PDF READ March Violets ✓ Philip Kerr
After complaining that I was running out of re reads from Raymond Chandler s oeuvre of Philip Marlowe mysteries a friend suggested that I take a look at the noir novels of Philip Kerr s Berlin detective Bernie Gunther Never heard of him I took a uick lookOne reviewer claimed that Kerr was even better than Chandler Really I doubted that but I promised myself that I would be please March Violets M rzveilchen a term of derision used by the Old Fighters Alte K mpfer to refer to those who opportunistically joined up with the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei aka the Nazi Party only after the Enabling Act Erm chtigungsgesetz was passed in March of 1933 which effectively gave Chancellor Adolph Hitler unprecedented power over the people of the Reich kind of the euivalent of johnny come latelyn00b but in Nazi Germany We meet our detective Bernard Bernie Gunther in a Berlin chock full of March Violets now well practiced in their party loyalty after three ears of the world of the Third Reich if math isn t our strong suit that means it s 1936 This is all a backdrop however to what is in most ways a classic noir detective novel one in which stakes are higher because a tussle with the wrong characters can easily land ou among the faceless masses gone missing shipped off to a KZ Konzentrationslager aka concentration camp Gunther has managed to stay in the good graces of the powers that be as a former member of the Krippo Bernie bowed out in 1933 unable to bear the changes that came with total Nazi power and as a recipient of a Second Class Iron Cross for his service in WWI Nonetheless the case handed to him rich guys apparently love to kidnap PIs in limousines at odd hours regardless of place and time has Bernie testing his luck as he interferes with the rich famous and powerful which to no one s surprise involves high ranking Nazi officials Author Philip Kerr makes good use of his chosen setting the 1936 Summer Olympics have officials rushing to remove Neues Volk from magazine stands and Jews not wanted signs taken down from popular tourist spots Bernie even gets to witness the triumph of Jesse Owens in a moment that leaves Berliners thinking only of one race the one taking place on the track below Kerr also makes a point of capturing some of the at times stranger than fiction uirks of the likes of Hermann G ring who dashes off to down a handful of pink pills Kerr doesn t take lightly the gravity of what is going on in Berlin It doesn t feel like a clever twist cast aside for the sake of the mystery Rather the environment becomes a character unto itself I ve heard this isn t the strongest of the Bernard Gunther collection so I certainly plan to continue with the series Thanks Glossary of Nazi Germany which is apparently a thing on Wikipedia ou learn something new every day G ring showed up to Mondorf les BainsCamp Ashcan with over twenty thousand tablets of what after being sent to FBI labs for inspection turned out to be a synthetic drug that fills a gap between the codeine and morphine groups paracodeine a bit of info I learned about from Jack El Hai s The Nazi and the Psychiatrist pp 11 12 Enjoyed this trip to 1930s Germany as the Nazi Party is exerting it s power and remaking the country in the image it wants to present to the world while removing unacceptable people from the streets and homes of the nation In this setting we encounter Bernhard Gunther formerly of the police now a private investigator specializing in finding things and people who are missing a potentially lucrative area nowOne of my favorite scenes occurs as Bernie meets Hermann Goering in what is a wonderful parody of the times and men Close up I was struck by smooth almost babyish uality of his skin and I wondered if it was powdered We sat down For several minutes he continued to appear delighted at my being there almost childishly so and after a while he felt obliged to explain himself I ve always wanted to meet a real private detective he said Tell me have ou ever read any of Dashiell Hammett s detective stories He s an American but I think he s wonderful I can t say I have sir Oh but The Great Chili Kill-Off you should I shall lendou a German edition of Red Harvest You ll enjoy it And do UX Storytellers - Connecting the Dots you carry a gun Herr Gunther Sometimes sir when I think I might need it Goering beamed like an excited schoolboy Areou carrying it now I shook my head Rienacker here thought it might scare the cat A pity said Goering I should like to have seen the gun of a real shamus p132Kerr manages to bring all of these people into the everyday without p132Kerr manages to bring all of these people into the everyday without the evil they perpetrate without a second thought They are banal creatures with evil as second natureDuring the course of this mystery novel the 1936 Olympiad also takes place in Berlin and with it the spectacular performance of one Jesse Owens of the United States Bernie muses Watching the tall graceful negro accelerate down the track making a mockery of crackpot theories of Aryan superiority I thought that Owens was nothing so much as as a Man for whom other men were simply a painful embarrassment To run like that was the meaning of the
