Bernie Gunther is an ex Kripo (German CID) officer working as a private detective in pre and post war Berlin. He is tough, cynical and wisecraking, but also honest and decent. In fact he is Sam Spade/Philip Marlowe transplaned from California to Germany. Bernie's job brings him into contact with historical figures like Himmler, Goering and Artur Nebe, the real life wartime head of the German Kripo.
Philip Kerr is one of those writers who can transplant you into a different world, in this case pre and post war Germany. In doing so he has created a number of slang terms which I do not know if they are real German slang but it does not matter as they sound right.
Berlin Noir contains three out of four Bernie Gunther novels, March Violets, The Pale Criminal and German Requiem. The first of these also concerns the German Rings who Mafia like controlled crime in pre Nazi Berlin. The Rings were destroyed by more violent criminals, the Nazis.
The Pale Criminal has Bernie recruited back into the Berlin Police in order to catch a serial killer who may be linked to the ruling Nazi Party. German Requiem moves to post war Berlin and Vienna with refences to the Third Man.
All three stand up in their own right and Mr Kerr can be congratulated on coming up with a new idea and for being able to create a milleu as well as being able to plot and write very well indeed.
Bernie Gunther is welcome and different addition to the ranks of fictional dectectives