better. Life is unpleasant in Berlin due to blackouts, Czech terrorists, RAF bombings and food rationing.When Bernie’s old boss Reinhard Heydrich of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) orders him to Prague Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr is a fic­tional book in the Bernie Gun­ther series. This is the eighth book in the series which brings up the ques­tion: just how many lives does Bernie Gun­ther has?Bernie Gun­ther returns from the Easter Front to find that 1941 Berlin is not the city he left – and not for the bet­ter. Life is unpleas­ant in Berlin due to black­outs, Czech ter­ror­ists, RAF bomb­ings and food rationing.When Bernie’s old boss Rein­hard Hey­drich of the Sicher­heits­di­enst (SD) orders him to Prague to spend the week­end in his coun­try house with senior SS and SD fig­ures, Bernie is obliged to drop every­thing and go. When a mur­der is com­mit­ted in a room that was locked from the inside, the relax­ing week­end turns hec­tic and Bernie is asked to inves­ti­gate the mystery.When I first read Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr I was a bit con­fused since the series appears out of chrono­log­i­cal order. The first book I read in the series, Field Gray (my thoughts), was the sev­enth and I imme­di­ately knew I’d want to read more. I actu­ally bought the col­lec­tion of the first three nov­els titled Berlin Noir but haven’t got­ten around to read­ing them yet.Bernie Gun­ther is the per­fect anti-hero, a tough and cyn­i­cal Berliner, he is appalled by him­self, the job he has to do, the coun­try he loves and the peo­ple he works for and with. Bernie goes through life, ago­niz­ing over past actions, try­ing to do as lit­tle dam­age as pos­si­ble, using a wry gal­lows humor as a defense strategy.It’s amaz­ing how many times, just in the two books I’ve read, Bernie comes close to death. The way he talks to upper Nazi offi­cials he should have ended up with a bul­let through the head, or worst, half way through the book. In the novel Alone in Berlin by Hans Fal­lada (Every Man Dies Alone in the US) which is based on a true story, the two pro­tag­o­nist get handed a death sen­tence for doing much less. How­ever they did not have Bennie’s high level Nazi con­tacts (“Vit­a­min P”), his army record (which includes some hor­rific acts) or his skills and cunning.The plot is skill­fully arranged, cen­ter­ing around a locked room mur­der in the sum­mer cas­tle of Rein­hard Hey­drich, Reich­spro­tec­tor of Bohemia, a fencer, musi­cian, fan of a Agatha Christie as well as one of the cru­elest and most bru­tal in Nazi Ger­many known as "The Hang­man" — and he's also Bernie’s boss. The set­ting, Prague and a cas­tle full of Nazis, is bril­liant and shows that even mon­sters tend to blend into one another in a close set­ting. Towards the end, Mr. Kerr reminds us, in gra­tu­itous detail, what the Nazis are capa­ble of and that the régime is more than just an excuse for amusement.More inter­est­ing than the mur­der is Bernie’s inter­nal strug­gle to keep a piece of his human­ity intact. Con­stantly strug­gling with a death wish, the pro­tag­o­nist is not afraid to speak his mind to com­mit death-by-Nazi and free him of his night­mares caused by par­tic­i­pat­ing in mass mur­ders on the East­ern front (Russia).The bril­liant aspect of Kerr’s books, aside from the absorb­ing yarns, is that the set­tings are skill­fully com­posed and bring a life of their own into the tales. The blacked out cities, dif­fi­cult life, hunger and dis­ease have a noir feel which can barely be cap­tured on screen. Another aspects I love about Mr. Kerr’s books is that he does not under­es­ti­mate his read­er­ship, when you read a Bernie Gun­ther novel you would need to know your his­tory in order to under­stand the sar­donic humor, period hypocrisies and best of all, the dis­turb­ing nor­malcy of unhinged authority.For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com
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  • TheRavenking
    January 1, 1970
    A while ago I read March Violets, the first in Philip Kerr’s series featuring Bernie Gunther, a detective in Berlin during the Third Reich.Initially I was gripped by the story, but it soon went off in a direction I did not particularly care for.Yet, here I am years later reading another Bernie Gunther novel. Why? What for? – you may ask. Well, the plot of this one sounded a bit more interesting. A bit more like a proper whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie.However it turned out to be a very A while ago I read March Violets, the first in Philip Kerr’s series featuring Bernie Gunther, a detective in Berlin during the Third Reich.Initially I was gripped by the story, but it soon went off in a direction I did not particularly care for.Yet, here I am