Earth And If There Was and if there was master race it was certainly not going to exclude someone like Jesse Owens p188The central mystery itself which involves killings and theft forces Bernie to deal with multiple levels of German society and the German policeGestapo for better or worseIt s a seedy tawdry world he often inhabits and a dangerous time in Berlin as all citizens are negotiating the new rules of livingI m looking forward to continuing with this series and watching Gunther and his various compatriots deal with the rise of Nazism and the road to war Highly recommended for mystery and historical fiction readers Kripo Noir HomageThe first volume of Scottish author Philip Kerr s Berlin Noir trilogy later expanded to 13 novels is an immaculately conceived and executed homage to the pulp fiction of Raymond Chandler that deserves praise as a work of literature in its own rightThe main difference between the originals and the homage is that in March Violets the setting is transposed to 1936 Nazi Germany just as the Berlin
Games are about to commenceThe writing is word perfect There s enough wise crackery and sexual bravado the private investigator Bernard Gunther to remind Gentlemen Prefer Blondes But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes you of Philip Marlowe while the Nazi context givesou a close perspective on corruption crime detection and punishment in the early Third Reich We even get a snapshot of life in Dachau Shorn of all human rights man reverts back to the animal To stay alive it is first necessary to die a little I learned that there were only two kinds of patient the sick who always died and the injured who sometimes also got sick In this clinic death is the usual cure that is available to patients Death seems to come as a relief from the privations of life in a concentration campAuthoritarian RespectThe plot is subtle and both needs and rewards close attention There are numerous law enforcement and paramilitary authorities eg the traditional police force Kripo the SA the SS and the Gestapo all of which mark out their territory and perpetuate an uneasy rivalry Nobody can be trusted whether in law enforcement politics the Nazi Party business or the community You can see how and why people were cheated out of their basic human rights and became obedient subjects of a totalitarian regime They just put up and shut up Anybody who objected or complained was either shot or shipped off to a concentration camp Paradoxically authority was everywhere but genuine respect for authority was non existent SS officer in black dress uniformIs That An Envelope in Your PocketAn HomageI ve worked as a private investigator ever since I resigned from Kripo My resignation wasn t entirely voluntary I had to leave because I was tired of playing second fiddle to the Third Reich In my line of work there s nothing I hate than short fat badly educated millionaires especially ones with tall beautiful blonde wives Herr Hermann Six satisfied all of these criteria even if he didn t necessarily satisfy his wife Ilse Rudel the actress I have no reason to believe he did or didn t satisfy her it s just that when a woman s husband brags about satisfying her I automatically disbelieve him I suppose I could have asked her but we didn t have much time and we had better things to doIlse was the reason Herr Six summoned me to his mansion one afternoon in June 1936 From the outside it looked like a museum or a public art gallery I couldn t live in a place like that even if it was rent free and the maids ran around ready willing and naked Herr Six wanted to pay me 25000 Marks to prove that Ilse was having an affair It was a lot of. Hailed by Salman Rushdie as a brilliantly innovative thriller writer Philip Kerr is the creator of taut gripping noir tinged mysteries that are nothing short of spellbinding The first book of the Berlin Noir trilogy March Violets introduces readers to Bernie Gunther an ex policeman who thought he'd seen everything on the streets of 1930's Berlin; until he turned freelance and each case he tackled sucked him further into the grisly excesses of Nazi su. Possibility that the theft was a side issue to murder driven by typical motives such as jealousy political competition or cover up of some corrupt scheme The clues he turns up takes him down all these paths and leads him on a fascinating tour of German society on the verge of war Not everyone was obsessed with racial purity or surviving the oppression People were trying to live their lives despite Hitler and many others were March Violets those who jump on the Party wagon and riding it to make a uick profit People have a lot to hide and poor Bernie gets beat up or nearly killed a lot But he has a thick skin to go with his devious mind and the alignment of justice and personal revenge drives him to keep going He s pretty much a lech which leads him to trysts whenever the opportunity comes upThus ou can see a classic noir plot in an unusual setting of Nazi Germany I loved the combination especially when it brings Bernie s cynical outlook to deflate the grandiose and evil among the Nazis down to the level of pompous and greedy Cameos of nefarious people in this tale include Goering who hired him briefly to determine the fate of his gay art buyer and Heydrich who forces him to take on a dangerous undercover task The latter is the start of a relationship that sets his path in subseuent books in the series of which I have only read oneAside from limitations in the depth of Kerr s new hero in this book the biggest writing sin is the excessive use of Chanderesue similes They are just too painful and distracting Luckily he toned it down in later books This small set should give ou a clear picture Fatso pulled the huge brown and black moustache that clung to his curling lip like a bat on a crypt wallI drove home feeling like a ventrilouist s mouth ulcerHe adjusted his grip on the gun and swallowed nervously his Adam s apple tossing around like a honeymoon couple under a thin pink