March Violets is the first in the Bernie Gunther series of novels, which are a tour de force. Bernie Gunther is a Berlin policeman caught up in the madness of Nazi Germany. The evocation of 1930s Berlin is exceptional as Germany drifts into barbarism. Important historical figures are used sensitively and to excellent effect making the narrative hum along. Gunther finds himself compromised by the Nazis cavalier attitude towards the rule of law and so leaves the police force. He becomes a private detective specialising in missing persons: mostly Jews. Gunther is a sardonic tough-talking hard-nosed character maintaining his integrity (just).
Normally I hate historical novels. Usually errors are frequent and intrusive however Kerr’s sense of place and time is impeccable. Even better Kerr maintains his level of excellence throughout the series and so if you are hooked by March Violets there is always another one to go to.
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