The 13th and first posthumous novel in the Bernie Gunther series finds the former Nazi-collaborating sleuth in Munich in 1956 with a new name and a dead-end career as an insurance-claims adjuster, which sends him on an investigation of a claim by a former Wehrmacht soldier who served in Greece during the war.
I lived and worked in Athens in the 1950s, and Philip Kerr’s colorful new novel Greeks Bearing Gifts brought those times vividly back to mind. His dead-on depictions of the city and its boisterous residents, and the deep animosity many still bear toward their wartime German oppressors, rang true ... a terrifically complex tale ... In one gripping scene, a tough Israeli Nazi hunter holds Bernie’s life in her hands while she and Bernie sit chatting in plain sight on the top tier of the storied Olympic Stadium. This is but one of many heart-racing moments in a beautifully written novel by a gifted writer who has left us too soon.
Readers of the Bernie Gunther novels over the years will remember some of the moral grey areas Philip Kerr has described in such absorbing detail, although they won't be as hard on the hero as he is on himself ... The novel itself is every bit as powerful and atmospheric and addictively page-turning as all the ones that came before it, but the final pages are extra bittersweet because ... the master's hand is now still; mystery lovers have this one last book to savor.
Bernie’s search rapidly leads him into dark waters and a labyrinthine plot to salvage sunken gold stolen in the war from the Jews of Salonika. What follows, full of mordant humor, pacy action and rich, three-dimensional characters, confirms what Kerr’s fans have long known: that he has few, if any, rivals to match him among modern thriller writers.