sheetTesmer pointed a face at me in which belligerence was moulded like cornice work on a Gothic follyThey both had cool patient eyes like mussels in brineHe had mustard coloured hair coifed by a competition sheep shearer and a nose like a champaign corkshe d evidently been wearing a boxing glove when she applied the crimson lipstick to her paperclip of her mouth Her breasts were like the rear ends of a pair of dray horses at the end of a long hard day This is going to be a short one March Violets is probably the first classic detective Noir that I ve read What attracted me towards this series was the setting I have a fascination for Berlin and I do not know much about the pre war period in the city Overall I liked this novel but I think there is room for improvement I learned interesting aspects about pre war Germany and the extensive corruption in that period I enjoyed the sarcastic humour of the detective and the mystery was satisfying What rubbed me the wrong way was the detective s love life He seemed to be surrounded only by beautiful women and all were than eager to spread their legs for Bernie almost instantly A friend told me in the comments section that this will not happen too much in the future and the writing will also get better so I can t wait to see for myself I usually read two novels before I make up my mind about a series so I will probably get to the next one soon Berlin NoirMarch Violets Philip Kerr s 1992 introduction to German detective Bernard Gunther is a deliciously dark journey through the 1936 Berlin underground We follow Gunther along an investigation that connects with the 36 Olympics with Jesse Owens midnight liaisons with Prime Minister Herman Goering and solving a crime with the Gestapo lurking in the shadowsGunther with a mind like a comic book is a WWI German veteran of the Turkish campaign and former Berlin police officer who is now doing Private Investigator work His clients include Jewish mothers looking for their missing person son and lost gypsies When a German steel magnate calls with a high Back in the bedroom she was still standing there waiting for me to come and help myself Impatient of her I snatched her knickers down pulling her onto the bed where I prised her sleek tanned thighs apart like an excited scholar opening a priceless book For uite a while I pored over the text turning the pages with my fingers and feasting my eyes on what I had never dreamed of possessing I have to appreciate the fact that Bernhard Bernie Gunther compares having sex with a beautiful woman with the same excitement that a scholarbook collector might feel with possessing a rare book I knew I was going to like this guy Bernie has been watching with bitter amusement as the powers that be are slowly sanitizing the city of in particular their malicious anti semitism in preparation for the 1936 Olympic Games They do not want to offend all those people who #Will Be Coming To Berlin From All #be coming to Berlin from all the world to see Jesse Owens kick some Aryan ass It is inconceivable that a black man can beat the best athletes of the master race Watching the tall graceful negro accelerate down the track making a mockery of crackpot theories of Aryan superiority I thought that Owens was nothing so much as a Man for whom other men were simply a painful embarrassment To run like that was the meaning of the earth and if ever there was a master race it was certainly not going to exclude someone like Jesse Owens The Nazis are even letting books that have been previously banned reappear in local bookshops A woman even says to Bernie that he better run down and buy Alfred Doblin s great novel Berlin Alexanderplatz and read it before it is banned once My uestion is if the Nazi Party truly believes that what they are doing and what they believe is correct then why do they feel the need to hide their behavior from other people Bernie used to be a Bull for the police department but has found that his personality is better suited to private investigation He might still have to deal with hypocrisy but he doesn t have to work for hypocrisy He takes a job working for the ultra wealthy Hermann Six who wants him to recover a necklace that was stolen from his daughter s house the night that she and her husband were murdered Bernie also almost meets Six s movie star wife Ilse Rudel I watched her walk towards the library door behind me Frau Six I couldn t get over it was tall and blonde and as healthy looking as her husband s swiss bank account There was a sulkiness about her mouth and my acuaintance with the science of physiognomy told me that she was used to having her own way in cash Bernie about catches a chill as she walks by him She d eventually warms up The case takes Bernie places he never wanted to be like in the middle of a power play between Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler He also has the distinct displeasure of meeting Reinhard Heydrich Truly this is a trio of SOBs who if there is such a place as hell should be burning at the deepest darkest stankiest level of perpetual agony I am Obergruppenfuhrer Heydrich which just about makes me toss my cookies Reinhard Psychopath HeydrichIt is difficult living in a society in so much upheaval People are disappearing concentration camps are already being established and no one knows what the code for living is any It changes and given time everyone feels like eventually they will trip up and be punished for some infraction that they didn t even know existed You are Nothing Your Nation is Everything Just when ou think that Bernie has taken all the thumps to the head the body blows and the mind