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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Philip Kerr, the much anticipated return of Bernie Gunther in a series hailed by The Daily Beast as "the best crime novels around today".
Once I'd been a good detective in Kripo, but that was a while ago, before the criminals wore smart gray uniforms and nearly everyone locked up was innocent. Being a Berlin cop in 1942 was a little like putting down mousetraps in a cage full of tigers.
The war is over. Bernie Gunther, our sardonic former Berlin homicide detective and unwilling SS officer, is now living on the French Riviera. It is 1956, and Bernie is the go-to guy at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, the man you turn to for touring tips or if you need a fourth for bridge. As it happens, a local writer needs just that - someone to fill the fourth seat in a regular game that is the usual evening diversion at the Villa Mauresque. Not just any writer. Perhaps the richest and most famous living writer in the world: W. Somerset Maugham. And it turns out it is not just a bridge partner that he needs; it's some professional advice. Maugham is being blackmailed - perhaps because of his unorthodox lifestyle. Or perhaps because of something in his past, because once upon a time, Maugham worked for the British secret service, and the people now blackmailing him are spies.
As Gunther fans know, all roads lead back to the viper's nest that was Hitler's Third Reich and to the killing fields that spread like a disease across Europe. Even in 1956, peace has not come to the continent: Now the Soviets have the H-bomb, and spies from every major power feel free to make all of Europe their personal playground.
©2016 Philip Kerr (P)2016 Penguin Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Narrator John Lee and author Philip Kerr's German cop, Bernie Gunther, have been together for a while now, but familiarity hasn't dimmed their affinity for each other.... Lee's telling interpretations of oily ex-Nazis, local rich folk, the elderly Maugham and his un-closeted gay set, and Gunther's love interests help color Kerr's undecorated writing and add to the book's undisputed pleasures." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By antonio on 11-26-16

Sardonic Bernie goes to French riviera

I am a big fan of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther books, but I have to agree with the lukewarm reviews of the latest stories, including this one. It's 1956 and Gunther is working as a hotel concierge on the French Riviera under an assumed name. Bernie is confronted to the blackmail of a very famous writer and, as investigates, other skeletons from WW2 come out of the closet.
The writing is smooth, but the plot at time deceiving and convoluted. I read it to the end and am still looking forward to the next Bernie’s book but this one wasn't one of the best.
I am mixed on John Lee’s performance : a bit too crafted and turns into comedy what should be a noir with drama and real suspense…

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By DobieChuck on 03-30-16

Nobody beats Bernie

This is one of the better series in mystery fiction, and this offering is no exception... As usual Bernie finds himself knee deep in the proverbial smelly stuff, and somehow makes it amusing... I love the historical aspect to these novels, and this one gives a double dose w/ both world history and literary history... We see the very beginning of the cold war getting it's legs and the casual, and not so casual digs at the French are deliciously entertaining... I clipped several to send to friends... The mystery is easy paced yet engaging... The casual flow works well w/ the literary and espionage backdrop... The narration is fantastic and only adds to an already above average story... Worth the credit... FYI, if interested you can start the series at any point and not miss anything...

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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