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This is the latest in a series of books with this German detective as the main protagonist. In this novel Bernie Gunther is an unpleasant 'hero' who kills someone within the first pages, albeit accidentally. This is meant to be 'OK' as the dead character is a prototype Nazi.
The novel is set in the mid 1930's and centres around the building of the Berlin Olympics Stadium ready for the infamous Hitler Games of 1936. The Nazis are into their second year of power and Jews are being exorcised from public view. Kerr sets the scene clearly though there is often the feeling that, as author, Kerr is relying on you, the reader, already understanding how dangerous the Nazis are to become (because you already KNOW about WWII).
Bernie works as house detective in the famous Adlon hotel (close to the Brandenburg Gate) and a guest is found dead in bed. He sets out to investigate this death and it leads him into a spiral of complications and dangers. He also becomes entangled with Noreen, the femme fatale of the piece.
Kerr writes as if he has read the great Raymond Chandler, decided to copy the style and plots, (albeit in a different setting) then has used Wikkipedia to get all the historical facts together to cram into the book. This book veers between Nazi Germany before the War and Cuba in the 50s. This latter setting is even more unconvincing and involves Hemingway's house and known mobsters.
Characters appear only to prove not vital to the plot. Some of the writing is enormously bad: "he had ears like an Indian elephant, a moustache like a toilet brush and more chins than the Shanghai telephone directory".
If you are a serious reader and like detectives, don't bother. read Chandler, Denise Mina, Ian Rankin, Conan Doyle instead!