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A Man Without Breath

A Bernie Gunther novel

Philip Kerr

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Beschreibung

Bernie Gunther enters a dangerous battleground when he investigates crimes on the Eastern Front at the height of World War 2 in this gripping historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Philip Kerr.

Berlin, 1943. A month has passed since Stalingrad. Though Hitler insists Germany is winning the war, morale is low and commanders on the ground know better. Then Berlin learns of a Red massacre of Polish troops near Smolensk, Russia. In a rare instance of agreement, both the Wehrmacht and Propaganda Minister Goebbels want irrefutable evidence of this Russian atrocity. And so Bernie Gunther is dispatched.

In Smolensk, Bernie finds an enclave of Prussian aristocrats who look down at the wise-cracking, rough-edged Berlin bull. But Bernie doesn't care about fitting in. He only wants to uncover the identity of a savage killer-before becoming a victim himself.

Praise for Philip Kerr and the Bernie Gunther Novels

"A brilliantly innovative thriller writer."-Salman Rushdie

"Philip Kerr is the only bona fide heir to Raymond Chandler."-Salon.com

"In terms of narrative, plot, pace and characterization, Kerr's in a league with John le Carré."-The Washington Post

"Every time we're afraid we've seen the last of Bernie Gunther, Philip Kerr comes through with another unnerving adventure for his morally conflicted hero."-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

"Just as youth is wasted on the young, history is wasted on historians. It ought to be the exclusive property of novelists-but only if they are as clever and knowledgeable as Philip Kerr."-Chicago Tribune

"Kerr quantum leaps the limitations of genre fiction. Most thrillers insult your intelligence; his assault your ignorance."-Esquire

"A richly satisfying mystery, one that evokes the noir sensibilities of Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald while breaking important new ground of its own."-Los Angeles Times

"Part of the allure of these novels is that Bernie is such an interesting creation, a Chandleresque knight errant caught in insane historical surroundings. Bernie walks down streets so mean that nobody can stay alive and remain truly clean."-John Powers, Fresh Air (NPR)

"The Bernie Gunther novels are first-class, as stylish as Chandler and as emotionally resonant as the best of Ross Macdonald."-George Pelecanos

"Kerr's stylish noir writing makes every page a joy to read."-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Philip Kerr was the
New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Bernie Gunther novels, three of which—
Field Gray, 
The Lady from Zagreb, and 
Prussian Blue—were finalists for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Kerr also won several Shamus Awards and the British Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Award for Historical Crime Fiction. Just before his death in 2018, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. As P.B. Kerr, he was the author of the much-loved young adult fantasy series Children of the Lamp.

Produktdetails

Einband Taschenbuch
Seitenzahl 496
Altersempfehlung ab 18 Jahr(e)
Erscheinungsdatum 25.03.2014
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-14-312513-6
Reihe A Bernie Gunther Novel
Verlag Penguin US
Maße (L/B/H) 19.5/12.8/2.5 cm
Gewicht 389 g

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    Franz Meyer stood up at the head of the table, glanced down, touched the cloth, and awaited our silence. With his fair hair, blue eyes, and neoclassical features that looked as if they'd been carved by Arno Breker, Hitler's official state sculptor, he was no one's idea of a Jew. Half of the SS and SD were more obviously Semitic. Meyer took a deep, almost euphoric breath, gave a broad grin that was part relief and part joie de vivre, and raised his glass to each of the four women seated around the table. None were Jewish and yet, by the racial stereotypes beloved of the Propaganda Ministry, they might have been; all were Germans with strong noses, dark eyes, and even darker hair. For a moment Meyer seemed choked with emotion, and when at last he was able to speak, there were tears in his eyes.

    "I'd like to thank my wife and her sisters for your efforts on my behalf," he said. "To do what you did took great courage, and I can't tell you what it meant to those of us who were imprisoned in the Jewish Welfare Office to know that there were so many people on the outside who cared enough to come and demonstrate on our behalf."

    "I still can't believe they haven't arrested us," said Meyer's wife, Siv.

    "They're so used to people just doing what they're told," said his sister-in-law, Klara, "that they don't know what to do."

    "We'll go back to Rosenstrasse tomorrow," insisted Siv. "We won't stop until everyone in there is released. All two thousand of them. We've shown what we can do when public opinion is mobilized. We have to keep the pressure up."

    "Yes," said Meyer. "And we will. We will. But right now I'd like to propose a toast. To our new friend Bernie Gunther. But for him and his colleagues at the War Crimes Bureau, I'd probably still be imprisoned in the Jewish Welfare Office. And who knows where after that?" He smiled. "To Bernie."

    There were six of us in the cozy little dining room in the Meyers' apartment in Lützowerstrasse. As four of them stood up and toasted me silently, I shook my head. I wasn't sure I deserved Franz Meyer's thanks, and besides, the wine we were drinking was a decent German red-a Spätburgunder from long before the war that he and his wife would have done better to have traded for some food instead of wasting it on me. Any wine-let alone a good German red-was almost impossible to come by in Berlin.

    Politely I waited for them to drink to my health before standing up to contradict my host. "I'm not sure I can claim to have had much influence on the SS," I explained. "I spoke to a couple of cops I know who were policing your demonstration and they told me there's a strong rumor doing the rounds that most of the prisoners arrested on Saturday as part of the factory action will probably be released in a few days."

    "That's incredible," said Klara. "But what does it mean, Bernie? Do you think the authorities are actually going soft on deportations?"

    Before I could offer my opinion the air raid warning siren sounded. We all looked at each other in surprise; it had been almost two years since the last air raid by the Royal Air Force.

    "We should go to the shelter," I said. "Or the basement, perhaps."

    Meyer nodded. "Yes, you're right," he said firmly. "You should all go. Just in case it's for real."

    I fetched my coat and hat off the stand and turned back to Meyer.

    "But you're coming, too, aren't you?" I said.

    "Jews aren't permitted in the shelters. Perhaps you didn't notice it before. Well, there's no reason why you should have. I don't think there's been an air raid since we started to wear the yellow star."

    I shook my head. "No, I didn't." I shrugged. "So, where are Jews supposed to go?"

    "To hell, of course. At least that's what they hope." This time Meyer's grin was sardonic. "Besides, people know this is a Jewish apartment, and since the law requires that homes be left with their doors and windows open, to minimize the effect of a pressure wave from a bomb blas