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Prague Fatale [Hardcover]

Philip Kerr
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 17 2012 Bernie Gunther

A Kirkus Reviews Top Ten Crime Novel for 2012

September 1941: Reinhard Heydrich is hosting a gathering to celebrate his appointment as Reichsprotector of Czechoslovakia. He has chosen his guests with care. All are high-ranking Party members and each is a suspect in a crime as yet to be committed: the murder of Heydrich himself.

     Indeed, a murder does occur, but the victim is a young adjutant on Heydrich’s staff, found dead in his room, the door and windows bolted from the inside. Anticipating foul play, Heydrich had already ordered Bernie Gunther to Prague. After more than a decade in Berlin's Kripo, Bernie had jumped ship as the Nazis came to power, setting himself up as a private detective. But Heydrich, who managed to subsume Kripo into his own SS operations, has forced Bernie back to police work. Now, searching for the killer, Gunther must pick through the lives of some of the Reich’s most odious officials.

     A perfect locked-room mystery. But because Philip Kerr is a master of the sleight of hand, Prague Fatale is also a tense political thriller: a complex tale of spies, partisan terrorists, vicious infighting, and a turncoat traitor situated in the upper reaches of the Third Reich.

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Prague Fatale + A Man Without Breath
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Product Description


“The allure of these novels is that Bernie is such an interesting creation, a Chandleresque knight errant caught in insane historical surroundings.” —John Powers, Fresh Air, NPR

German private detective Bernie Gunther would have been respected by Philip Marlowe and the two of them would have enjoyed sitting down at a bar and talking. —Jonathan Ames,

"Prague Fatale is classic Philip Kerr, a first-person noir detective story worthy of Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler in every regard, seamlessly transplanted to war-era Europe. Every time I finish another Gunther novel, I think, “This is as good as it gets.” Then inevitably, the next one comes along and is even better!"--Bruce Tierney,

“Bernie Gunther, the indomitable Berliner at the heart of this great series, is a man pummeled by history. . . . The great strength of Field Gray is Kerr’s overpowering portrait of the war’s horrors, [and] the glue holding it all together is Bernie himself, our battered, defiant German Everyman.”—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post

“A wily if unreliable narrator, Bernie may be forgiven for holding his cards so close to his chest as he tries to do the right thing in so many wrong places. Shades of the moral ambiguity of some of Graham Greene’s and John le Carré’s more memorable characters are here, as is the spirit of Raymond Chandler’s knight-errant, Philip Marlowe. Kerr’s ability to blend the elements of mystery and spy thriller into a satisfying package makes Field Gray the best in a long line of great entries in the series.”—Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times


"In Prague Fatale, [Bernie Gunther] is back in the early days of the Second World War, dealing with a case that combines espionage, terrorism and a locked-room mystery [. . .] Philip Kerr does his usual fine job of setting the scenes and portraying the personalities of the era.  His Nazis are note-perfect creations, as are the other characters, fictional and historical, of Second World War-era Europe, all of it flavoured by the wisecracking, tough-talking Gunther, who has been called the Sam Spade of Germany.  Kerr knows his modern German history, and is gifted at storytelling, and Gunther is a dark anti-hero for the ages."--H. J. Kirchhoff, The Globe and Mail

"[Philip Kerr] is an absolute master of the genre."--The Courier-Journal

“[Prague Fatale] is clever and compelling, proving once again that the Bernie Gunther books are, by a long chalk, the best crime series around today.” –The Daily Beast

"Inside this mesmerizing novel, set mainly in a country house outside Prague, is a tantalizing locked-door murder mystery that will thrill fans of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels."--Carol Memmott, USA Today

About the Author

Philip Kerr is the author of seven previous Bernie Gunther novels, most recently Field Gray, which was a New York Times bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011. Its predecessor, If the Dead Rise Not, was a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best Hardcover Fiction. As. P. B. Kerr, he is the author of the young adult series Children of the Lamp. Kerr lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing Aug. 11 2012
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
8th book in the Bernie Gunther series

“Prague Fatale” is as absorbing as its other companions in the series. The previous novels covered a varied time period right up to the 1950’s and were staged in many countries including South America, Cuba and the US. This time we start off in 1941 deep into WW11 action with Bernie now under the command of Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotector of Bohemia.

