Synopses & Reviews
A Kirkus Reviews
Top Ten Crime Novel for 2012
September 1941: Reinhard Heydrich is hosting a gathering to celebrate his appointment as Reichsprotector of Czechoslovakia. He has chosen his guests with care. All are high-ranking Party members and each is a suspect in a crime as yet to be committed: the murder of Heydrich himself.
Indeed, a murder does occur, but the victim is a young adjutant on Heydrich's staff, found dead in his room, the door and windows bolted from the inside. Anticipating foul play, Heydrich had already ordered Bernie Gunther to Prague. After more than a decade in Berlin's Kripo, Bernie had jumped ship as the Nazis came to power, setting himself up as a private detective. But Heydrich, who managed to subsume Kripo into his own SS operations, has forced Bernie back to police work. Now, searching for the killer, Gunther must pick through the lives of some of the Reich's most odious officials.
A perfect locked-room mystery. But because Philip Kerr is a master of the sleight of hand, Prague Fatale is also a tense political thriller: a complex tale of spies, partisan terrorists, vicious infighting, and a turncoat traitor situated in the upper reaches of the Third Reich.
"Kerr's stellar eighth Bernie Gunther novel (after 2011's Field Gray) takes the Berlin cop to Prague in October 1941, to investigate the murder of an adjutant of feared SS Gen. Reinhard Heydrich, who's just become the Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. The morning after a drunken party attended by SS officers at Heydrich's country estate outside Prague, the adjutant, who was shaken by what he witnessed as part of a Nazi death squad in Latvia, is found dead in a locked guestroom. Heydrich wants Gunther, suicidal himself after similar experiences in Russia, to find the adjutant's killer fast, but how is one to identify the culprit amid a house full of professional murderers? A subplot involving the death of a foreigner run over by a train and Czech nationalists dovetails with a surprising denouement worthy of Agatha Christie. Kerr effectively works dark humor into Gunther's weary narration, and the ending packs the wicked bite his readers have come to anticipate. Agent: Caradoc King, A.P. Watt." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The allure of these novels is that Bernie is such an interesting creation, a Chandleresque knight errant caught in insane historical surroundings.” John Powers, Fresh Air, NPR
"German private detective Bernie Gunther would have been respected by Philip Marlowe and the two of them would have enjoyed sitting down at a bar and talking." Jonathan Ames, Salon.com
"Kerr crafts some of the finest mystery novels in contemporary fiction, noir classics set against the multiple backdrops of WWII’s far-reaching stages." BookPage
"Bernie Gunther, the indomitable Berliner at the heart of this great series, is a man pummeled by history....The great strength of Field Gray is Kerr’s overpowering portrait of the war’s horrors, [and] the glue holding it all together is Bernie himself, our battered, defiant German Everyman." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
"A wily if unreliable narrator, Bernie may be forgiven for holding his cards so close to his chest as he tries to do the right thing in so many wrong places. Shades of the moral ambiguity of some of Graham Greene’s and John le Carré’s more memorable characters are here, as is the spirit of Raymond Chandler’s knight-errant, Philip Marlowe. Kerr’s ability to blend the elements of mystery and spy thriller into a satisfying package makes Field Gray the best in a long line of great entries in the series." Paula L. Woods, Los Angeles Times
"[Philip Kerr] is an absolute master of the genre." The Courier-Journal
"[Prague Fatale] is clever and compelling, proving once again that the Bernie Gunther books are, by a long chalk, the best crime series around today." The Daily Beast
"Inside this mesmerizing novel, set mainly in a country house outside Prague, is a tantalizing locked-door murder mystery that will thrill fans of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther novels." USA Today
The latest New York Times
bestseller from the author of the Berlin Noir trilogy and the New York Times
bestseller Field Gray
brings Bernie Gunther back — to a house party from hell....
First introduced in Philip Kerr's celebrated Berlin Noir trilogy, Bernie Gunther is an honest cop living in the most ruthless of times. Prague Fatale is Bernie's latest outing, and it's a tantalizing locked-door mystery-cum-political-thriller that's poised to build on Field Gray's success, confirming Kerr as a master of espionage literature.
It's 1941 and Bernie is back from the Eastern Front, once again working homicide in Berlin's Kripo and answering to Reinhard Heydrich, a man he both detests and fears. Heydrich has been newly named Reichsprotector of Czechoslovakia. Tipped off that there is an assassin in his midst, he orders Bernie to join him at his country estate outside Prague, where he has invited some of the Third Reich's most odious officials to celebrate his new appointment. One of them is the would-be assassin. Bernie can think of better ways to spend a beautiful autumn weekend, but, as he says, "You don't say no to Heydrich and live."
About the Author
Philip Kerr is the author of seven previous Bernie Gunther novels, most recently Field Gray, which was a New York Times bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011. Its predecessor, If the Dead Rise Not, was a finalist for the Shamus Award for Best Hardcover Fiction. As. P. B. Kerr, he is the author of the young adult series Children of the Lamp. Kerr lives in London.