years later reading another Bernie Gunther novel. Why? What for? – you may ask. Well, the plot of this one sounded a bit more interesting. A bit more like a proper whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie.However it turned out to be a very different book than I expected. I thought it was going to be a claustrophobic affair, only a few characters trapped in a confined space, something like that. Instead it is almost your usual noir mystery.After a promising opening where Bernie Gunther muses about committing suicide while cleaning his gun we are treated to a rather common hardboiled plot about a decent man trying to do the right thing. It is the autumn of 1941 and the German army has invaded Russia. Life is getting tight in Berlin, since food is scarce, because everything is sent to the front lines and confiscated for the soldiers. When a headless body is found on the railway tracks Bernie Gunther who now works for the official police force is called to investigate. Soon the murder turns out to be about a Czech spy ring the members of which were sent to Germany to commit terrorist attacks.Yet before the investigation can be closed Reinhard Heydrich invites Bernie Gunther to Prague, or perhaps we should say, he orders him there. For some reason Gunther enjoys Heydrich’s protection despite being very outspoken and critical about the Nazi regime. “from time to time I’m useful to him in the same way a toothpick might be useful to a cannibal.” – Gunther remarks about his relationship to Heydrich.Heydrich appoints Bernie to the post of his personal bodyguard, since he fears to be assassinated by Czech resistance. The main bulk of the plot takes place in a manor house outside of Prague where Heydrich and his party have taken up residence. We also learn that Heydrich enjoys reading mystery novels, he even mentions Hercule Poirot (which would be proof I guess, that nobody is all bad, even a truly despicable person might have some redeeming features).The inevitable happens and a crime is committed. A member of Heydrich’s entourage is killed inside his locked bedroom. So, yes this is a locked-room mystery, just not a very original one, the mechanics of the murder will be familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of this subgenre. The surprise here lies in the motive.I am probably not spoiling anything by telling you that Heydrich turns out to be every bit the monster one would expect. I recently watched the movie Operation Anthropoid about the Heydrich assassination and I have also read Laurent Binet’s HHhH about the same events, but the man remained a bit of an enigma to me. He was evil, yes, but was there anything else to him? Philip Kerr paints him as a remorseless sadist and master manipulator, but he is not a particularly fascinating villain, more like your average workplace bully.Prague Fatale is an interesting glimpse into a dark historical time, but not really the atmospheric traditional mystery novel I was hoping for.
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  • switterbug (Betsey)
    January 1, 1970
    In 1941, Berlin police detective Bernie Gunther flirts with suicide as a way out of his wretched life. He loathes Nazi Germany, but has orders to serve and protect the Reich, and feels like an imposter, a blur of who he was before the crimes that he was commanded to execute in Belorussia. Nazi newspapers trumpet their clarion call that “the Jews are our misfortune,” while Germany struggles to maintain their strength against the advancing Russian army. Berlin is barely recognizable, with everythi In 1941, Berlin police detective Bernie Gunther flirts with suicide as a way out of his wretched life. He loathes Nazi Germany, but has orders to serve and protect the Reich, and feels like an imposter, a blur of who he was before the crimes that he was commanded to execute in Belorussia. Nazi newspapers trumpet their clarion call that “the Jews are our misfortune,” while Germany struggles to maintain their strength against the advancing Russian army. Berlin is barely recognizable, with everything in short supply-- watery coffee; minted chalk for toothpaste; powdered milk like sawdust; tiny shards of soap—“even the prettiest girl smelled like a stevedore”--and worst of all, brackish, sour, ersatz beer. You couldn’t even get drunk to escape the pain. Moreover, the streets have eyes and the walls have ears; incautious words and ambiguous acts could get you in serious trouble, or dead.Bernie Gunther is called up to Prague to serve as bodyguard to Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotector and head of the SS. He despises and fears him, but there is no choice but to abide. He is in the middle of investigating the death of a foreign railway worker in Berlin when he leaves. He is also falling for a beautiful