"The Lady from Zagreb", by Philip Kerr

The Lady from Zagreb - Philip Kerr
Book 10, in the Bernard Gunther series

After 10 books Bernard is still my favourite character. It might be that the first person narrative is by far my preferred style. Bernie in his soft voice talks to you all through his adventure, a mission that takes him from Berlin to Zurich, then to Zagreb and to the brutal killing field of Croatia.

The story begins in 1956 with Bernie reminiscing events of 1942 and 1943 and with his dreams he brings us at the height of the war where he showcases his daily struggles to live in Germany during that time. Bernie a former wise-cracking homicide detective who hates the Nazis is forced to run errands for the notorious Joseph Goebbels and in this latest is tasked to convince a young actress, Dalia Dresner, a Switzerland resident to return to Germany to star in a propaganda film. But things get personal between the two and Bernie falls head over heels in love with the diva.

This is a stylish novel with an easy narrative and clever dialogue. I love Bernie he is a romantic figure that doesn’t always behave heroically and his cruel sense of humour is what make this character compelling. “The Lady from Zagreb” seamlessly blends lots of imagination with harsh historical events. It is quite a mix of excitement, intrigue and murders. This novel contains priceless moments and the author has once again treaded a fine line by incorporating in his mystery genre novel the ludicrous aspects of the Nazi regime. Although this story moves at a slow pace and there are no real who-done-it moments and even less action scenes it is nevertheless a tremendously enjoyable and thought provoking read.

Bernie will return in 2016 in “With the Other Side of Silence”