A good well crafted detective thriller that never flags and always keeps your attention. This, the first in the Bernie Gunther series of detective stories, is set in Berlin in 1936. The author, Philip Kerr, works in lots of detail about Berlin, the Nazi regime, and the underworld of the day both civil and Nazi after three years of Hitler’s rule. For the most part this has an authentic feel although I may quibble that Kerr paints Goering and Heydrich as perhaps more approachable than history may suggest. Nevertheless, this is a splendid thriller and bowls along with a ‘noir’ style emulating Chandler’s Philip Marlow with numerous quips and wisecracks that work very well. You can easily conjure an image in your mind’s eye of a Bogart figure in a black and white movie film frame, although Kerr’s sex and violence are more graphic. ‘March Violets’ is the first in the ‘Berlin Noir’ trilogy and as a single volume is currently (2014) out of print but is available as a Penguin three novel compendium. This is an excellent read and for those who like some period detail worked in, particularly of the totalitarian regimes, this is a must. Kerr is rather more successful than Carlo Lucarelli and the Mussolini period ‘De Luca’ trilogy at setting the period scene and evokes very well the various locations in Berlin and the prevailing atmosphere. A very convincing and gripping story that will not disappoint.