woman, Arianne, whose life he saved from a perp who may be connected to the railway worker’s death. She is as inscrutable as Gunther, and thereby irresistible. He invites her to go to Prague with him, and he discreetly plants her at a hotel suite. At Heydrich’s country house, he is surrounded by the Reich’s most abhorrent officials, including four of Heydrich’s adjutants. A cocktail party serves up more than expected, and compels Bernie into a dicey assignment (no spoilers, so I am being circumspect). This is where the hardboiled style and wit are curtailed. Gunther has been given carte blanche to interrogate the lives and ask no-holes-barred questions of these top officials. A surfeit of details in Gunther’s investigation at the country house occasionally reads like the filling in of dossiers, and becomes too self-aware and telegraphic. The limited movement of the country house setting adds to the officiousness of it all. The noir-like atmosphere dissipates as the narrative style changes; the pace becomes uneven, sluggish at times, and loses its edge. The most enigmatic character, Arianne, shrinks from a spicy, intriguing character into a stock set piece for two-thirds of the novel. However, Kerr delivers up a cogent denouement, harking back to the hardboiled style once again and provoking a possible storyline for the next novel. I had begun to slouch in my chair, until the climax put me right back on the edge.This is my first Kerr novel, but I am interested in pursuing more of the Bernie Gunther series, especially the first three books, which were well received. Apparently, the Gunther series is not written in chronological order, as the last book, FIELD GRAY, took place in the 1950’s. 3.75
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  • Eric_W
    January 1, 1970
    It’s 1941 and Bernie is back in Berlin from his work with the SD (Sicherheitsdienst), the intelligence arm of the SS (the Kripo, Kriminalpolizei, or German equivalent to CID, were under the SD.). Having been exposed there the the truly awful ethnic cleansing and retribution of the “special action” squads who were killing rather indiscriminately, he’s considering suicide. Always skeptical of Naziism, he’s dragged into an investigation of a railway worker who had been murdered and then left on the It’s 1941 and Bernie is back in Berlin from his work with the SD (Sicherheitsdienst), the intelligence arm of the SS (the Kripo, Kriminalpolizei, or German equivalent to CID, were under the SD.). Having been exposed there the the truly awful ethnic cleansing and retribution of the “special action” squads who were killing rather indiscriminately, he’s considering suicide. Always skeptical of Naziism, he’s dragged into an investigation of a railway worker who had been murdered and then left on the tracks to be dismembered by a train. It gets complicated when he saves a bar-girl from what he thinks is a rape, only to discover she’s linked to Czech terrorists being sought by the Gestapo. There may be a connection as well to the man on the tracks.But then things get worse when General Heydrich demands his presence in Prague to act as his quasi-bodyguard. (Reinhard Heydrich, also known as the “Butcher of Prague” was probably one of the least sympathetic characters to come out of Nazi Germany.) When one of Heydrich’s adjutants is murdered in a locked room, Bernie gets permission from Heydrich to be as impertinent as necessary in order to solve the crime. Here the writing sparkles with wit as Bernie gets to mouth off and intimidate all the SS generals. To complicate things even further, Bernie learns everyone except the adjutants and himself, has been invited to the Prague Castle because they are under suspicion as being a traitor running a radio link with the British.I listened to this as an audiobook. Very well read (except for some German mispronunciations -- I do wish they would get readers who are at least quasi-fluent in foreign language words that appear in the books they read ), but I found one peculiarity. Throughout the book, which was not translated, but written in English, Hitler is referred to as “the Leader,” a literal translation of “Der Führer.” I think we’ve all become so accustomed to the German title that using “leader” somehow grates. Especially when other words, like Kripo, Kirche, Herr, Kommissar, Wehrmacht, and others are left in German. Very entertaining. I’ve read many of the Bernie Gunther series and like them all, although the Berlin trilogy, the first three, a.k.a. Berlin Noir, are perhaps the best of the bunch. This is listed as #8.Addendum 6/30/2014: Spurred on by this book, I am reading a biography of Heydrich, The Killing of Reinhard Heydrich: The SS Butcher of Prague, and was pleased to see that the integration of Paul Thummel (A-54) and the Three Kings was quite accurate.
