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Bernie Gunther é novamente o personagem central desta trama dois anos após o enredo de «Violetas de Março» a acção decorre em 1936 mas ainda num tom prenunciador da devastação nazi ue começaria em 1939 Gunther é obrigado por meio da mais fria chantagem a abandonar a sua profissão de detective particular reingressando na Polícia de Berlim A sua missão de início semelhante com a do primeiro título desta trilogia é encontrar pessoas desaparecidas Mas as parecenças terminam aui Desta feita são vítimas de brutais assassinatos belas e formosas adolescentes alemãs tipicamente arianas Uma perversa e inuietante conspiração irá conduzir e revelar a Gunther as mais terríveis formas assumidas pelo fanatismo do ódio anti semita acabando por ser envolvido numa sórdida e peculiar teia dentro da hieraruia nazi alemã

10 thoughts on “The Pale Criminal

  1. says:

    There's a fine line between being lovably flawed and being a jerk when it comes to detectivessecret agents and what have you Last time around Bernard Gunther was in the former category You can't blame a guy for having a bleak outlook on life in late 1930s Berlin and the misogynistic attitude was what it was In round two of Bernie's adventures The Pale Criminal I found him much harder to stomach It's not just the bedding of women during sex crimes investigations that got me so much as his internal monologue of imagining himself between their thighs while they describe the last known whereabouts of their presumably dead children Likewise the threat of the pink triangle was real I know it's shocking that the Party wasn't progressive when it came to same sex relationships but true nonetheless but the uips about it just made Gunther seem mean especially when paired with toilet humor even I didn’t find all that funny Philip Kerr makes use of his environment this time around Bernie gets sucked back into Kripo and is keenly aware of the internal strife within the leadership of the Nazi Party including the uestionable purity of The Blonde Beast Reinhard Heydrich's status as an Aryan Julius Streicher's fiercely anti semitic rag Der Stürmer factors in as well which if nothing is an artifact of the times In the end the mystery just wasn't that good and I liked Bernie less and less as it went If the last in the Berlin Noir trilogy doesn't come to my library chances are I won't actively seek it out 255 stars for me

  2. says:

    Berlin 1938 the Nazis are firmly in power and we're moving menacingly towards Kristallnacht Gunther is faced with an intriguing double plot of gay blackmail and the serial murders of pretty Aryan girls But is there really a sex maniacritual murderer on the loose or is something far sinister behind the cases? Kerr has got some fascinating detail here especially on Nazi responses to psychotherapy and mental health but Gunther's rampant sexist commentary and creepy lechery is just tiresome and feels particularly inappropriate in a case involving fairly graphic sexualised violence against young womenThat said having struggled a bit with the first book in this series this feels far competent and I've resigned myself to enjoying these books despite Gunter rather than because of him It's uite rare to find a writer who can inhabit his historical setting in the way that Kerr does and he generally avoids the dreaded info dumps So a 'hero' who doesn't endear himself to me but overall this is a tight and engaging depiction of the inner workings of Nazi Germany with a complex plot at its heart

  3. says:

    I read this all in one day I repeat; in Nazi Germany Bernie Gunther would have been dead ten times by page 50 But I'll forgive Phillip Kerr if only for the great sensory pleasure of immersing myself in the reality of his description He seems to know every neighborhood every street every boulevard every music hall and restaurant and government building and whorehouse the accents spoken by Germans from Nuremberg or Bavaria and which Nazis were bad or not so bad The depth of his knowledge and his comfort level in writing about it is truly astoundingI have read a lot of Holocaust history so I confess to a certain amount of guilt in reading these entertaining thrillers Still I got chills as fictional Bernie Gunther sniffed around the edges of the catastrophe to come later to be known as Kristallnacht It's uite magical the way Kerr imagines ordinary people discussing events that we know are looming just a few months away on the factual timeline of World War II And every now and then he escapes the bounds of his genre to write a truly lyrical uotable line on history and the nature of man at his worstLooking forward to the next one

