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If the Dead Rise Not: A Bernie Gunther Mystery (Bernie Gunther Mystery 6) [Hardcover]

Philip Kerr
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 Sep 2009 Bernie Gunther Mystery 6

Berlin 1934. The Nazis have been in power for just eighteen months but already Germany has seen some unpleasant changes. As the city prepares to host the 1936 Olympics, Jews are being expelled from all German sporting organisations - a blatant example of discrimination. Forced to resign as a homicide detective with Berlin's Criminal Police, Bernie is now house detective at the famous Adlon Hotel. The discovery of two bodies - one a businessman and the other a Jewish boxer - involves Bernie in the lives of two hotel guests. One is a beautiful left-wing journalist intent on persuading America to boycott the Berlin Olympiad; the other is a German-Jewish gangster who plans to use the Olympics to enrich himself and the Chicago mob. As events unfold, Bernie uncovers a vast labour and construction racket designed to take advantage of the huge sums the Nazis are prepared to spend to showcase the new Germany to the world. It is a plot that finds its conclusion twenty years later in pre-revolution Cuba, the country to which Bernie flees from Argentina at the end of A Quiet Flame.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; First Edition edition (10 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847249426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847249425
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Kerr was born in Edinburgh in 1956 and read Law at university. Having learned nothing as an undergraduate lawyer he stayed on as postgraduate and read Law and Philosophy, most of this German, which was when and where he first became interested in German twentieth century history and, in particular, the Nazis. Following university he worked as a copywriter at a number of advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, during which time he wrote no advertising slogans of any note. He spent most of his time in advertising researching an idea he'd had for a novel about a Berlin-based policeman, in 1936. And following several trips to Germany - and a great deal of walking around the mean streets of Berlin - his first novel, March Violets, was published in 1989 and introduced the world to Bernie Gunther.
"I loved Berlin before the wall came down; I'm pretty fond of the place now, but back then it was perhaps the most atmospheric city on earth. Having a dark, not to say black sense of humour myself, it's always been somewhere I feel very comfortable."
Having left advertising behind, Kerr worked for the London Evening Standard and produced two more novels featuring Bernie Gunther: The Pale Criminal (1990) and A German Requiem (1991). These were published as an omnibus edition, Berlin Noir in 1992.
Thinking he might like to write something else, he did and published a host of other novels before returning to Bernie Gunther after a gap of sixteen years, with The One from the Other (2007).
Says Kerr, "I never intended to leave such a large gap between Book 3 and Book 4; a lot of other stuff just got in the way; and I feel kind of lucky that people are still as interested in this guy as I am. If anything I'm more interested in him now than I was back in the day."
Two more novels followed, A Quiet Flame (2008) and If the Dead Rise Not (2009).
Field Gray (2010) is perhaps his most ambitious novel yet that features Bernie Gunther. Crossing a span of more than twenty years, it takes Bernie from Cuba, to New York, to Landsberg Prison in Germany where he vividly describes a story that covers his time in Paris, Toulouse, Minsk, Konigsberg, and his life as a German POW in Soviet Russia.
Kerr is already working on an eighth title in the series.
"I don't know how long I can keep doing them; I'll probably write one too many; but I don't feel that's happened yet."
As P.B.Kerr Kerr is also the author of the popular 'Children of the Lamp' series.

Product Description

Review

Kerr brilliantly evokes the edgy atmosphere of the post-war period in one of the most gripping and accomplished detective novels published so far this year - Sunday Times.

Kerr's period detail is utterly convincing. The way he captures a lost Berlin on the brink of cataclysmic change is in turns poignant and gritty … the sense of Havana's humid languor masking revolutionary plots rings every bit as true …what also impresses is Kerr's examination of how a man changes - and how he stays the same - over twenty years, when the two decades are so desperate and blood-spattered … this is a sophisticated thriller that brings the war and its aftermath to life' 'One of this year's finest crime offerings' Independent .

The book recently won the Ellis Peters award for historical crime fiction and it's not hard to see why; both sleazy cities are rendered atmospherically, and Bernie - with his Humphrey Bogart-like blend of sardonic humour and sombre integrity - is among the most winning of current sleuths' Sunday Times.

Philip Kerr has created a wonderful character whose loyalties are not only to his tortured country but to the truth, a vocation that makes for a somewhat dangerous life' (selected as number 1 in the 50 Best Winter Reads) Independent.

From the Inside Flap

Berlin 1934. The Nazis have been in power for just eighteen months but already Germany has seen some unpleasant changes. As the city prepares to host the 1936 Olympics, Jews are being expelled from all German sporting organisations - a blatant example of discrimination. Forced to resign as a homicide detective with Berlin's Criminal Police, Bernie Gunther is now house detective at the famous Adlon Hotel. The discovery of two bodies - one a businessman and the other a Jewish boxer - draws Bernie into the lives of two hotel guests. One is a beautiful left-wing journalist intent on persuading America to boycott the Berlin Olympiad; the other is a Chicago gangster who plans to use the Olympics to enrich himself and the Chicago mob. As events unfold, Bernie uncovers a vast labour and construction racket designed to take advantage of the huge sums the Nazis are prepared to spend to showcase the new Germany to the world. It is a plot that only finds its true conclusion twenty years later in pre-revolution Cuba. Acknowledged as one of today's finest thriller writers, Philip Kerr has drawn comparisons with Raymond Chandler and John le Carré. If the Dead Rise Not, Bernie Gunther's sixth outing, promises to deliver more of the hard-boiled, fast-paced and quick-witted action of Kerr's much-acclaimed novels, The One From the Other and A Quiet Flame.



Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Episode 22 Sep 2009
By J. E. Parry VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the latest installment in the Bernie Gunter series. This is what Kerr does best and shows how much of a trailblazer he was in setting his books in 30's Berlin. The last few books have been a combination of 30's Berlin and Gunter's post war career.

This time we find him in Berlin in 1934 and find that he has recently left the Kripo (criminal police), following the assumption of power by the Nazis, and is working as a house detective in Berlin's best hotel - the Adlon. A dead guest is found in a locked room and a Chinese box is stolen from another guest.

Gunter is also asked to help out with a former colleague's nephew, who is starting out as a homicide detective. Unfortunately the unidentified body turns out to be a Jew. Homicide detectives in Nazi Germany were not allowed to investigate the murders of Jews - it was considered to be a service to society that they were dead.

So Gunter decides to investigate. The case leads him to an encounter with senior Nazi officials, an American gangster, a beautiful American journalist and the building of the Olympic Stadium. 30's Berlin is again brought to life with the problems faced by Jews and those who are not happy with the new government. The way in which the Nazi's tentacles are beginning to grip German society are a great read.

Things are not resolved cleanly and the story moves to Cuba in 1954. The main protaganists meet again in Batista's Havana, just after Castro is jailed for a failed attack on a barracks. Gunter meets the journalist and the gangster again and also bumps into the leading mobsters, such as Meyer Lansky.

Gunter is asked to investigate another murder, at the request of the Mob and things are not as straight forward as anyone thinks.

This is another great addition to the Gunter series. Kerr shows why he is considered to be the king of pre-war thriller writing. Where Furst and Downing now walk, Kerr has already been and plotted the way.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bernie on the slide? 2 May 2013
By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I read my last Bernie Gunther novel almost exactly two years ago. Looking back over that review, I felt Kerr's smart mouthed gumshoe was becoming a little jaded. I put this down to my having read the first 5 Gunther novels in a year. Returning to Berlin for a holiday, seemed like an ideal opportunity to pick up where I'd left off, and so it was. Reading about Bernie's pre-war exploits in the city, made it all the more atmospheric.

Yet now I have finished the novel, I can't help but think that Bernie is still on a downward slide. The mystery in this book is almost non-existent. It's more like a historical soap opera. In itself this wouldn't be a bad thing, but Bernie is in danger of becoming a caricature of himself. The quips that define him come almost too often and are too sharp. They're still funny, but they feel too researched. Lots of classical references, which feel false for a character with a hectic a life as Bernie. For the first time in the series its the author's voice that seems to be coming through his character's mouth.

The narrative moves abruptly from Berlin in 1934 to Cuba in 1954, jumping apparently arbitrarily. The story in Cuba picks up from where the previous Gunther novel (A Quiet Flame) left off. It meanders without much urgency, and one can't help wondering the point of it all. There are some exciting revelations at the end, but they are heavily disguised, being deliberately hidden from the reader by a break in the narrative timeline. Kerr has never done this before, and it feels lazy and disrespectful to his audience.

Despite its flaws 'ITDNR' remains readable throughout. The historical reconstruction is excellent and Bernie is still one of crime fiction's finest flawed heroes. Nevertheless, this book marks a further decline in overall quality. Field Grey is next, which had stellar reviews on release. I hope it marks a return to form.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If the Dead Rise Not 20 Feb 2013
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first part of this novel is set in Berlin, 1934, where we find Bernie Gunther working as house detective at the Adlon Hotel. Mrs Adlon asks Gunther to help her American journalist friend, the beautiful Noreen Charalambides, investigate the death of a Jewish boxer. Of course, Gunther, who is never immune to the charms of a beautiful woman - or the lure of money - agrees. However, their investigation leads them to corruption concerning the preparations for the upcoming Olympic games, American gangsters and escalating Nazi control of all forms of life in Germany. Again, Philip Kerr magnificently recreates the pre-war atmosphere of Germany brilliantly - these books are so atmospheric and full of cameo appearances by real life characters, such as Hess.

In the second part of the book, Gunther does meet up with the main characters again, although it is unlikely he would call many old friends. It is 1954 and he is living in Havana - having left Argentina at the end of the previous novel. Gunther yearns for Germany, although leaving South America (and his deep love of South American music...) is easier said than done. Once again, Noreen needs his help and, yet again, he is unable to refuse her. Also, for a further time, Gunther's skills as a detective are requested when there is a murder and his attempts to live a quiet life seem destined to fail. This is a fantastic addition to a brilliant series - the Bernie Gunther books are stunningly written and I hope there are many more to come.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping 25 Jun 2010
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is a gripping detective story set in Berlin in 1934. The Nazis are in power and Germany is experiencing rapid change. The hero, Bernie Gunther, is a former cop who is now working as a hotel detective. He is investigating two deaths: one which took place in his hotel, and one which a police friend has asked for his assistance on. It's a complicated and skilfully constructed plot which encompasses corruption in the preparation for the Berlin Olympics, the possibility of a US boycott of the Olympics and the treatment of Jews and minorities in 1930s Germany. The plot later moves to Havana in the 1950s and at first you wonder why, but as some central characters re-appear it becomes evident that this is a continuation of the same story.

While this is the sixth Philip Kerr novel to feature hero Bernie Gunther, it is entirely possible to read and enjoy this book without having read the others. Some of the other books actually take place after the events of this one, while others pre-date it.

Philip Kerr's writing style combines the texture of Peter Temple's writing with the hard-boiled wit of Raymond Chandler. It's a pleasure to read. Like the best crime novels, the setting and the characters are as important to the story as the crimes themselves. The characters are wonderfully textured - real people.

My thanks to reviewer Nick Brett for bringing this one to my attention. It's a terrific read.
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