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  • Rob Kitchin
    January 1, 1970
    The four great strengths of Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series is the historicization within the Nazi regime, a strong noir voice, the lead character - a self-loathing, cynical, cantankerous cop with a moral core - and well constructed stories. Prague Fatale delivers on the first two of these in spades. Kerr drops us into Berlin and Prague in 1941, the politics, the power-games within the Nazi regime, the suffering, the resistance. He evokes a very strong sense of place and time. The prose and dialogu The four great strengths of Kerr’s Bernie Gunther series is the historicization within the Nazi regime, a strong noir voice, the lead character - a self-loathing, cynical, cantankerous cop with a moral core - and well constructed stories. Prague Fatale delivers on the first two of these in spades. Kerr drops us into Berlin and Prague in 1941, the politics, the power-games within the Nazi regime, the suffering, the resistance. He evokes a very strong sense of place and time. The prose and dialogue are excellent, as usual. The novel is slightly let down, however, by the latter two. Kerr’s other Gunther novels use movement through time and space as a means to develop the main character and drive the story. Prague Fatale is a fairly static book, divided into two, and there is a linear time narrative with the story set over a few weeks. The first part is set in Berlin and provides the set-up, the second, longer part, in Heydrich’s estate just outside of Prague. It is a locked room mystery, with a notable nod to Agatha Christie. The characterisation as a whole is good, and the story is full of real-life senior Nazis, however we learn very little new about Gunther. And whilst the story is historically embedded in what was happening in Berlin and Prague at the time, it is somewhat long-winded and lacking pace compared with the earlier books (and probably double the length of Christie’s locked room mysteries). In my view, the Prague section of the story would have benefitted from losing a good thirty to fifty pages or more. And part of the ending was telegraphed from a very long way out. That said, this is still a good, entertaining read, just not quite up there with the other Gunther books in my mind. As ever, though, I look forward to the next in one of my favourite series.
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  • Nick Brett
    January 1, 1970
    Philip Kerr’s eighth Bernie Gunther thriller is set in Prague in 1941. Heydrich, now in charge over there, summons Bernie to give him security advice. On arrival Bernie is confronted with a ‘locked room’ murder and the suspects are all rather senior officers. Bernie has brought his new girlfriend with him but soon realises that Prague is a dangerous place for them both and all is not what it seems.....Any Bernie Gunther book is a joy and this is no exception. Although the subject matter is far f Philip Kerr’s eighth Bernie Gunther thriller is set in Prague in 1941. Heydrich, now in charge over there, summons Bernie to give him security advice. On arrival Bernie is confronted with a ‘locked room’ murder and the suspects are all rather senior officers. Bernie has brought his new girlfriend with him but soon realises that Prague is a dangerous place for them both and all is not what it seems.....Any Bernie Gunther book is a joy and this is no exception. Although the subject matter is far from joyous, a Nazi dictatorship and a turning point for their oppression of the Jews. But it is this bleak background that makes these books so interesting, how the ordinary Germans had to cope with Nazi Germany, the fear and mistrust and a select few who could do what they liked. Rich in atmosphere and historical detail, Kerr places his weary and lippy detective close to key events. This one has more zippy one liners then I remember from previous books and one or two things were a little obvious, but this is remains an excellent thriller.Philip Kerr has been one of my favourite writing discoveries over the past few years. He does play around with the Gunther timeline (the books are not particularly linear) so you do not need to read them in order. But read them you should.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Once again Bernie Gunther is called to do a job for his benefactor, or vitamine B as it is called by the Nazi's, General Heydrich or is the man his nemesis? Anyhow he requires the services of a real policeman and not some Party policeman, and Bernie is indeed the real deal.While the story for Bernie starts in Berlin pretty soon his services are required in Prague, still one of Europes most beautifull cities (perhaps even in the world!) and it is there that he must solve the murder of one of the Once again Bernie Gunther is called to do a job for his benefactor, or vitamine B as it is called by the Nazi's, General Heydrich or is the man his nemesis? Anyhow he requires the services of a real policeman and not some Party policeman, and Bernie is indeed the real deal.While the story for Bernie starts in Berlin pretty soon his services are required in Prague, still one of Europes most beautifull cities (perhaps even in the world!) and it is there that he must solve the murder of one of the Generals adjudants.But it is anything but a simple case of murder, for one it is a locked room murder and for another a snakepit would be a more relaxing environment to work in than a castle full of Nazi brass.This book has a foundation in real history as we come to expect in the Bernie Gunther tales. And it gives a troubling view on how party politics have created an elite that was meant to rule Europe and how their own infighting did a lot of damage to the Nazi warmachine. And the different views on how the Nazi's did operate makes this book fascinating reading material. The afterword of the book tells you about the fate of all the characters that played a part in the book and makes for some grim reading.Bernie Gunther offers us once again a window into Nazi Germany that is rarely shown.Well worth reading!