After leaving the horrors of the Eastern Front the smart-mouthed, cynical and stubborn Bernie Gunther returns to Berlin to regain his old position at Kripo. The RAF is targeting his beloved city nightly: the blackouts, the destruction and food rationing are playing havoc with day to day life. Bernie’s first case is to investigate the suspicious violent death of a Dutch railway worker. There is always an intriguing sub-plot Bernie is a master at multitasking hence he also finds himself in the middle of a rape attempt. Wouldn’t you know it! The victim Arianne is a real beauty and she soon has Bernie under her spell. She turns out to be more trouble than our protagonist suspects…..

When Reinhard Heydrich orders him to spend the weekend at his country house with senor SS and SD figures Bernie puts everything on hold and goes with Arianne to Prague. Things get hectic when one of Heydrich’s aides-de-camp is found murdered in his locked room. Bernie is ordered to investigate and his no nonsense, no bull style quickly raises the ire of the Nazi brass. Trouble should have been Bernie’s middle name. Most of the action takes place at Heydrich’s estate, in Arianne’s hotel room and in the terrifying police HQ in Prague.

"Prague Fatale” is a fast paced tale with an endlessly explosive atmosphere, an excellent and captivating novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New "Furst" for Bernie July 21 2012
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
This is the eighth Bernie Gunther novel and with it the author regains his footing. A couple of the recent entries set after WW2 in Argentina and Cuba were not as compelling. But in this outing we are treated to the original stubborn but effective detective. Perhaps because it takes place in 1941 at the height of Nazi conquest and inter-organization intrigue that this novel works. Indeed there was a Alan Furst-like quality to the plot as it deals with Reinhard Heydrich, Czech terrorists, a German traitor, a femme fatale, and a locked door murder mystery.

Heydrich is written about in such diabolical form that it near lionizes his intellect. And a new character, Kahlo, plays Watson to Bernie's Holmes helped to liven up the pace and dialogue as they went about dissecting the crime scene and assemblage of SS, SD, and Nazi suspects. Kerr appropriately addresses the irony of a murder investigation at the time when Nazi Einsatzgruppen death squads are roaming behind the advancing Wehrmacht executing Jews, partisans, and cut-off Soviet forces. Bernie's mordant Berliner humour, contested morals and hardheadedness help him survive in a very dangerous time and make for an entertaining read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love Bernie Dec 31 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My kind of detective. I enjoy Phillip Kerr's style of writing - mystery wrapped in history. Well worth the read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Thrills and Chills of a Baffling Mystery Oct. 21 2012
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
The most attractive feature of any Philip Kerr novel, especially the Bernie Gunther series, is its ability to create a sense of clear and present danger that accompanies a mystery that begs to be solved. All those who are anywhere near the action in his novels should rightfully fear for his or her life. Anyone who is bold enough to shrug off that fear and face the challenge of getting at the truth, regardless of its inconvenience, will be rewarded with knowing that evil is conquerable and that justice can prevail even if it is beset by human failure. The setting for this particular gem is wartime Berlin and Prague and the main players are a pack of wolfish SS types who are bent on destroying both the Czech culture and the Jewish people. Offsetting this gallery of rogues is an equally determined and vicious Czech underground prepared to do anything to defeat the evil purposes of their Nazi foes. The hostility between these two camps is very strongly felt in this strange tale of Kafkaesque intrigue and horror involving a string of murders that follows a trail directly to SS headquartes in Prague. In the midst of this war zone are two figures contending for what is left of the moral high ground: a prominent German SS general, named Heydrich who, as protector of Bohemia, wants to find out who killed one of his trusted adjutants, and a very professionally dedicated gumshoe named Gunther who has been called in to lead the investigation. As Gunther's investigation unfolds, involving various interconnected incidents, the reader discovers another story emerging. Read more ›
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