is a historical detective novel and the first written by Philip Kerr featuring detective Bernhard "Bernie" Gunther. Gunther investigates the murder of the daughter of a wealthy industrialist in Berlin as the 1936 Summer Olympics play out in the city. The major themes of the novel include the every-day violence and anti-Semitism of the regime and the inability or unwillingness of ordinary Germans to act in the face of the coming war. ("March violets" were late-comers to the Nazi Party after the passage of Hitler's Enabling Act (rendering him dictator) on March 23, 1933. In May, the Nazi Party froze membership.)
is the first of the trilogy by Kerr called Berlin Noir
. The second, The Pale Criminal
, appeared in 1990 and the third, A German Requiem
A minor anachronism is present in Chapter 7, where Kerr refers to a street on the edge the Dahlem section of Berlin as "Clayallee". This street, originally Kronprinzenallee, was renamed in 1949 in honor of the American General Lucius D. Clay, Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone and organizer of the Berlin Airlift in relief of the Soviet blockade of West Berlin.
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