Philip Kerr was synonymous with his series of novels featuring fictional detective Bernie Gunther. Over some dozen stories – beginning with his classic Berlin Noir trilogy – Kerr brilliantly evoked a murky world of secrets, corruption and lies, taking Gunther through time from Nazi-era Berlin to a nascent post-war Europe.
Along the way, he won many plaudits, not least being a select member of the now-legendary 1993 Granta list of Best Young British Novelists, and built a devoted fanbase. Aside from the Gunther sequence, Kerr wrote a number of standalone novels and ventured into children’s literature, but his stories featuring the dark underbelly of Europe reigned supreme. Completed shortly before his death, Greeks Bearing Gifts – the thirteenth Bernie Gunther mystery – is publishing in April this year with another novel in the series, Metropolis still to come.
Bernie Gunther's latest move in a long string of varied careers sees him working for an insurance company. It makes a kind of sense: both cops and insurance companies have a vested interest in figuring out when people are lying to them, and Bernie has a lifetime of experience to call on.
Sent to Athens to investigate a claim from a fellow German for a ship that has sunk, Bernie takes an instant dislike to the claimant. When he discovers the ship in question once belonged to a Greek Jew deported to Auschwitz, he is convinced the sinking was no accident but an avenging arson attack.
Bernie Gunter - Series in order