twists of multilayered lies that he can take he gets sent to Dachau by The Gestapo To Extract Gestapo to extract that is dire to key individuals important to the party He finds it or he stays Needless to say he is incentivized His luck hadn t so much run out as jumped on a fucking motorcycle and is heading for the horizon Philip Kerr manages between all the hardboiled dialogue to layer in a real sense of what is really going on and how everyone at every level of society is being affected by such a radical regime change It is like a galloping horse that no one is strong enough to haul back on the reins and slow it down It is truly a scary time for all German people even those who feel like they are in the favored groups For Jews we all know what they go through I just had no idea it was beginning this early Some of the hardboiled dialogue is really good some is ridiculous and sometimes it is hilarious as well I m definitely looking forward to the other two books in the Berlin Noir trilogy I m also looking forward to picking up Doblin two books in the Berlin Noir trilogy I m also looking forward to picking up Doblin book before it disappears from the stores again If ou wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at. Victims; raucous nightclubs; the Olympic games where Jesse Owens tramples the theory of Aryan racial superiority; the boudoir of a famous actress; and finally to the Dachau concentration camp Fights with Gestapo agents shoot outs with adulterers run ins with a variety of criminals and dead bodies in unexpected places keep readers guessing to the very endHard hitting fast paced and richly detailed March Violets is noir writing at its blackest and bes. .
Olympic Games are about to commenceThe writing is word perfect There s enough wise crackery and sexual bravado
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Money back then It would have paid off all of my debts and funded my lifestyle for several Better Git It in Your Soul years Even so I was reluctant to take on the case at least until Herr Six told me that they didn t cohabit and Ilse actually lived in a separate apartment in Potsdam not far from the UFA film studioAnyway I decided to accept his proposal at which point he opened the safe behind his untidy desk it was as big as a billiard table and removed an envelope which when I checked it contained payment in full in cash He asked me when I could start the job Normally I would respond that I d start when I d spent the first half of my fee but I didn t think we d have the same sense of humour It was bad enough that evidently we had the same taste in womenBefore I had the chance to enuire about Ilse s address there was an insistent knock on the door of the study we were in We both turned around at the same time and before he could respond a woman who I knew to be Ilse entered the study I had already seen all of her films and didn t need to be convinced that she was the most beautiful woman in Berlin She was even impressive off screen and in the fleshHerr Six looked her up and down in the same manner I had perhaps mimicking me and said Very convenient timing Ilse Can I introduceou to When All Is Said your new security consultant Bernard Graye She smiled and responded Hello Bernie At the same time she shook my hand Her hand was as firm and soft as I imagined her breasts would be I had some inkling of what they were like because I could see the pressure they exerted on her transparent flesh coloured blouse Her nipples projected like two rivets on the hull of a Kriegsmarine battleshipHerr Six returned to the safe and withdrew another envelope presumably containing cash and handed it to Ilse She asked Do I have to pay Bernie out of this He shook his head and said I ve already taken care of Herr Graye You needn t worryour pretty little head about that It was my turn to speak Herr Six could I impose on Just a Child: Britain's Biggest Child Abuse Scandal Exposed you to book me a taxi please Ilse intervened before he had time to respond Where doou need to go Bernie Perhaps I could take Aberrant XWF you for a ride Thankou Frau Six I live about 100 meters from Potsdam Hauptbahnhof Good You re on my way and within walking distance Well I m glad that s all sorted said Herr Six These arrangements have turned out to be much convenient than I anticipated Ilse sat in the back of her Mercedes with me Only then did I realise that she had a driver I repeated my directions for him and we got on our way No sooner had we left the kerbside than Ilse moved closer to me and sat in the middle seat She saw my smile and reciprocated with her own This looked like the beginning of a beautiful friendship as they say in CasablancaWhen we turned right at the end of the street she almost fell over me and her head rested on my shoulder where it remained until I lifted her jaw and kissed her lips I was confident the driver couldn t see usI was directly behind him and hopefully his head rest obscured his visionIlse kissed like a newly wed wife trying to negotiate a higher monthly allowance than she received as a starlet beloved of the biggest production company in townThe journey to Potsdam seemed to take less time than the standard forty minutes not that I scrutinised my watchWhen the driver stopped outside my building and I prepared to get out Ilse said to the driver Thanks Rudi You can go home I ll walk the rest of the way We both got out of the car and watched it move slowly off into the sunset I put my arms around Ilse and pulled her closer to me When our hips touched she sensed my erection before clasping it with her hand like a butcher checking a sausage for