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If the Dead Rise Not: A Bernie Gunther Mystery (Bernie Gunther Mystery 6) Hardcover – 10 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; First Edition edition (10 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847249426
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847249425
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 4.2 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 315,012 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


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

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 Jun. 2010
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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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Parry VINE VOICE on 22 Sept. 2009
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Fitzgerald on 25 May 2010
Format: Paperback
I was looking for something new and interesting to read and a mate of mine recommended Philip Kerr. This is the first book I've read of his and I LOVE it! Intelligent, quick-witted and entertaining... great stuff!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the first Philip Kerr-Bernie Gunther novel I've read, even though I am a great fan of historical fiction, particularly World War 1 and World War 2 genre. I picked this up and even though I probably should have started with Kerr's earlier books to get an idea of the Bernie Gunther character, this book was a very good read.

Set in Berlin in 1934 and involving some hefty plot points like Nazis, the coming Berlin Olympics, and several suspicious deaths Bernie investigates, the same characters meet up in Havana 20 years later. People are still meeting untimely ends and Bernie, who has evidently lived a cat's nine lives in the intervening twenty years, is involved. Many "real life people" make appearances in the book, including the whole Meyer Lansky crowd in 1950's Havana gambling spots and hotels.

Kerr is an excellent writer. He introduces plot points and characters who, in a lesser writer's hand, would seem slightly ridiculous. As a first time reader of the Gunther novels, I was introduced to nuanced character whose adventures I will now seek out in Kerr's backlist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By F.R. Jameson on 28 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
Do Germans actually have pantomimes in the same way the British do?

Is the phrase "let sleeping dogs lie" one which exists in German as well as English?

Philip Kerr's novel inadvertently raises these questions. It's something which - I suppose - is always possible when an English author writes a first-person narration from the point of view of a character from a completely different cultural tradition (in this case an ex-cop in Nazi Germany). Firstly, our hero notes that he and his companion are as inconspicuous as a pantomime horse, but is that not an English tradition? Would that really be an analogy that exists to a German speaker? Similarly he uses the phrase `let sleeping dogs lie' - but that is an old English expression, does it really translate that literally into German? Or would there be some other similar-meaning phrase which would be used instead? Okay, perhaps I'm being unfair on the second one, as by the time Gunther observes "it gives truth to the expression let sleeping does lie", he has learnt English - and so one could argue that that truism is something he's picked up in his new vocabulary. But I found it jarring nonetheless. I was quite prepared to believe the setting of 1934 Berlin, and later on 1954 Havana, but found odd moments like that disturbed me from the fantasy. All of a sudden, it became an Englishman relating this tale - not a German private detective - and the whole picture became fuzzier around the edges.

The last time I met Bernie Gunther, he was a cop in post-war Berlin. This time he is an ex-cop in pre-war Berlin (thrown out because he won't swear allegiance to the Nazis). In his job as a hotel detective, he meets a glamorous American, a gangster on a business vacation and a couple of copses.
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