IF THE DEAD RISE NOT by Philip Kerr – in paperback at 10 euros
It is Berlin in 1934 and the Nazis have been in power for just 18 months, but already Germany has seen some unpleasant changes. As the city prepares to host the 1936 Olympics, Jews are being expelled from all German sporting organisations – a blatant example of discrimination.
Forced to resign as a homicide detective with Berlin’s Criminal Police, Bernie is now house detective at the famous Adlon Hotel. The discovery of two bodies – one a businessman and the other a Jewish boxer – involves Bernie in the lives of two hotel guests. One is a beautiful, left-wing journalist intent on persuading America to boycott the Berlin Olympiad; the other is a German-Jewish gangster who plans to use the Olympics to enrich himself and the Chicago mob. As events unfold, Bernie uncovers a vast labour and construction racket designed to take advantage of the huge sums the Nazis are prepared to spend to showcase the new Germany to the world. The plot finds its conclusion 20 years later in pre-revolution Cuba, the country to which Bernie flees from Argentina at the end of Kerr’s A Quiet Flame.
It was Michael Parkinson who recommended Kerr to me as an author on a visit to the Griffin Bookshop many years ago and I’ve since devoured everything of his that I could lay my hands on, starting with his brilliant A Philosophical Investigation. Although his books are always given great reviews, he is less well-known than many of his contemporaries in the crime thriller field. His books are always thoughtful and thought-provoking in addition to the taut plots. If you enjoy Robert Wilson (A Small Death in Lisbon or Blind Man of Seville) then you will love Philip Kerr.