It is 1956, and Bernie Gunther has a new name (Christoph Ganz), a clean passport, a chip on his shoulder, and a menial low-paying job in Munich. And then an old friend arrives to repay a debt. He encourages Bernie to take a job as a claims adjuster in a major German insurance company. Which is why Bernie, as Christoph, finds himself in Athens investigating a claim by Siegfried Witzel, a brutish former Wehrmacht soldier who served in Greece during the war.
Philip Kerr, the award-winning author of more than 30 novels, passed away on March 23 at the age of 62. His most well-known books centered on the character Detective Bernie Gunther, an ex-policeman turned private detective in Nazi-era Germany, who first appeared in Kerr's Berlin Noir Trilogy. Out this week, the 13th installment in the series, Greeks Bearing Gifts, is a brilliantly suspenseful tale of international intrigue that takes Gunther from Munich to Athens in a hunt for a war criminal. This may not be the last we see of the character: Kerr reportedly had finished a 14th book, Metropolis, which is due out next year. With Kerr's passing, the mystery and thriller genre has lost a true master, and longtime fans are sure to relish one final chance to be swept away in the world of this beloved detective.