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    I've devoured all of the Bernie Gunther novels, wonderful mash-ups of police procedurals and WWII historical espionage starring a horny & ornery Weimer liberal who somehow manages to stay alive during the rise of Nazism and its aftermath throughout Europe and Latin America. So naturally I snapped up the latest with eager anticipation -- where would Bernie go next? Interestingly, he went back to 1941 -- an unusual non-chronological story within this decades-long story world -- and a chance to I've devoured all of the Bernie Gunther novels, wonderful mash-ups of police procedurals and WWII historical espionage starring a horny & ornery Weimer liberal who somehow manages to stay alive during the rise of Nazism and its aftermath throughout Europe and Latin America. So naturally I snapped up the latest with eager anticipation -- where would Bernie go next? Interestingly, he went back to 1941 -- an unusual non-chronological story within this decades-long story world -- and a chance to add yet another genre to mash into the meal: the closed-room mystery. I'm generally not a fan of the Agatha Christie cozy country-house genre, which almost always depends upon some deus ex machina in the last chapter to make sense of a bunch of red herrings and pointless goings-on. Kerr escapes this well-worn path somewhat well because of the nasty brutality of the Nazi's that are suspects. We know fairly soon whodunit, if not exactly how, with the final detection forming only part of the finale of the story, which has more to do with Bernie's character and convictions. And real events and people. Can't get enough.
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  • Tom
    January 1, 1970
    Another excellent entry by Philip Kerr of his noir style series featuring Bernie Gunther , a Berlin police homicide detective during the time when Hitler was in power. The plots are engaging and incorporate real historical events and many of the real personages of the time. Bernie is an angst filled character who tries to retain a semblance of integrity and humanity as he is confronted with the very worst that the human species can offer. The characters are nicely drawn and the dialogue is rich Another excellent entry by Philip Kerr of his noir style series featuring Bernie Gunther , a Berlin police homicide detective during the time when Hitler was in power. The plots are engaging and incorporate real historical events and many of the real personages of the time. Bernie is an angst filled character who tries to retain a semblance of integrity and humanity as he is confronted with the very worst that the human species can offer. The characters are nicely drawn and the dialogue is rich and biting.This was the eighth in the series. I hope they keep on coming !
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  • CD
    January 1, 1970
    There are now two 'Bernie' books under my belt. I think it is time to start from the beginning of this series. A few more questions are emerging about the main character that reading these out of sequence has probably only made more noticeable.The pacing of these books is slower than I usually want in detective/mystery books. They make up for it with the different story line and setting.
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  • Lysergius
    January 1, 1970
    Philip Kerr does it again. Bernie Gunther is back in Berlin from the Ukraine. It is not long before he is summoned to Prague by his old nemesis Reinhard Heydrich who has a proposition to put to him...
  • Vasilis Kalandaridis
    January 1, 1970
    Ο Αύγουστος του 15 ειναι πλέον ο Αύγουστος του Bernie Gunther.Υπεροχο,καθηλωτικό σχεδόν βιβλιαράκι.Σύντομα το επόμενο.
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