Reseña escrita por Malcolm Petrook.

 Bernie Gunther

Prussian Blue,  the name of a ferrocyanide pigment, is the title of Philip Kerr’s (Scotland, 1956) 12th novel about Bernie Gunther, the liberal-minded German Detective.  In Prussian Blue, Kerr’s picture of every day German-Nazi and later German-Stasi life is numbing.

The novel opens in 1933 when  Germany embraced a legally codified state of terror.   At that time, Gunther was the distinguished Commissar of the murder squad in Berlin’s Kriminalpolizei.

Gunther, who later becomes a reluctant Gestapo officer, is cynical in nature and skeptical of the truth.

In 1939, Gunther is arrested and driven out of Berlin to Bavaria to meet with Richard Heidrich head of the SS.   An engineer named Flex has been murdered on the Berghof terrace, the showcase of Hitler’s alpine dystopia.   Flex was planning renovations  to the building in preparation for the 50th birthday of Adolph Hitler, when he was shot in the head.   Heidrich believes that only Gunther can  solve the crime while preserving the secrecy of who had murdered Flex, and why. But Gunther was given only a single week to solve the crime.   If he fails, Martin Borman, Heidrich’s deputy, would have no compunction about blaming an innocent prisoner for the murder.

The novel jumps to 1956 when post war Nazis are planning to kill Gunther for having solved the murder of Flex seventeen years before   At the same time Gunther’s former colleague, Fredrich Korsch, now working for the Stasi in East Germany, is hunting for Gunther for not killing his ex-wife, Elizabeth a pro-West agent, now living in Berlin.

Clearly, Gunther is scrambling for his life in an environment  of high crime, sexual scandal and murder.   On the one hand, Korsch, and his Stasi goons are only one step behind Gunther and, on the other, the Nazis are tracking Gunther throughout Germany, England  and in the South of France.   At stake is the life of his second wife who they plan to kill.  In matching wits with antagonists in two German states, and in two time periods, Gunther manages to hold on to his moral integrity and continue to be an effective detective working within the law.

Obviously, Gunther’s skills at evasion and observation are key to his survival, and to an assured 13th novel by Philip Kerr.

“…Sometimes that was all it took to be a real Nazi; the absolute and unscrupulous desire for preferment and promotion…”

 Philip Kerr. Scotland. 1956

Philip Kerr. Prussian Blue (A Bernie Gunther Novel). New York: Penguin Publishing Group. 2017. 528 pages. Kindle Edition.