Bernie Gunther is a classic anti-hero. Subversive, sly with a keenly developed sense of self preservation, which enables him to survive as a policeman in Hitler’s Germany. Trapped by the system, he finds himself in a situation where he has to work for people he recognises as unrelentingly evil.
After the war however he is free to take up a job at the Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat, until his past catches up with him and he falls foul of the East German Secret Police.
The novel then moves between the action in 1956 when Bernie has to escape his pursuers and find his way back to West Germany and the murder case he was drafted to solve at the Berghof, Hitler’s summer hideaway in the Bavarian Alps in 1939.
The narrative moves seamlessly between the two, evoking a sense of period, place and peril. The pace is relentless, Bernie’s view of leading Nazis such as Heydrich and Borman illuminating. The novel is dark, set shot through with Bernie’s black humour and his analysis of his motives, and those of others, as well as his comments on the current events of his time give “Prussian Blue” depth and historical perspective.
When I first came across the series, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read thrillers set in Nazi Germany. After the first book, I was completely converted. I love the darkness, the moral ambiguity, the vividness of time and place and of course Bernie Gunther himself. Highly recommended.