Series: Bernie Gunther 8
My version: Paperback
Historical Fiction Germany, World War II
1942, somewhere outside Prague.
In a house full of murderers, anything is possible.
SS-General Reinhard Heydrich, the darkest member of the Nazi elite, orders detective Bernie Gunther to spend a weekend at his country house. It’s an invitation Bernie accepts reluctantly, especially when he learns that his fellow guests are all senior figures from the SS and SD. When a body is found, Bernie has to wrestle with an impossible mystery. But solve it he must – Heydrich is a man who does not like to lose face.
The cover is somewhat misleading. As most, if not all, the ‘action’ takes place in Heydrich’s villa near Prague. It’s set up like one of those plots that, I understand, as I haven’t read one of them, is known as a locked-room mystery. Locked villa, in this case. But anyway, it’s where all the suspects are in a single place, a murder occurs and the detective has to work out the who and why and what. It does limit the action, as there is very little – unless the accused puts up a fight, I guess – so has to concentrate on the cerebral side of things. Which this does and if you know anything of the background to Heydrich, the mental pressure Bernie is under, will be totally understandable.
While it doesn’t quite reach the incredible plot heights of Field Grey, it is still an excellent read. I have seen some wuss balking at the ‘interrogation’ scenes, but after reading so many WWII novels, and especially non-fiction as I have, it’s absolutely nothing compared to the reality. If you want to wrap yourself in cotton wool, fine, but don’t start complaining about it. When the plot is so limited in scope, you have to then look at why the author has done it in that way. And does he succeed? Without getting all know-it-all on your asses, I’d say he does and it does.
The Speesh Reads Fact Dept says: SS stood for Schutzstaffel. Meaning ‘protection squadron.’ SD stood for: Sicherheitsdienst. Meaning ‘security service.’
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