  4. says:

    This is book #2 in the Bernie Gunther saga It is 1936 and the dark cloud of National Socialism covers everything Bernie is still depressed over the disappearance of his secretarylover and he is trying to adjust to having a partner in his detective practice“I had another argument with my boy Heinrich when I got back from the Zoo” his partner mentions“What was it this time?”“He’s only gone and joined the motorized Hitler Youth that’s all”I shrugged “He would have to have joined the regular Hitler Youth sooner or later”“The little swine didn’t have to be in such a damned hurry to join that’s all He could have waited to be taken in like the rest of the lads in his class”“Come on look on the bright side They’ll teach him how to drive and look after an engine They’ll still turn him into a Nazi of course but at least he’ll be a Nazi with a skill”Black humor black deeds and what looks like a simple blackmail case gets very complicatedAgain Kerr through Gunther gives us a ground level tour of the Nazi capitol Berlin He also gives us a very stress inducing palpable tour of the venality pettiness power grabbing and criminality that was the National Socialist movement The tipping point comes when Gunther is taken to meet Reinhard Heydrich known as “the man with the iron heart” Perhaps part of their conversation is the best way to give you a sense of how Kerr brings this all together“At my home in Schlactensee we have a fine garden with its own crouet lawn Are either of you familiar with the game?”“No” we said in unison“It’s an interesting game; I believe it’s very popular in England It provides an interesting metaphor for the new Germany Laws are merely hoops through which the people must be driven with varying degrees of force But there can be no movement without the mallet – crouet is really the perfect game for a policeman””The new Germany” he said “is all about arresting the decline of the family you know and establishing a national community of bloodthe better our children the better the future of GermanyWhat about children? Do you like them?”“I like them”“Good” he said “It’s my own personal opinion that it is essential to like them doing what we do – even the things we must do that are hard because they seem distasteful to us – for otherwise we can find no expression for our humanityA maniac is loose on the streets of Berlin Herr Gunther”I shrugged “Not so as you would notice” I saidHeydrich shook his head impatiently“No I don’t mean a Stormtrooper beating up some old Jew I mean a murderer of young girls”“I haven’t seen anything in the newspapers about it””Thanks to Streicher and his anti Semitic rag it would only get blamed on the Jews” said Nebe“Precisely so” said Heydrich “The last thing I want is an anti Jewish riot in this city That sort of thing offends my sense of public order It offends me as a policeman When we do decide to clear out the Jews it will be in a proper way not with a rabble to do it””You see Gunther” said Heydrich “we come back to you again uite frankly I doubt there is a better detective in the whole of Germany”I laughed and shook my head “You’re good Very good That was a nice speech you made about children and the family General but of course we both know that the real reason you’re keeping the lid on this thing is because it makes your modern police force look like a bunch of incompetents Bad for them bad for you And the real reason you want me back is not because I’m such a good detective but because the rest are so bad”Kerr induces and lets the reader explore the discomfort that comes with some very violent acts He also provides through additional characters an exploration of the criminal sexualsadistic mind and how the fear of death may provide self justification for both the conventional criminal and the Nazi criminal The experiences change Gunther so that well into this story he describes himself as follows “I’m no knight in shining armour Just a weather beaten man in a crumpled overcoat on a street corner with only a grey idea of something you might as well go ahead and call Morality Sure I’m none too scrupulous about the things that might benefit my pocket and I could no inspire a bunch of young thugs to do good works than I could stand up and sing a solo in the church choir But of one thing I was sure I was through looking at my fingernails when there were thieves in the store”There is little I can offer to help you decide if this is something you care to explore I know somewhat from reading this series out of order where Gunther must travel And it is a difficult road that reflects the times in Germany and the world at large

  5. says:

    I finally finished this novel and dare to say that it is without any doubt the worst of the Bernie Gunthers' novels I have read so far with two to goBernie is working as a PI after been out of the Berlin kripo KRIminal POlizei police and he gets put back in his job by some serious Nazi big wigs simply because he is a good cop and in these days of Nazis getting all the good jobs there is a serious lack of cops who can actually work a case The case being good German Aryan girls being kidnapped and then killed As an informed reader you suddenly know the plot it being those pesky Jews killing German finest or Germans killing those girls in order to blame them on those Jewish folks Throw in some supernatural stuff which is as flaky as the plot and have Bernie travel around Germany and learn how awefull those Nazis are and you've got the story Where in previous books I have read a subtle approach and a far informative this time Kerr uses a shovel to ram home some facts The story is far to predictable and two dimensional to be really exciting to read Add Bernie's uestionable read awefull approach to sexuality towards women and homosexuals and this novel suddenly is not so much fun to readHad this been the second book I had read I would not have continued with the series however this being the almost last I have read I know that Kerr can do better and has done so several timesThis book does not show the problems for Jews in pre WWII Nazi Germany without going over the top the fact that the book ends on the night of the Kristallnacht and chooses to do nothing with that important moment and in the afterword gets made out of the financial damage as the damage to the people shows that Kerr clearly made the wrong choices in this book This book about a conspiracy to blame the Jewish never gets into a stride it keeps limping around while telling the message how awefull it was and forgetting like in the other BG novels that while it was a part of daily life under the Nazi regime there was so much wrong instead of hammering on just one The whole book felt like it was an advertisement on one subject and were the other books have given the story shades than just black and whiteA big dissapointment for me

  6. says:

    Kindermann’s clinic stood off a uiet road in a large but well behaved sort of garden that sloped down to a small backwater off the main lake and included among the many elm and chestnut trees a colonnaded pier a boathouse and a Gothic folly that was so neatly built as to take on a rather sensible air It looked like a medieval telephone kioskBerlin 1938 Former detective turned PI Bernie Günther meets police chief Arthur Nebe under cover of darkness Nebe gives him the heads up that Heydrich of the Gestapo wants him back at Kripo to undertake a delicate investigation; but meanwhile he is retained by wealthy German woman Frau Lange owner of a printing company Her son is gay and a blackmailer has acuired letters between him and his lover psychotherapist Dr Lanz Kindermann and she wants him to track down who it is When Bernie asks how she knew of him when he does not advertise she shows him a business card dating from before he had a partner Bruno Stahlecter with his private number written on it that the mother found in her son’s jacket This takes him back to his affair with Inge Lorenz who mysteriously disappeared two years earlierBut staking out and finding the identity of the blackmailer is only the start of his troubles his partner is murdered and the blackmailer commits suicide apparently which frees him up to return to Kripo and head an investigation into the abduction and murder of several teenage girls which the Gestapo is keeping a lid on to avoid any copycat killings Günther agrees but on his terms – that he picks his own small team and is made Kommissar to avoid line of command with senior Kripo officers But at least he has a few friends there Tanker nodded reflectively as he pushed off the bottle tops with his bare thumbs ‘And it’s Kommissar now I hear Resigns as an inspector Reincarnated as a Kommissar Makes you believe in fing magic doesn’t it? If I didn’t know you better I’d say you were in somebody’s pocket’‘Just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse you find out that they’ve always been a lot worse than you thought they were And then they get worse’A suspect is apprehended then released as another girl is abducted and Günther struggles to keep his detectives Korsch Deubel and Becker in line An anonymous phone tip off and another girl’s experience suggests someone with a Bavarian accent is behind the killings linking back to the SS itself With the mother of one of the missing girls Günther goes undercover attending a séance in the presence of Himmler where the medium describes the girl’s whereaboutsHe gets to travel outside Berlin and not as a prisoner I drove west out of Berlin following the yellow signs indicating long distance traffic heading towards Potsdam and beyond it to Hanover The autobahn branches off from the Berlin circular road at Lehnin leaving the old town of Brandenburg to the north and beyond Zeisar the road runs west in a straight lineFrom the narrow winding road Wewelsburg looked like a typical Westphalian peasant village with as many shrines to the Virgin Mary on the walls and grass verges as there were pieces of farm machinery left lying outside the half timbered fairy story houses I knew I was in for something weird when I stopped at one of these for directionsthe flying griffins runic symbols and ancient words of German that were carved or painted in gold on the black window casements and lintels put me in mind of witches and wizardsThis was a solid read if a bit of a slow burner at first and covered a dark page in European history persecution of Jews gypsies Catholic Priests homosexuals in a purging of society Not that Germany was alone as Stalin too had his Pograms Unlike March Violets there are no US style mobsters here instead a throw back to Pagan and early Christian cults with Heydrich proving an unexpected allyVerdict A good if noir read and I am beginning to warm to Bernie Günther

