Prussian Blue is the twelfth opus of Bernie Gunther’s adventures. Gunther is a Berlin police officer, a member of the Socialist Party at the time of the Weimar Republic, who became by necessity an investigator of the SD, the security service of the SS. Kerr has made him a deeply endearing character, a disillusioned loser, a particularly gifted investigator, who allows the author to bring us very close to the most terrible and abject characters of Nazi Germany: Heydrich, Himmler, Nebe, there Borman, Hitler’s personal secretary. And even others, just as sadistic and disturbing, such as Mielke, the head of the East German Stasi. With a rare and inimitable talent, Kerr has built a series of unique historical detective novels that take us deep into the Nazi machine as if in a museum of horrors. Kerr passed away in March 2018. Two last Gunther are to be published. Then, sadly, we will have to close this incomparable saga. And read it again.
Prussian Blue takes place in 1939 and 1956. Mielke, the head of the Stasi, whose life Gunther saved years earlier in Berlin, comes to order our investigator hidden on the French Riviera to murder in London an agent who betrayed them. The man Mielke commissioned to watch over Gunther while he was carrying out his mission was one of Gunther’s former deputies during an investigation in 1939 in Berchtesgaden, Friedrich Korsch. A murder was then committed on the very terrace of the Berghof, Hitler’s eagle’s nest in the Bavarian Alps. Gunther escapes Korsch and crosses France to try to return to West Germany in order to disappear, pursued by Stasi agents, and by the French police for murder. While on the run, he remembers that 1939 investigation.
One could say that it is one of the best in the series, but one could say that about each of the novels that compose it. In any case, it is one of the most classical police investigation. It is obvious that Kerr wanted to show us the Berghof and Borman, to complete the picture of Nazi Germany seen from the inside that he had been painting since the March Violets 25 years ago. This little artificial aspect disappears immediately as we immerse ourselves in the dangerously addictive universe of this series. To be read, and for those who have not yet read the previous ones, the whole series is to be read with passion. Preferably in the order of publication, so as not to get lost in the chronological back and forth of the successive episodes.