"Greeks Bearing Gifts", by Philip Kerr

Greeks Bearing Gifts - Philip Kerr

Book # 13, in the Bernie Gunther series

“Greeks” opens in 1957, Bernie has shed his badge and gun and has created a new cover, has grown a beard and has taken a new name, Christof Ganz, a nobody with no connection with the police and even less with the Third Reich. He finds himself taking a new job as a claims adjuster investigating a fire in Athens that has sunk a small ship. 

By now we well know that Bernie has a history that includes more than passing acquaintance with mass murder and evil. In this latest the themes of morality, mortality, philosophy, atonement and redemption is much discussed and smoothly woven into a detective story. This story has two layers: a look at the past and its effect on the future and the second is personified by Bernie Gunther. 

“Greeks Bearing Gifts” is vintage Bernie Gunther, despite the ex-criminal investigation detective’s name rarely appearing in the novel. It is dark, smart and showcases Mr. Kerr’s atmospheric writing, his meticulous research and his gift for witty dialogue but the overuse of metaphors although some are pretty funny gets tiring in the long run. This story is less suspenseful than the previous installment but it surely transports us to 1957 with its great amount of details during that time.

All of Bernie’s stories are noir in genre but this one is black with no relief from deceit or greed. Even Bernie becomes bitter and sarcastic and makes stupid moves and has developed fascination with female cleavage. In this latest I found Bernie to be not very likeable. 

Although I did like parts of this book it is by far not my preferred. The story drags at lot and was kind of flat. We have many characters to keep up with and a convoluted plot to follow that is not at all surprising. This mystery is dialogue driven and a lot of bickering goes on and on…. I was disappointed but I push along till the end.