24-26. Berlin Noir: Philip Kerr

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24-26. Berlin Noir: Philip Kerr

Post  Patguy on Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:58 am

An omnibus volume collecting the three novels:

March Violets
The Pale Criminal
A German Requiem

“‘That’s another thing you’ve got to learn. A bet’s a bet. You never ever play for money unless you mean to collect. A man that lets you off might expect you to let him off. It makes people nervous, that’s all.’”

Hard-boiled detective trilogy set in Berlin just before and after WWII. Pretty good stuff, very dark. As usual with post-Chandler noirs, the narrator sounds a little like he’s playacting, but it’s not as egregious as say, Ian Rankin. There’s the usual noir violence and misogyny-inflected sex: “The simple fact of the matter is that a man who wakes alone will think of having a woman just as surely as a man who wakes with a wife will think of having breakfast.”

Kerr has a knack for detail, and the Berlin setting is fascinating, even if it feels a little over-researched in parts. E.g.: “This morning, at the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Jägerstrasse, I saw two men, SA men, unscrewing a red Der Stürmer showcase from the wall of a building.” But for every reference-heavy sentence like that one, there’s one with perfect detail work, as when Kerr describes the Hotel Prinz Albrecht Strasse as having “dictator-sized balconies.” Good stuff.

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Re: 24-26. Berlin Noir: Philip Kerr

Post  wmeisel on Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:04 pm

I enjoyed this as well when I read it many years ago.I also recommend A Philosophical Investigation, which was also really good. After that though, I think Kerr went off the rails. I did not enjoy any of his books that I tried to read after that one.

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