uality control purposes Then she asked Well are ou going to invite me up for a drink Once inside the lobby the elevator seemed to take a lifetime both to arrive on the ground floor and to get to my apartment on the fourth We continued to practise our kissing techniue until the lift stopped and Ilse waited for me to lead the way to my doorToday was the day my cleaner normally visited so I was desperately hoping my apartment would be presentable It had been a bit of a mess when I left for work this morning We walked along the hallway towards the lounge room where the cleaner had left on a lamp next to the lounge suite Ilse removed her blouse as we walked and handed it to me while she reached for my other hand She seemed to be looking for my bedroom before I d even poured her a drinkShe turned #HER BACK ON THE LOUNGE ROOM #back on the lounge room we got to the end of the hallway and pouted her lips for me to kiss As I reached towards her I noticed a black uniform in the chair in the far corner I didn t remember leaving it there this morning nor do I recall ever owning an SS officer s dress uniform I pulled away from Ilse and had a closer look Not only was there a uniform but there was a oung man in it holding a pistol which as far as I could tell was pointed at my head Herr Graye said the officer Thank ou for turning up so promptly We weren t sure how long I d turning up so promptly We weren t sure how long I d to wait Frau Six I presume welcome to ou too She turned to face him and he stood up to greet her as if he already knew how important she was not just some woman in the arms of a private detective as topless as Venus de Milo I doubt whether Herr Six had warned the SS officer that he might see the intimate side of Frau Six but he had definitely caught us if not in the act then immediately before the act I hoped that this would su Having recently read the latest Bernie Gunther novel Greeks Bearing Gifts I was saddened to read of the death of Philip Kerr This made me go back to the very first Gunther novel March Violets the beginning of the Berlin Noir trilogy which I read in 1989 and have re visited a few times since This time I listened to the audio version Oddly at first Bernie has an American accent but then I suppose he is modelled on an old fashioned gumshoe the original world weary wise cracking private detective Although this is set in 1936 Germany he would have been eually at home in Chicago and gradually I got used to the narrator and the strangeness of other characters having German accents while Bernie himself sounded rather like the narrator and the strangeness of other characters having German accents while Bernie himself sounded rather like SpadeWhen we first meet Bernie Gunther he is 38 ears old and ex cop turned PI Hired by the rich industrialist Hermann Six to recover a diamond necklace stolen from his daughter s house when she and her husband were killed This first investigation sees Bernie seduced by an actress dealing with crime syndicates attending the Olympic games and spending time in Dauchau The fictional world that Kerr created with such care is also peopled by real historical characters such as Goering and Heydrich Without doubt Bernie Gunther is one of my favourite fictional characters I remember being delighted when after a long break Philip Kerr resurrected Gunther when I thought that the original trilogy were all that we would see from him I am very grateful for all the further adventures we did have to read I never tired of reading the world that Kerr created and I enjoyed going back to the original and first adventure 25 Stars Bernard Gunther is a private eye specializing in missing persons In Hitler s Berlin He is never short of work A thriller with an interesting setting but the author s numerous wisecracks became a bit tiresome and just didnt float my boat overall I am not a fan of private Eye style thrillers which become a series but I choose this book because it was set in Berlin during the Winter of 1936 and thought the setting for a crime novel in Nazi Germany could work and be really interesting About 50 pages into the Novel I became very tired of the sarcasm and endless wisecrack attempts at humor of the narrator and while I enjoy humour in any novel this seemed forced I did find the author s sense of time and place acurate and the book well researched and this was the only reason I stuck with the novel as I found the characters and the plot a bit flatAn ok read but not one I will be recommending This is a case in which the first in a great series has significant flaws but represents an essential read to set the context and history of the lead character PI Bernie Gunther makes a pretty good business tracking down people who have disappeared That most of them are found to have been permanently disappeared by Nazi or communist factions is a sign of the times Berlin in 1936 Out of the blue he gets tasked for a job by a wealthy steel magnate the recovery of an expensive diamond brooch taken during the murder of his daughter and her husband Though he is supposed to leave the murder aspect aside for the police he can t help it that finding the jewelry reuires him to investigate the. BcultureBernhard Gunther a hard boiled Berlin detective who specializes in tracking down missing persons mostly Jews He is summoned by a wealthy industrialist to find the murderer of his daughter and son in law killed during the robbery of a priceless diamond necklaceGunther uickly is catapulted into a major political scandal involving Hitler's two main henchmen Goering and Himmler The search for clues takes Gunther to morgues overflowing with Nazi.