Thursday, 10 January 2013
Prague Fatale - Philip Kerr
The latest Bernie Gunther exercise in Nazi Noir turns out to be something of a disappointment. For all the fascination of the context, it is nothing more than a locked room mystery in the Agatha Christie mode, and once you've recognised that it's easy to guess who done it on the traditional Christie least-likely model, complete with hopelessly overwrought 'motive'. Even the writing, normally the saving grace of any Kerr novel, stands in sore need of editing. There is a terrible misstep somewhere near the middle when Gunther becomes a mere mouthpiece for Kerr who has decided to stray in post modern irony. All in all, the book is far too long for what is at best a literary caprice. I'm sorry I disliked it so much because I was delighted with the other Gunther novels I've read recently (A Quiet Flame, If the Dead Rise Not), and I will certainly look out for the next, A Man Without Breath. On that score, a word of congratulation to Kerr and his publishers. I really don't like the modern practice of banging a preview of the end of every book. Kerr/Quercus have come up with a much better idea - log on to his website, sign up for his newsletter, and read it there.