  7. says:

    I thought I was done with reading the traditional hard boiled detective Perhaps I picked this up in a nostalgic mood I think it was Mark Lawson who talked about the three Ds of hard boiled detective fiction drink depression and divorce Yes it might be a truism that a lot of detectives in real life suffer from all of these but it's been done to death in detective fiction I love the novels of Henning Mankell and Ian Rankin whose detectives are similarly inflicted but recently I vowed not to read or write a detective with any 'D' whatsoeverSo why did I pick up this novel and why did I like it I suppose it was the milieu that intrigued me Setting a crime novel in 1930s Nazi Germany does raise the stakes and the moral temperature The hero is your run of the mill hard boiled detective but it was fascinating reading about him trying to do his job whilst fighting prejudice and the rule of the jackbootSo if like me you're tired of the three Ds don't let that put you off It's a very satisfying read

  8. says:

    At The Very Gates of HellDown these mean streets The genius of Kerr is that he takes the dark dreary Hardboiled detective Gunther and placed him not on the mean streets of Los Angeles but in the midst of Hitler's Germany in 1938at the very gates of Hell on the eve of Kristalnachtt In so doing Kerr paints a picture of sadism debauchery and fear that is uncanny You can feel how dark the very skies are becoming how thick the air is how twisted logic has become This book has Gunther rejoining the police force although not by choice and hunting for a serial killer and a web of blackmail Like all the books in this series it is a terrific read although the plot line is not as sure as that in the first book March Violets and appears to meander a little at times

  9. says:

    Jeez these books are grim There's a great blending of fiction and history here real people book characters real headlines and crimes mixed with fiction I found it grim because I knew what would happen in November 1938 Kristallnacht What could be perfect for noir that Nazi Germany?

  10. says:

    Whilst not uite as good as 'March Violets' the first of the Bernhard Günther novels by Philip Kerr this is an absorbing and exciting read Set in 1938 two years after the events of 'March Violets' Bernie Günther has taken Bruno Stahlecker another ex police officer as his partner The two are working on a case where a Frau Lange owner of a large publishing house is being blackmailed for the homosexual love letters her son Reinhardt sent to his psychotherapist Dr Kindermann As in 'March Violets' although most of the characters are fictitious the novel's plot also involves historical figures including Julius Streicher Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich and 'The Pale Criminal' is permeated by an atmosphere of Nazi brutality and anti Semitism This time round there are some philosophical and psychological themes that were prevalent during the Nazi era and the story also embraces homosexuality drug addiction mental health psychotherapy and spiritualismThe relentless misogyny got a bit wearing this time round I'm guessing hoping? Philip Kerr was trying to capture the prevailing attitudes of 1938 but did he have to do it with uite so much apparent relish? Smells are a theme throughout 'The Pale Criminal' not least the stench of official corruption that characterised Hitler's regime This novel is conventional and slightly less successful than 'March Violets' however it picked up significantly in the final third and leaves me feeling keen to continue with the next in the series 'A German Reuiem'