Philip Kerr, A Quiet Flame Review

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Harriet Klausner's review of Philip Kerr, A Quiet Flame


“A Quiet Flame ”

Written on: 14/01/2009 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

A Quiet Flame

Philip Kerr

Putnam, Mar 19 2009, $26.95

ISBN: 9780399155307

In 1950 former Berlin police detective Bernie Gunther is stunned when he is accused of war crimes as he loathed the Nazis. Knowing the atmosphere is one of shoot first, he obtains haven in Argentina alongside many other Germans, almost all Nazis.

In Buenos Aires he begins to start his new life when local cop Colonel Montalban asks him to investigate the brutal murder of teenage Grete Wohlauf. The police officer points out to the German expatriate that the current homicide shares much in common with a cold case Gunther failed to solve in 1932 Germany. Gunther takes the cross Atlantic connection seriously even though the two homicides he investigated occurred almost two decades apart as much of the scum of German have come to reside in Peron's paradise. When another teen goes missing, Gunther agrees to slyly question his fellow expatriates in exchange for medical treatment for thyroid cancer. Meanwhile Anna Yagubsky begs Gunther to find out what happened to her missing Jewish aunt and uncle.

This is a superb post WWII investigative thriller that contains an ethical lead character who is assumed to be an amoral racist due to guilt by association; as everyone believes war criminal fled to Argentina. Thus fans receive a unique intriguing look at the Nazi haven under Peron's rule. The whodunit is well written while the missing persons' case adds to the sense of being in Buenos Aires in 1950 as Phillip Kerr continues to explore the Nazis this time after their defeat (see The Berlin Noir trilogy).

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